Choosing Your Path

What Kind of Ministry Is Right for Me?

Those who are ordained are set apart for ministry not only in a single location but across the church. Elders lead God’s people to grow in faith and most serve as pastors in charge of local congregations, although elders can also serve in ways that extend the church’s ministry into the community. Those include serving as chaplains, teaching, or pastoral counseling. Learn more about what an elder does and how to become an ordained elder.

Deacons lead God’s people into ministry to the world, usually through specialized ministry. Some deacons serve in churches in roles such as ministers of Christian education or music. Many serve beyond the local church, in settings such as social service, education, health, or policy advocacy organizations. Learn more about what a deacon does and how to become an ordained deacon.

I Think God Is Calling Me, But I Don’t Have the Time or Money for Seminary

You may believe God is calling you to be a parish pastor – to focus on leading the people in your place of ministry. You may not be willing to make a commitment to three years of graduate education or the itinerant ministry of moving when and where the bishop determines.

Becoming a licensed local pastor – either part time or full time – might be the path for you.

You can become a local pastor by pursuing theological education through an approved seminary or in the Course of Study. Learn more about the role of a local pastor, licensing schools, and the Course of Study.

I Know God Is Calling Me to Ministry, But Not to a Congregation

Deacons serve within local churches or in jobs beyond the local church, such as working for a nonprofit agency. Chaplains and pastoral counselors are elders or deacons who engage in ministries of pastoral care in specialized settings such as prisons, hospitals, the armed forces, or counseling centers. Elders can serve in extension ministries outside the church if their bishop agrees.

Learn more chaplains and pastoral counselors. Discover how deacons and local pastors serve The United Methodist Church.

I Don’t Think God is Calling Me to Ordained Ministry

Many who feel called by God would prefer to do mission work, or to serve God as a lay person. Learn more about opportunities for lay service in the church.

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Need More Information?

Connect with us via email or phone for any questions or concerns you might have. A full listing of staff is also available.

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