Throughout history God has called people to ministry. That calling comes to a variety of people at a variety of stages in their lives and in a variety of ways. As we look to the Bible we find Abraham, who is well beyond our retirement age, at 75, answering God’s call to leave his comfortable and familiar surroundings to go to a land which God would show him and, even though he was childless, God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation through whom all the nations would be blessed. God called Moses through a burning bush to return to his native Egypt, from which he had fled after committing a murder, to lead his people out of bondage. God called Isaiah to be a prophet while he was at worship in the temple. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet while he was still in the womb. Jesus called some of his disciples while they were fishing and another while he was collecting taxes. He called Saul, with a loud voice and a blinding light, on his way to persecute the early Christians, to become his evangelist to the gentiles.
You may feel that God is calling you. That calling may be somewhat similar to those mentioned above or it may be totally different. While all Christians have a ministry and a vocation or calling, some within the Church are called to servant leadership, both lay and ordained. You are encouraged to explore that calling by giving it prayerful consideration. Then, contact your United Methodist pastor and discuss your calling with him or her. Ask your pastor to obtain a copy of the book, “The Christian as Minister.” Read it and discuss it with your pastor. Then, if you still feel that God is calling you to service in the United Methodist Church, explore with your pastor the next steps to be taken (they are also on this site).
There are a variety of paths that can be taken and a variety of steps involved in each path. While it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, you are not alone. Your pastor, your district superintendent, your District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and your conference Board of Ordained Ministry are here to assist you.
Remember, every journey, no matter how long or complicated, begins with taking that first step. May God bless you on that journey, as you explore and answer the call.
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. Learn more…
To carry out its work, the Board has numerous standing committees. For more information about a committee, or to get a particular form, click on the appropriate work area below.
About Ordained Ministry
Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors: One of the ways ordained clergy serve God through the church is through ministries of “witness and service which extend Christ’s love and justice.”(¶343.1) Clergy in ministries of pastoral care in specialized settings as chaplains and pastoral counselors may be endorsed by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency. — ¶1421.5, 2008 Book of Discipline
Deacons: Those who respond to God’s call to lead in service and to equip others for this ministry through teaching, proclamation, and worship and who assist elders in the administration of the sacraments are ordained deacon. – ¶303.2, 2008 Book of Discipline
Elders: Those whose leadership in service includes preaching and teaching the Word of God, administration of the sacraments, ordering the Church for its mission and service, and administration of the Discipline of the Church are ordained as elders.–2008 Discipline — ¶303.2, 2008 Book of Discipline
Licensed Local Pastors: Full-time and part-time licensed local pastors under appointment are clergy members of the annual conference in which they are appointed. Those who are licensed for pastoral ministry and appointed to the local church shall preach, conduct divine worship and perform the duties of a pastor. — ¶¶ 602, 315, 2008 Book of Discipline