Despite a seeming shift towards Atheism and general apathy, the United States still remains one of the most religious nations in the world, at least when asking Americans what religion they belong to. According to a Pew Research poll done in 2012, 76% of Americans identify with one religion or another, opposed to the 24% percent who remain “unaffiliated”, meaning they are either agnostic, atheist, or just plain uninterested. Compare that to Ireland, where in a similar poll only 47% of respondents claimed a religion. In this frame of thought, it is quite obvious that religion, and furthermore the clergy, has more visibility and more public support in the United States making it one of the most beneficial nations to become an ordained minister.
The Perks of Becoming Ordained
So what exactly does being an ordained minister really entail? One of the main responsibilities of ordained ministers, at least in a legal sense, is being able to conduct marriages. In the United States, in order to preside over a wedding, a couple must be married by either a state official or an official clergy of a church. Because of this, many people become ordained so they can marry close friends or family, but in a spiritual sense, a minister’s responsibilities do not end there. In Timothy 3:2, it is explained that a teacher of the Christian faith must be “temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach”, and so if one is truly passionate about becoming a minister, there is a higher standard for their actions and words and oftentimes, those getting ordained not just to marry people are usually seeking to become missionaries.
How to Become a Minister
The actual process to becoming a minister can seem convoluted as some states require a government certification in addition to whatever requirements any given church demands for you to be recognized as a mouthpiece for their religion. If you so happen to live in a state where additional certification is required, do not be too worried as they generally see going through the seminary or whatever comparable classes as the bulk of your responsibilities. Once you determine what the laws in your state are, the process is fairly straightforward:
1. Decide what religious organization suits your needs
2. Research that organization and reach out to them about your desire to become ordained
3. Complete their requirements, usually explaining what your motivation for joining the clergy is, paperwork, and oftentimes a fee.
4. Wait for your official ordination documents and go forth and make disciples of all nations!
Who is Ordained?
You might not think it, but being a minister is quite a popular route for many people and many celebrities have gone through the process for one reason or another. Lady Gaga received her official ordination through the Universal Life Church so she could preside over the marriage of her lesbian yoga instructor and her life partner. Comedian Jason Segel was ordained through the same Universal Life Church so he could marry a couple he found on Craigslist looking for someone who could marry them legally. The Universal Life Church has actually garnered quite a bit of controversy since its founding in 1977 as it adheres to no religious doctrine aside from “do what is right” and offers the easiest route to ordination. Many participants have reported that the ordination paperwork through the ULC takes less than ten minutes and this has led to over 20 million ordinations by the church. Over the decades it has battled with the government over its tax-exempt status, but as of today, the ULC is going strong and is a great option for those looking for an easy process to ordination.
Whatever your reason for wanting to be a minister, there are countless paths to your goal so reach out and grab your divine destiny!