Many clergy and laypeople are employed to lead the church in specialized areas such as Christian education, youth ministry, spiritual formation and ministry with people with disabilities. Certification is The United Methodist Church’s recognition that an individual has been called, made a commitment to serve, and has fulfilled the required standards for academic training, experience, and continuing study to serve with excellence in an area of specialized ministry.
Those who’ve earned United Methodist specialized ministry certification demonstrate that they are committed to excellence and to continuing to improve their skills and knowledge. They are explicitly prepared to lead others in United Methodist churches and contexts. Candidates for Deacons Orders who lead in a specialized ministry area can earn specialization as part of their required education for ordination.
Three Tracks for Certification in The United Methodist Church
- Professional (for lay, licensed, or ordained leaders who have an undergraduate degree and take graduate level courses)
- Undergraduate (for undergraduate students)
- Paraprofessional (for those who do not have a college degree and are working or volunteering in a specialized ministry)
Each track is available in twelve areas of specialized ministry: camp/retreat ministry; children’s ministry, Christian education, collegiate ministry, evangelism, ministry with the poor, ministry with people with disabilities, music ministry, ministry with older adults, spiritual formation, urban ministry, and youth ministry.
- Recognized Christian character, personal competence, integrity, and commitment to the church’s total ministry and mission.
- Ability to relate to people, to work with volunteers and staff, to function in the role with emotional maturity and sound judgment.
- Demonstrated leadership, ability to integrate theory and practice, an understanding of and commitment to the church’s ministry.
- A member of The United Methodist Church for at least one year before enrolling in the certification process (affiliate or full member).
- Knowledge of The United Methodist Church’s structure, polity, resources, program, and mission.
- Completion of education and work experience required by the specific certification program.
- Evaluation by the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry.
- Participation in a professional organization related to the area of specialization