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Candidacy

The candidacy process is designed to be a vocational discernment experience. We encourage you to begin this process early in your call discernment. Beginning early allows you to take full advantage of the nurturing opportunities The United Methodist Church has in place to support you through your discernment. These supports include mentors, discernment texts, small groups, scholarships and more.

To begin the process:

  1. Speak with your campus chaplain, youth pastor or local church pastor about your call.
  2. Read “The Christian as Minister and talk with them about it.
  3. Finally, reach out to your annual conference to learn its next steps for candidacy. (This next point of contact is typically your area’s district superintendent.)

Learn more about the ordination process and the requirements for each step along your discernment journey here

Once you are a candidate, you’ll be granted access to the UMCARES portal so that you and your new mentor can track your progress. Explore our UMCARES Setup and FAQ page to learn more about setting up your profile and monitoring your progress.

Education Requirement

  • Deacons: Must receive a master of divinity degree or obtain a master’s degree in their work field, plus 27 theological study hours.
  • Elders: Must have a Master of Divinity degree from a seminary approved  by the church.
  • Local Pastors: Must complete the Basic Five-Year Course of Study.

GBHEM encourages prospective candidates to explore our Loans and Scholarships section to learn more about their financial aid options.

Discover More

Duke University

Seeking ordination? GBHEM can connect you with one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries or other United Methodist-approved theological schools.

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Interested in training to become a local pastor? Learn more about licensing and the Course of Study process.

UMC Cyber Campus

The UMC Cyber Campus is a multilingual learning platform for theological and higher education that aims to enhance global access to affordable, high-quality digital educational resources.

Effective Ministry 360

Need assistance setting and reaching ministry goals for your congregation? Want some guidance with your own continuing formation? Effective Ministry 360 can help.

Message at podium

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