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Becoming an Elder

If you believe God is calling you to serve the church and the world through vocational ministry as an elder, you must begin the candidacy process, which is required for all licensed and ordained clergy in The United Methodist Church. Keep in mind, it’s always better to begin the process as early as possible.

Educational Requirement

United Methodist elders must receive a master of divinity degree from a United Methodist seminary, or a seminary approved by the Church. Seminary studies must include the following Basic Graduate Theological Studies 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 years. Provisional membership is a residency experience designed by your annual conference.

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

Discover More

Duke University

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Find out how the Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) works to grow the next generation of clergy in The United Methodist Church.

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