“It is overwhelming and a lot of work. But it is a step I wanted to take.” That sums up the overall feeling from the twenty participants in licensing school, held July 16-22 at Living Water Retreat Center at Lake Poinsett, South Dakota. Participants represented three conferences and four states.
The dean for the Dakotas Conference licensing school was Rev. Val Reinhiller, Williston Faith UMC. Participants prepared for seven classes before they arrived by completing assigned reading and activities. The seven classes and instructors for the school were: Public Worship, Preaching and the Sacraments—Rev. Dr. Ross Reinhiller, Williston Faith UMC; Pastoral Care for Spiritual Formation—Rev. Eric VanMeter, DWU campus ministry; Administration and Leadership—Rev. Dr. Gary Ball-Kilbourne, retired; Educational Ministries in the Church—Rev. Val Reinhiller; Mission and Evangelism—Rev. Dr. Chet Cataldo, retired; United Methodism—Rev. Dr. Gary Ball-Kilbourne; and Introduction to the Bible—Rev. Eric VanMeter.
The week-long licensing school is the first formal step in training to become a local licensed pastor. Before attending, candidates need to contact the district superintendent in their area and meet with the district committee on ordained ministry to obtain their recommendation for further studies. After that, a candidate for local pastor completes the studies for the local pastor, including the annual conference’s licensing school and the Course of Study offered through various seminaries.
Local licensed pastors are not ordained but are licensed to preach and conduct divine worship and perform the duties of a pastor. They are appointed, but need not make themselves available as itinerant ministers. Local pastors may also serve in extension ministries settings. They are not elected into membership of the annual conference.
“It was an intense week. I am looking forward to the next step.” That was the expression of many of those who attended. For more information about becoming a local licensed pastor click here.