Becoming a minister can be a rewarding profession. Your main role is to be able to serve God and serve others by offering your services to those in times of grief or other special need. While most ministers attend a seminary to obtain their theological education and prepare to be ordained, there are others who do not attend a seminary. In the modern world, there are are many outlets for an individual to become a minister. You can become ordained through a correspondence course through the mail or even take online courses to become a minister. There are even some churches and ordination websites who offer an ordination certificate online in as little as 24 hours just by answering a few questions and paying a fee.
Some people who choose to become ordained ministers will go on to become full-time ministers by becoming a head pastor of an already established church or will go on to establish their own independent church or ministry. Other people who will decide to become an ordained minister only want to officiate at weddings and other services such as baptisms, baby dedications and funerals. Some will become ministers so that they can be involved as a chaplain to incarcerated individuals as part of a prison ministry service.
Deciding to become an ordained minister takes a lot of thought and consideration. It can also take a lot of time and prayer. You need to ponder on why you want to become an ordained minister. Are you doing it because you want to supplement your income by performing a few weddings a month? Are you doing it because you want to serve God and enhance and enrich your own personal spirituality? You should consider several factors before deciding if becoming an ordained minister is a good career choice for you to make.
There are many ways to become a minisster. The traditional way is to attend a theological seminary or a university that offers degrees in theology. In order to attend a seminary, seminary college or a university to complete your degree you will need to study for at least 4 years for a basic bachelors degree. However, many ordained ministers will go on to achieve their masters or doctoral degrees in theology. Each of these extended degrees take at least another two to three years of study. If you are going for your masters or doctoral degree, you will be required to write a thesis paper or complete a thesis project on particular subject matter that pertains to your specific degree. In most cases, you will also be required to complete some career training as part of an external program to prepare you for work as an ordained minister. Once you receive your degree, you will be able to apply for your certificate or license of ordination. There are usually a few requirements to be ordained. A background check is sometimes involved to make sure that you do not have any type of criminal or legal issues that would prevent you from being a worthy candidate.
Most ordinations are provided by a particular sect of church such as Baptist, Methodist, Roman or Celtic Catholic, Lutheran and Presbyterian. There are also standard Christian churches under which you can obtain your ordination and not be affiliated with any particular type of denomination. Whichever church you decide to join, you will most likely be required to interview with the local head of that church such as a deacon or cardinal. They will counsel with you in preparation for your ordination. Once they decide that you have met all of the requirements for ordination under that particular church you will then be approved to have your ordination ceremony. The ordination ceremony is usually an elaborate affair with with the local bishop or cardinal performing the ceremony. Sometimes, multiple candidates are ordained at the same time. Sometimes the ordination is simple and private with only the bishop and other members of the local clergy present. At this time you will be able to register in the state or county in which you plan to reside so that you will be a registered member of the clergy. You usually fill out a simple form and pay a fee and will receive some sort of identification card that you will need to carry with you at all times. Some counties and states require the registration to be renewed every few years while others only require you to register one time. However, some states and counties do not require you to be registered in order to practice as a minister.
The simplest and quickest way for you to become a minister is to obtain one of many online ministry degrees. Some of these ministry degrees will take a year or more to complete. However there are some that can be completed in just a few months. Other churches such as the Universal Life Church allow you to become ordained within 24 hours. You follow a short lesson and fill out the necessary paperwork that they require and pay a few of as little as $40.00. You receive your certificate which can either be mailed to you or printed out online. There are other kits that you can purchase along with your ordination certificate and identification card such as books for performing ceremonies such as weddings or baptisms.