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Local Pastors

If God is calling you to become a pastor, but you do not see seminary as the best path for you, then you may want to consider becoming a local pastor. When appointed, a local pastor performs the usual duties of a pastor, including:

  • Preaching and teaching.
  • Leading in worship and liturgy.
  • Receiving new members.
  • Performing the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion in their appointment setting.
  • Performing the services of marriage (where state laws allow), burial and confirmation.

A local pastor answers God’s call to serve the mission of Jesus Christ typically by serving a local congregation in The United Methodist Church. They need not make themselves available as itinerant ministers and are not ordained or elected into full membership of the annual conference. Additionally, a local pastor’s authority is only within their appointment setting and does not extend beyond it. Local pastors serve under the authority of a license for pastoral ministry after completing the steps outlined in ¶ 315 of The Book of Discipline (2016) and meeting any annual conference requirements.

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Duke University

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

Students studying

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.