Pursuing Licensing as a Local Pastor

All information concerning Local Pastors is found beginning in ¶ 315 of The Book of Discipline 2012. Local pastors are not ordained persons, but are instead “licensed” for ministry in The United Methodist Church. They may carry out ministerial functions and exercise sacramental privileges within the bounds of the charges where they are appointed.

A certified candidate may apply for license as a local pastor after completing studies in the Licensing School for Local Pastors prescribed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and administered by the Board of the Ordained Ministry or after completing one-third of the work toward a Master of Divinity degree.

Licensing studies is a prerequisite for appointment as a full-time, part-time or student local pastor. The license is valid only during the period that the pastor is serving under the appointment of the bishop. The license is renewed from one year to the next when the appointment is made. When a person, who is qualified to be licensed, is no longer serving as pastor of a charge, he or she may not continue to exercise ministerial functions. When one is not appointed, the license should be given to the district superintendent, who will keep it on file.

The applicant to the Licensing School for Local Pastors notifies the district superintendent, who will arrange for him or her to receive an application form. The completed application is mailed to the director of the school. 

A local pastor must make satisfactory progress in the Course of Study School each year unless he or she is enrolled in a college or seminary accredited by ATS. Courses of Study are held in various schools of theology. The most convenient for South Georgia local pastors is at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Each summer, during a four-week period of in-residence study, the full-time local pastor completes “one year” in the Five-Year Course of Study. The part-time local pastor is required to complete “one-half year” of study during a two-week in-residence period in the Course of Study School. (Correspondence is an option for part-time local pastors; more on this later) Registration forms are available by calling 1-404-727-4587. The Registrar for Local Pastors, the Rev. Rickey Rushing, 136 Altamaha School Rd. NW, Baxley, GA 31513 or the Director of Ministerial Services, Jay Harris (jharris@sgaumc.com, P.O. Box 18149, Macon, GA 31209) can assist you with further information about this process.