Candidacy is the discerning, preparatory time and process for those hoping to serve as deacons, elders or local pastors in The United Methodist Church. You’ve explored your call and have decided to move forward. Now the question is: what do you do?
Where to Begin
First, talk with your minister & read The Christian as Minister. Then check your annual conference website for how to start & who to contact. To formally apply, you’ll need to write a letter to your District Superintendent outlining your call to ministry. Once you are a candidate, you’ll be assigned a mentor—an ordained person trained to guide you through the process.
Elders need a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from a seminary approved by the church. Deacons may also receive a M.Div., or they can obtain a Master’s degree in their work field plus 27 theological study hours. Local pastors complete the Basic Five-Year Course of Study.
Scholarships and Loans
Much of finding assistance relies on knowing where to look. First, be sure to contact the financial aid office in the schools you’re interested in, since many institutions offer scholarships to their students. You can also find loans and scholarships available through GBHEM by visiting the Loans and Scholarships page. Also, each annual conference has a Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM), which helps candidates during the candidacy process; check with your BOM about seminary scholarships. Oh, and one more helpful hint: more scholarships are available for candidates who are certified!