Nurturing Leaders. Changing Lives.

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For those who’ve heard God’s call to leadership, we’re here to make the journey with you, connecting you with what you need to flourish as difference-makers. That’s our commitment as the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. GBHEM.

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Residency in Ministry Guidelines

The United Methodist Church requires a provisional period of two years. This process may begin when half the education requirements have been met, but must include at least two years following the completion of a seminary degree.

The newly commissioned minister is licensed for their ministry (elders for word, service, sacrament, and order; deacons for word, service, compassion, and justice) and serves under appropriate appointment. This may be in congregational settings, extension ministry (elders) or beyond the local church (deacons).

The provisional process addresses the clergy’s need for continuing integration of formal studies, life experiences, and the evolving challenges of leadership in a church that is at once local and global. Clergy leadership must be characterized by deep and growing Christian faith, a commitment to carry out the church’s mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ and, therefore, claim their discipleship and a willingness to equip laity for ministry. This leadership is fostered by continuing disciplined study of scripture, theology, history, and the changing multicultural society.

The provisional period is part of a continuum in the training/formation of clergy that begins with candidacy and theological education and culminates with mentoring, continuing theological study, covenant groups, and supervision. For those candidates not graduating from a United Methodist seminary, this provisional process should provide a working introduction to the United Methodist ethos and resources of the denomination.
Because ordination is not the private domain of a single annual conference (ordained clergy may serve across the entire connection), the General Conference establishes minimum standards and requirements for the provisional period. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry provides guidance to annual conferences. Within the parameters of these guidelines, each annual conference, through its bishop, cabinet, and Board of Ordained Ministry, will develop a plan particularly suited to its situation and supervise implementation of this plan.
These resources have been developed by the Ministry Preparation Resource Team for use in the provisional process within annual conferences. They are available here as downloadable PDF documents.
  1. PDF icon Clergy Mentoring: A Manual for Commissioned Ministers, Local Pastors, and Clergy Mentors

Developing Guidelines for Fruitfulness Project

As part of their requirements for ordination, provisional clergy members are to present a project “that demonstrates fruitfulness in carrying out the church’s mission of ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.’” Following are some resources to help Boards of Ordained Ministry develop guidelines for the preparation of these projects and how to evaluate them.
Remember that such projects should be prepared and evaluated in a way that is relevant to the provisional member’s ministry appointment—be that in the congregation, chaplaincy, extension ministry, or beyond the local church.

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