Candidacy: Pursuing Your Calling

Persons exploring ministry as a full-time or part-time vocation in the United Methodist Church must go through a process called Candidacy. The Candidacy Process is intended to help you discern if you are being called to licensed ministry, ordained ministry, or some kind of lay ministry. Through that same process, information is gathered about you to determine if you are a good fit for ministry in the United Methodist Church. Throughout your process you will be working with your District Committee on Ministry (DCOM). The goal is to move from being an Exploring Candidate to becoming a Certified Candidate.

VIDEO: Overview of the Candidacy Process

First Steps: Talk to Your Pastor and District Superintendent

The first step is to talk to your United Methodist pastor or ministry leader about your call. Next, call or email your District Superintendent (DS) to schedule a meeting to discuss your call. (For contact information about your DS and the Chair of your DCOM, click here.) Write out a statement of your call, and fill out a Biographical Form 102. To download Form 102, click here. Print your call statement and Biographical Form and take them with you to your meeting with your DS so that you can discuss your call. The DS will also verify that you have been a member or participant of a United Methodist congregation or ministry for at least one year, and assign you a mentor.

Logging in to the Ministerial Questionnaire 

After we have confirmation of your meeting with your District Superintendent, you will begin using an online, interactive system that we have developed called the Ministerial Questionnaire, which is designed to facilitate the interaction between you and your DCOM. A checklist is provided in the Ministerial Questionnaire to guide you through Candidacy, to supply you with the forms you need, to give you a means to upload documents, and to give you the spaces to record your information and reflections. As you follow the directions and begin completing the steps, you will be able to save your work and come back to it as many times as you need. You, your DCOM, and the Office of Ministerial Services will be able to track your progress. When you have furnished all the input the DCOM requires, then you will submit your work and be ready for your interview with the DCOM. 

Please know that your Ministerial Questionnaire is the OFFICIAL method used to submit the required information and documents to your DCOM in order to interview with them. 

To get started, please follow these directions:

  1. Email the Office of Ministerial Services (jharris@sgaumc.com) to inform them that you have met your District Superintendent and are ready to proceed with the Candidacy Process. Our office will send you your user name and password. You will need to record this information in a safe place so that you have it when needed. 
  2. Login to your Questionnaire by going to https://www.sgaumc.org/ministerialservicesportal and enter your user name and password. You are encouraged to change your login credentials after you have logged in for the first time (select “Update Login”), but please remember to record it in a safe location.
  3. To continue your login and begin the Questionnaire, please follow the instructions on the attached PDF (Ministerial Questionnaire Instructions). When you select “create a new questionnaire” the screen will refresh with a new row to create a questionnaire with the current date. Hit “Edit” on the far right of the row to begin.
  4. When you start your Ministerial Questionnaire, you will be asked your “Current Status.” Select “Exploring Candidate.” Beside “Seeking” select “Change of Status.” “Status Change Being Sought” will appear. Select one of three “Certified Candidate” choices related to your goal: Deacon Track, Elder Track, or “Local Pastor Track.”  
  5. We have provided a video to help you get started with the Ministerial Questionnaire. Click here to view the video.

Scheduling Meetings with your Mentor

You should have received from your District Superintendent the name and email address of your mentor. Contact your mentor as soon as possible to set up your first meeting. You need to meet at least 5 times to work through your Candidacy Guidebook: Answering the Call. Click here to download Answering the Call: Candidacy Guidebook. Click here to download a sample 5 session Reading and Discussion Plan.

Outline of the Steps

Below, we have provided an outline of the steps in the Candidacy Process so that you will have an idea of the process, but make sure you use the Ministerial Questionnaire to complete the steps. If you have any questions about the steps in the process, please send an email to jharris@sgaumc.com and Kate Tyler or Jay Harris will respond to your question. You are also encouraged to attend a Candidacy Orientation if one is offered at the beginning of the process or any time during your process.If you have technical questions about logging in or the functionality of the Ministerial Questionnaire, please contact Meredyth Earnest (meredyth@sgaumc.com). 

Conversation with Pastor and District Superintendent (See above)

Scheduling Meetings with your Mentor (See above)

Credit and Criminal Background Check

Download the Background Check Consent Form, the FORM 114 Candidacy Disclosure Form, and Authorization for Release of Information, fill them out, obtain the necessary notarized signatures, and mail them, along with a check for $90.00 made out to “South Georgia BOM,” to: Office of Ministerial Services, P.O. Box 18149, Macon, GA 31209. This will allow our office to run your credit and criminal background check and send to you your Candidacy Guidebook, Answering the Call, which will be your guidebook for your candidacy experience.

Psychological Assessment

The cost for the assessment is $600. Although this is to be done at the expense of the candidate, your sponsoring church often helps with the cost if they are aware of your need. Contact: Susan F. Davenport, Ph.D., Psychological Offices, 121 Carl Vinson Parkway, Warner Robins, GA 31088; Telephone: 478- 922-2365. (Call early to schedule your appointment in order to allow for the twelve weeks it takes to get on the calendar and for additional follow-up and reports.)

Bring church checks, district checks, certified checks, money orders, or credit cards (no personal checks). (After your examination and interview with Dr. Davenport, please allow several weeks to receive your report. Please read it carefully. Often, there is a recommendation for a consultation with Rev. Deborah Wight-Knight, our conference pastoral counselor. If so, please call her office (478-929-1032) at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation. Her role is to work together with you to help you understand yourself more fully in relationship to your history, your emotional and psychological makeup, and your gifts and graces for ministry.)

Get Your Local Church's Approval

1. Interview with your Pastor-Parish Relations Committee (PPRC). Arrange with your pastor a meeting of the PPRC to discuss your call and get their recommendation. For the meeting, prepare written answers to John Wesley’s questions: 1) Do you know God as a pardoning God? Have you the love of God abiding in you? Do you desire nothing but God? Are you holy in all manner of conversation? 2) Have you gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? Have you a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do you speak justly, readily, and clearly? 3) Have you fruit? Have you been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by your service?

2. Charge Conference Approval Ask your pastor to arrange with the DS a Charge Conference where the members will consider the PPRC’s recommendation. For your approval a three-fourths vote by written ballot is needed. Make sure that the pastor has a “Form 104: Declaration of Candidacy” ready for the Charge Conference and that the DS signs it, so you can upload it when completed.

Complete Medical Form

(Requires a visit to a physician). Download Form 103: Medical Form (linked below), fill out Part 1 regarding your medical history, schedule a physical examination, and have your physician complete Part 2 of the form. Upload the completed form.

College and Seminary Transcripts

(Send early to be reviewed.) Have official college and/or seminary transcripts sent to Dr. Jay Harris: P.O. Box 18149, Macon, GA 31209, jharris@sgaumc.com.

Divorce Documents, if applicable

If you have experienced divorce, send BOTH the divorce petition and decree for any divorce to Dr. Jay Harris: P.O. Box 18149, Macon, GA 31209, jharris@sgaumc.com.

FINAL STEP: District Committee on Ministry Interview

LAST STEP WHEN ALL ITEMS ABOVE HAVE BEEN COMPLETED: Contact the Chair of your District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM) and ask to be placed on the agenda of their next meeting in order to seek their final approval for you to become a certified candidate for ministry. In the fields provided, provide your Educational Information and Mentor Experience, and type in your responses under the heading “Interview Questions.” Be sure to express yourself to the best of your ability, using correct spelling and grammar.

Interview Questions

Share your most formative experiences of the Christian life. 

Describe God's call to ministry and the role of the church in your call.

Describe your core beliefs as a Christian. 

In addition to your general core beliefs, share your understanding of women in ministry; the Wesleyan understanding of salvation using the concepts of prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace; and your understanding of the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism, including infant baptism. 

Describe your gifts for ministry. 

At this time, are you being called to ministry as an elder, deacon, licensed pastor, or certified ministry? If so, describe your understanding of this call. 

Describe your support systems.