Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Local Pastor

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

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.

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.

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.

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.