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Local Pastors FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Local Pastor

Are there many local pastors serving in The United Methodist Church?

Today more than one-third of United Methodist churches are served by local pastors and associate members, and that number is growing.

Do local pastors make the same salary as ordained elders?

No. As ordained clergy and graduates of theological schools, elders are paid a higher salary than local pastors who are licensed and educated through the Course of Study.

Is a local pastor ordained?

The local pastor is not ordained in The United Methodist Church but is licensed for pastoral ministry to perform the duties of a pastor as described above.

Does a licensed local pastor do the same things as an ordained elder who is pastoring a local church?

Yes and no. The local pastor performs all the duties of a pastor, including preaching; leading worship; performing baptisms, confirmations and funerals; officiating at weddings; presiding over communion; and receiving new members. The difference is that the local pastor is authorized to do this only in his or her appointment setting, while the elder may perform these functions anywhere.

Who is a licensed local pastor?

A local pastor has answered the call from God to serve the mission of Jesus Christ through the work of a local congregation in The United Methodist Church.

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.

Students studying

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

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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.

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.