How to Become a Licensed Ordained Minister

Updated April 17, 2017

In Christian circles, a minister is a man or woman who is authorised by a church or religious organisation to perform clergy functions such as providing spiritual guidance to the community, teaching of doctrine and performing services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals. The growing popularity of independent ministries and liberal church communities has seen an increase in legally ordained ministers.

Study at a seminary. This is the conventional method to become a legally ordained minister. Attending a Bible school or theological institution prepares you for religious services. Some churches have theological schools where those interested in becoming ordained ministers must attend classes for a specified period.

Study online and obtain a certificate of ordination. Various Christian organisations offer training for people who desire to become ordained ministers. Upon completion of several correspondence courses, the student receives a certificate of ordination. This method is best suited for those who may not have the time to attend a full-time course at a seminary school.

Register online and become a legally ordained minister through the various websites that offer the service. This has become one of the options for those who want to become legally ordained ministers without having to necessarily follow the traditional approach of going to Bible school or doing certain online courses. In the United States this method is legal. The American Fellowship Church offers this service.

Obtain mailed credentials that you are a legally ordained minister if you register to be one online. Mailed credentials have the benefit of having original seals and signatures that make your documents legal. Without original signatures and seals, the authenticity of online ordination certificates can be challenged.

Acquire and study the laws concerning how to become a legally ordained minister in your state. Some states may require you to present a copy of your credentials and register your name and address for them to consider giving you legal permission to perform the duties of an ordained minister. It is also important to note that state laws can be changed, and one would need to contact the County Clerk's Office to obtain the current laws or requirements in regard to ordination.

Choose the title by which you want to be addressed. Some churches ordain ministers under a certain title. However, when you are obtaining your ordination online, you may be required to give a title to your function. Various titles exist among Christian groups, such as minister, pastor, reverend, evangelist, missionary, bishop and elder.

Signing a code of ethics may be required in some churches before they can ordain you as a minister. United Faith Institute operates by this principle. The institute offers ordination for life, but it can be revoked if it is deemed necessary owing to ethical violations that may tarnish the reputation of the ministry.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of ministry practice regulations
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