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Leadership Development

We Are Called

Paths To Ministry

When you feel called to professional ministry in The United Methodist Church, there are several ways in which to serve:

Elders 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.

leadership development paths to ministry

Rev. Taylor Johson, local licensed pastor, leads worship and song.

Deacons 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 a deacon have met specific educational requirements. Read more about the ministry of deacons.

Local pastors 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 ministry of licensed local pastors and the educational requirements.

Through baptism, we are each called to serve God and others. Lay people may be called to serve through a secular career, their role in their family, or as a lay staff person or volunteer in their congregation, district, or conference. Read more about the ministry of laity. Learn about lay servant ministry opportunities with the Dakotas Conference.

How do I begin the process? Your first step is to write to the district superintendent (DS) including your statement of call and request admission to the candidacy process and assignment of a candidacy mentor. The DS and district committee will assign a candidacy mentor; the DS office will send you an email invitation, which includes instructions to log in, create a password, and enroll online in candidacy. For more information on the candidacy process, please contact the Office of Leadership Development by e-mail or phone 605-990-7796.  

Click here for the Dakotas Conference checklist for candidates on the elder and deacons path.

Click here for the Dakotas Conference checklist for candidates on the licensed local pastor path.