Nurturing Leaders. Changing Lives.

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Lead on. We're with you.

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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If you believe God is calling you to serve the church and the world through ministry as an elder, you must begin the Candidacy process, which is required for all licensed and ordained clergy in The United Methodist Church.

​Educational Requirements

United Methodist elders must receive a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from a United Methodist seminary, or a seminary approved by the Church. Seminary studies must include the following Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) courses:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament 
  • Theology
  • Church History 
  • Mission of the Church in the World 
  • Evangelism 
  • Worship/Liturgy
  • United Methodist Doctrine, Polity, and History.

​Up to two-thirds of coursework taken in seminary may be taken online.

After Seminary

After completing all educational requirements, candidates for ordination who wish to become elders must serve as a provisional member for at least two (2) years. Provisional membership is a residency program designed by your annual conference.

After residency is complete and all requirements are met, provisional members may be ordained.


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Connect with us via email or phone for any questions or concerns you might have.