Select Page

God calls everyone to ministry, but “ministry” means more than ordination. The call of God is diverse. The call God has placed on your life is unique. Your role in the life of the church is vital.

The candidacy process is designed to be a vocational discernment experience for laypersons in The United Methodist Church to help discern their call from God and what that might look like serving in The United Methodist Church.

We encourage you to begin this process early in your call discernment. Beginning early allows you to take full advantage of the nurturing opportunities The United Methodist Church has in place to support you through your discernment. These supports include mentors, discernment texts, small groups, scholarships and more.

Beginning the Process

•  First, speak with your campus chaplain, youth pastor or local church pastor about your call.

•  Then read “The Christian as Minister” and talk with them about it.

•  Finally, reach out to your district superintendent to discuss your next steps for candidacy.

Education Requirements

Ordination and licensing require training and education. Some candidates wait to serve until they have finished their education, while others pursue their education while serving as licensed local pastors.

•  Deacons – Must receive a master of divinity degree or obtain a master’s degree in their work field, plus 27 theological study hours.

•  Elders – Must have a master of divinity degree from a seminary approved by the church.

•  Local Pastors – Must complete the Basic Five-Year Course of Study.

More Resources

•  Thinking about pursuing seminary? Check out GBHEM’s List of Approved Seminaries and Schools of Theology. You also should explore GBHEM’s Loans and Scholarships section to learn more about financial aid options.

•  Already a student? You might find it helpful to explore the courses required by the UMC Book of Discipline and the South Carolina Conference as your plan your class schedules.

•  Learn more about The UMC’s vocational discernment resources, programs, experiences and networks at

•  Learn more details about the UMCSC’s process with our step-by-step Candidacy Process Guide.

Questions may be directed to the Rev. Mel Arant, Coordinator of Clergy Services, at

If you are an ordained or licensed clergy from another UMC annual conference, another Methodist denomination or another Christian denomination feeling called to serve in the South Carolina Conference, click the button below that best describes your credentials and situation for more information.