All persons are created to thrive and live in peace. In a world full of brokenness and injustice, the people of the United Methodist Church believe the heart of Christian ministry is Christ's ministry of unlimited love (¶126).
Ministry is the expression of the mind and mission of Christ by a community that demonstrates a life of gratitude and devotion, witness and service, discipleship and celebration. The ministries of clergy and laity are complementary and interdependent.
Clergy in the United Methodist Church are individuals who serve as deacons, elders and local pastors. They are ordained, commissioned or licensed in the annual conference where they hold membership (¶142).
Licensed local pastors are non-ordained clergy who serve in pastoral ministry at the will of the bishop. They have received a basic grounding in pastoral work, through licensing school, and annual approval to continue their license. Their clergy status operates at the local church level to which they are appointed and only with their appointment setting.
Commissioned ministers are those who are preparing for ordination as deacon or elder. They have completed most -if not all, of their educational requirements for ordination and serve in ministry settings while continuing to be mentored closely in their work. They have been commissioned by the bishop and have authority only within their appointment.
Ordained clergy are deacons or elders who have completed all requirements, have been deemed gifted and approved by their annual conference and have been ordained by the bishop. Within these specialized ministries, deacons are called to ministries of Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice and elders are called to ministries of Service, Word, Sacrament, and Order (¶139). Their pastoral authority is recognized and available throughout the global connection of The United Methodist Church, for life.
In these different capacities, clergy help form Christian disciples in covenant community through spiritual formation and guidance for the work of the Holy Spirit that leads to truth, which liberates, and love, which reconciles.
*The General Board of higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is the accrediting agency of The United Methodist Church and certifies individuals for clergy ministry in coordination with annual conferences.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to lead and connect the educational and ministerial life of church. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. If you have questions, you may contact your district superintendent or submit a question. Follow GBHEM on Twitter and Facebook.