Candidacy Information:

For Local Pastor licensing and Deacon & Elder ordination

Jump to: Mentors | Local Pastors | Deacons | Elders

Paragraph 126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline lays out our understanding of “The Ministry of All Christians.”  That paragraph states that “The heart of Christian ministry is Christ’s ministry of outreaching love.  Christian ministry is the expression of the mind and mission of Christ by a community of Christians that demonstrates a common life of gratitude and devotion, witness and service, celebration and discipleship.  All Christians are called through their baptism to this ministry of servanthood.”

In Paragraph 138, it states that “within the United Methodist Church there are those called to servant leadership, lay and ordained.  Such callings are evidenced by special gifts, evidence of God’s grace, and promise of usefulness.

If you think that God may be calling you into a form of ministry beyond the general ministry of the laity (as a licensed local pastor, ordained Deacon, or ordained Elder), the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry welcomes the opportunity to help you.

The place to start this journey is to talk with the pastor of your local church!

Your pastor will help you get the book The Christian as Minister. Reading this book, and discussing it with an ordained Elder or Deacon is the first step toward “answering the call.” After you work through this book, your pastor can explain the steps you will need to take to contact the District Superintendent, and get before the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and Board of Ordained Ministry for further help in “answering your call” into specialized ministry.

Along the way, you are also free to contact your District Superintendent, any member of your District Committee on Ministry, or a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry.  After all, we’re here to help you “answer the call.”

There is also a great deal of information on this site, as well as the forms you will need in each step of the candidacy process.  For an overview of the candidacy process, or to download the forms you will need as a candidate for licensed and ordained ministry, please visit our Forms page.

There is a helpful little article called “Top Ten Ways to Wreck Your Candidacy Process” from the General Board that you may find helpful. You may find it by clicking here: Top Ten


All ordained elders, deacons and local pastors who have completed the course of study are encouraged (but not required) to attend a mentors training. Mentors are enlisted to support and encourage candidates for ministry throughout the candidacy process, as well as local pastors throughout their course of study.

Trained mentors are selected by the district superintendent, in consultation with the District Committee on Ministry, and also by the Board of Ordained Ministry to serve provisional members. Mentors must be trained to serve, and they must be retrained every four years.

Local Pastors

If you have questions about Local Pastors, Courses of Study, issues related to Local Pastors, or questions about how to become a Local Pastor, contact the Local Pastor’s Liaison:

Contact: Rev. John Bletsch,, 610-688-3848

Interested in Pastoral Ministry as a certified and licensed Local Pastor…

Information about the next Licensing School will be forthcoming.

To get an overview of the candidacy process or to download the forms you will need as a candidate for licensed and ordained ministry please visit our Forms page.

If you have any questions concerning the licensing school, please contact Local Pastors Registrar: Rev. Brad Leight,, 215-896-7670


How can a lay person explore a call to become a deacon?

  • Do you have a heart that is passionate for justice?
  • Are you a vessel of God’s compassion for others?
  • Is God tugging at your heart to serve people in your community or globally?
  • Do you find yourself equipping others to serve in both the church and the world?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, God may be calling you to become an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. To learn more about who deacons are and what they are about, check out the book The United Methodist Deacon: Ordained to Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice by Margaret Ann Crain.  Also, speak with your pastor about this call that you are discerning, and consider contacting your district superintendent in order to get connected with other deacons in your area.

If you have any questions about how to become a deacon or what a deacon is, feel free to contact Rev. Tiffany Manning, Chair of the Order of Deacons, at

What is the role of a deacon?

Deacons are ordained clergy who serve as a bridge between the church and the world. Some deacons do this by serving in an area of specialized ministry within the life of the church (music, Christian education, visitation, etc.), while others serve primarily outside of the church walls in a variety of roles, embodying the church’s mission in another setting (hospitals, educational institutions, counseling centers, etc.). Deacons equip the laity for their servant ministry by helping them discern their gifts and determine how they can be used in the life of the church and community. Called to a lifetime ministry of preaching and teaching the Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice, deacons exemplify the ministry of all believers to serve the world as Christ’s disciples.

Resources for Deacons


Elders are ordained United Methodist clergy who are ordained to a ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. This means elders preach and teach the Word of God, provide pastoral care and counsel, administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and order the life of the church for service in mission and ministry.

The servant leadership of the elder takes place both in parish ministry as well as in extension ministries, like chaplaincy. Elders itinerate, which means they serve in ministry settings (appointments) where the bishop assigns them.

For more information Contact Evelyn Kent Clark at

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