“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”  – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Types of Ministry

Through baptism, we are each called to serve God and others.  Below are ways that God may be calling you to serve:


individuals who are ordained for ministries of Word (Preaching and Teaching), Sacrament (Communion and Baptism), Order (Administration), and Service. Most Elders serve as pastors, though some serve as chaplains, campus ministers, professors, or in other ministry settings. Those ordained as an Elder have met specific educational requirements. Read more about The Ministry of Elders.


individuals who are ordained for ministries of Word, Service, Compassion and Justice and serve as a bridge between the church and the world. Many Deacons serve in agencies outside the church, in ministries of outreach, mission, and justice. Others serve within the local church, as associate pastors, or in areas such as Christian education, youth, children, music, or missions. Those ordained as Deacon have met specific educational requirements. Read more about The Ministry of Deacons.

Licensed Local Pastor

individuals who are licensed for ministries of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service in a particular congregation. The educational requirements and procedures are different for Local Pastors than for Elders. Read more about the The Ministry of Licensed Local Pastors and the educational requirements.

Lay Person

individuals who serve through a secular career, their role in the family, or as a lay staff person or volunteer in their congregation, District or Conference. Read more about The Ministry of Laity here.

Stories of Calling

  • Joseph McBrayer
    Joseph McBrayer
    Director & Campus Minister, Emory Wesley Fellowship
  • Sybil Davidson
    Sybil Davidson
    North Georgia Conference Communicator
  • Olu Brown
    Olu Brown
    Pastor, Impact Church
  • Mercy Lineberry
    Mercy Lineberry
    Seminary Student, Candler School of Theology
  • Sharma Lewis
    District Superintendent of the Atlanta Decatur Oxford

The Candidacy Process

There are several steps in the process toward becoming an Elder, Deacon, or Licensed Local Pastor. To begin the Candidacy Process, an individual must:

be a member

You must have been a professing member of a United Methodist Church or a United Methodist campus ministry in good standing for at least one year immediately prior to beginning Candidacy.

read and discuss

Read the book The Christian As Minister and discuss with your pastor, UM Campus Minister or another ordained clergy person.

call statement

Submit your Call Statement to you District Superintendent. Write a 2-3 page narrative, detailing your call to ministry and how God has been at work in your life, leading you to this place of discerning a call to licensed/ordained ministry.


Sign up to attend the Group Mentoring Candidacy Summit. This event is for individuals who are beginning the candidacy discernment process for Ordained Ministry. It is held every January and July. For more information on the details of the next summit, please contact your District Office.

Educational Requirements

Ordained Clergy

If you are planning to pursue ordination as an Elder, you will need to earn an undergraduate degree and a Master of Divinity degree. This is a three-year graduate program where you will study scripture, theology and Methodism, among other subjects. Several educational avenues toward ordination are available for Ordained Deacons.  See here.

As you are discerning your call to ministry as an Elder or Deacon, you may want to begin by researching which seminary (also called “Divinity School” or “School of Theology”) is the best fit for you. There are 13 United Methodist seminaries as well as a host of other United Methodist-approved seminaries. Members of the North Georgia Conference often attend:

Licensed Local Pastors

Licensed local pastors must have graduated from an accredited high school or have received a certificate of equivalency before becoming a certified candidate. The licensed local pastor must pursue theological education through an approved seminary or in the Course of Study. Details about the educational requirements are available in The Ministry of Licensed Local Pastors (pdf).

For More Information

Questions?  Ready to get started?  Please contact Reverend Ashley Jenkins @  in the Conference Office of Ministerial Services.