PATHWAYS TO MINISTRY
A licensed local pastor is one who has answered the call to serve the mission of Jesus Christ through the work of a local congregation in The United Methodist Church. Local pastors are clergy members of the annual conference in which they are appointed.
What do licensed local pastors do?
A licensed local pastor is not ordained in The United Methodist Church but is licensed for pastoral ministry within their appointment. A local pastor performs all the duties of a pastor, including proclamation of the Word of God, leading in worship and liturgy, performing the sacraments of baptism and holy communion, the services of marriage (where states allow), burial, confirmation, and membership reception. A local pastor has the authority of a pastor only within the setting and during the time of the appointment.
What is the “call” to ministry as a licensed local pastor?
“Call” is God’s invitation to use God-given gifts and talents to minister in the local church. For some, the call comes early; for others, it comes later in life. Answering the call and living the vocation of a local pastor mirrors the call to Christian discipleship in the world. Specific information for youth and young adults is available at www.ExploreCalling.org.
The local pastor’s call is to order the life of a congregation. The local pastor oversees the total ministry of the congregation—its nurturing ministries and its mission of witness and service in the world. The local pastor gives pastoral support, guidance, and training to the lay leadership and helps them fulfill the ministry to which they are called. The local pastor has both administrative and supervisory oversight of the program and outreach of the congregation to which the local pastor is appointed.
What is the process for becoming a United Methodist licensed local pastor?
The first step is consulting with a pastor and studying materials to discern and define the call further. That is followed by further consultation with the congregation’s staff/parish relations committee and district superintendent, the help of a mentor, and recommendation by the district committee on ordained ministry. After completion of the studies for the local pastor at a license school, the candidate must be approved by the conference board of ordained ministry in order to be licensed and receive an appointment from the bishop. After completion of Basic Course of Study, local pastors may attend Advanced Course of Study and may choose to apply for Associate Membership in the annual conference.
What are the educational requirements for becoming a licensed local pastor?
Licensed local pastors must have graduated from an accredited high school or have received a certificate of equivalency before becoming a certified candidate. The local pastor must pursue theological education through an approved seminary or in the Course of Study. What is an approved seminary? An approved seminary is one that has been approved to train United Methodist clergy by The United Methodist Church’s University Senate. This list includes both United Methodist and nonUnited Methodist seminaries.
What are the license schools and the Course of Study?
The Course of Study is a basic theological education program prescribed by The Book of Discipline and offered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. It includes license school, the five-year basic Course of Study, and the advanced Course of Study. Annual conference boards of ordained ministry offer license schools throughout the year at seminaries and other sites. The Course of Study is offered during the summer on the campuses of eight United Methodist seminaries.
Who can I contact for more information about ministry as a Local Pastor?
Registrar of Local Pastors: Rev. Cindy Patterson E-mail
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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