Candidacy: Exploring Your Call

The Calling begins with just a whisper from the Spirit and grows through seasons of sudden joys and losses, through patches of uncertainty and adversity, through worries and distractions, into fruitful fields of abundance. Through the collaborative efforts of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Bishop’s Office, the Center for Clergy and Laity Development seeks to provide encouragement for those responding to the Call to Licensed and Ordained Ministry at every step along the way. We encourage a healthy Culture of Call within the conference, provide support for those navigating the process of Ordination at the Provisional and Full Member exams and License to Preach School, and coordinate Continuing Education Efforts.

Read a commentary on God's call, Call: In Light of This, from Rev. John Nupp. 

Candidacy for ministry process

What is your calling? Our candidacy process is designed to be a vocational discernment experience, along with a professional credentialing process. Throughout the candidacy process, you will explore the meaning of God's call on your life, wrestle with how best to answer that call, and discern the path forward. To get started, speak with your pastor, youth pastor, or campus minister; download our Ministry Field Guide linked below; and write to your District Superintendent outlining your call and desire to enter the candidacy process.


professional credentialing

Background Check

A criminal background check, motor vehicle report, and credit check are required for all those seeking to become a certified candidate for ministry or serve the local church in the UMC. Candidates will complete a background check through their BWC Application Portal. Access to this Portal is provided through the District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM). Contact your DCOM Chair with questions.

Psychological Assessment Process

Once a background check has been completed, and the DCOM has interviewed a candidate and approved them to move forward, candidates are then eligible for the psychological assessment process.  Psychological Assessments are offered quarterly, once candidate pre-requisites are completed in the BWC Application Portal. The candidate or their local church is responsible for payment of $900. Following the assessments and a clinical interview with the candidate, the conference psychologist will provide their report to the candidate and the DCOM chair (or their representative) at a feedback session. This feedback session must take place prior to the certification interview. Details about the psychological assessment process can be found in our guide:

Psychological Assessment Process Guide


Educational Requirements

UMc educational requirements

Deacons: Must receive a master of divinity degree or obtain a master’s degree in their work field, plus 27 theological study hours.
Elders: Must have a Master of Divinity degree from a seminary approved by the church.
Local Pastors: Must complete the Basic Five-Year Course of Study.

Financial Assistance for Ministry Education

GBHEM encourages prospective candidates to explore their Loans and Scholarships section to learn more about financial aid options.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference offers Ministerial Education Funds (MEF) for the following:

Course of Study Reimbursement

Seminary Student Grant/Loan
  • For Master's level Degree (or UM-required courses) from a University Senate Approved school, certified candidates may request assistance of $500 per credit hour which is paid directly to the school.
  • To apply for MEF assistance, download the MEF Initial Application Packet. The form must be signed by both your DCOM Chair confirming that you are a certified candidate, and the seminary's registrar certifying that you are currently enrolled.
  • To renew your MEF assistance request each semester, download the MEF Renewal Application Packet. The form must be signed by the seminary's registrar certifying that you are currently enrolled.
  • Please return completed forms via email to  .

Clergy Care Corner

  1. The Employee Assistance Program offers several important benefits to clergy and their dependents, including 8 free sessions of counseling for those experiencing challenges or grief per concern. Learn more about the EAP from an interview with Rev. Cary James, Jr., and get contact information here.
  2. Looking for a Spiritual Director, Coach, or Counselor? The Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders can be found here. You can also view our database of contacts here.
  3. Need to find pulpit supply or pastoral care coverage so that you can take some time away? View our database of persons willing to serve in this way here.