Certification in Specialized Ministries

Certification in Specialized Ministries

Certification in Specialized Ministries in the United Methodist Church is available to qualifying persons to demonstrate a level of competency and standards set by the denomination.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry is charged to:

Identify the areas of need for specialized ministries; provide standards and educational programs that may lead to certification in those areas; and review the qualifications of persons recommended for certification by conference boards of ordained ministry. (¶1421.3e)

Certification is available for members of the United Methodist Church who are:

  • clergy: deacons, elders, associate members, local pastors
  • laity: diaconal ministers, lay people

The standards set for certification include:

  • Faith formation
  • Academic training
  • Experience
  • Membership in The United Methodist Church
  • Continuing study in the area of specialization.

Three Tracks for Certification in the United Methodist Church

  1. Professional
  2. Undergraduate
  3. Paraprofessional

Each track is available in eight areas of specialized ministry:

  • Christian Education
  • Youth ministries
  • Music
  • Spiritual formation
  • Older adult ministries
  • Evangelism
  • Camping/Retreat ministries
  • Children’s ministries

Professional Certification

Certification in a specialized area of ministry in The United Methodist Church is the church’s recognition that:

  • an individual has been called to specialized ministry
  • has made a commitment to meet the standards for academic training
  • has experience in the area of specialized ministry
  • will continue any necessary study
  • will achieve and maintain excellence in ministry

There are three avenues toward completion of the academic requirements for professional certification:

  • a master’s degree in the area of specialization
  • a bachelor’s degree that includes the required certification courses
  • a bachelor’s degree and five graduate level certification courses

Educators, youth, musicians, evangelists, persons serving in spiritual formation ministry, camp/retreat ministry, older adult ministry, or children’s ministry who seek certification in areas of specialized ministry in the Holston Annual Conference should contact the Clergy Services Office at (865) 690-4080 and /or the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry Education Team, and be given the following informational resources:

  • steps into certification
  • listing of courses
  • degrees and courses offered by UM seminaries and UM related colleges / universities
  • scholarships available
  • enrollment form HE4064.

Undergraduate Certification

Undergraduate certification is available by taking an undergraduate degree, including the certification courses, at one of the United Methodist Colleges or Universities whose programs have been approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and then completing two years of employment in the area of specialized ministry. For a list of the colleges and see the GBHEM Web site www.gbhem.org/certification

Paraprofessional Certification

Paraprofessional certification is designed for those working in a specialized area of ministry who do not have an undergraduate degree. This area of ministry does not necessarily carry academic credit but rather concentrates on training and skill development for those working or volunteering in an area of specialized ministry. Those seeking paraprofessional certification complete a program that has been approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Such programs are available through jurisdictional structures, annual conference programs, United Methodist colleges, universities and seminaries. See www.gbhem.org/certification for approved programs.




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