Methodist Studies

Methodist Studies at Candler promotes the ethos of the Wesleyan heritage through the encouragement of denominational and conference relations, course offerings, mentoring for candidates seeking ordination, and denominationally based and Pan-Methodist activities. For further information, contact Anne Burkholder, Associate Dean of Methodist Studies, adanie6@emory.edu or 404.727.1351.

Ordination in The United Methodist Church

As noted in The Book of Discipline, “within the church community, there are persons whose gifts, evidence of God’s grace, and promise of future usefulness are affirmed by the community and who respond to God’s call by offering themselves in leadership as ordained ministers.” Ordained deacons are called to ministries of word and service for the purpose of leading and equipping others through “teaching, proclamation, and worship” and assisting the elders in the administration of the sacraments and the order of the church. Those called to ministry of service, word, sacrament, and order serve as elders; they are “authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the church for mission and ministry."

Inquiry and Candidacy for United Methodist Ordination

Those preparing for ordination in The United Methodist Church formally explore the call to ministry through a process of inquiry and candidacy as required in The Book of Discipline. Students interested in exploring the call to ministry are encouraged to begin the process before starting seminary by contacting the pastor of their local church, another ordained deacon or elder, or their district superintendent. Courtesy mentors and a Vocational Discernment course (MIN 510) are available to students upon the written approval of their district superintendents and home conference mentors.

Mentoring and Support for Discernment and Preparation for Ordination

Support for students working through the process of inquiry, candidacy, and application for commissioning is provided through one-on-one consultation with the Associate Dean of Methodist Studies and through a variety of “SUMO” (“Seeking United Methodist Ordination”) programs tailored to address the issues that arise at each of the stages of the process.

Course Requirements for Ordination in the United Methodist Church

The Book of Discipline requires specific courses in United Methodist history, doctrine, and polity. In addition, The Book of Discipline requires courses in evangelism, mission, and worship. Some conferences require specific courses of their students. Students are responsible for being aware of their own conference requirements. Preparation for ordination as a deacon can be gained through the Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses, taken as a special student. Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses are available to students who already have a Masters degree in an area relevant to the specialty they wish to pursue as a deacon. Persons preparing for elders orders take the Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses as a part of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree.

Basic Graduate Studies in the Christian Faith

All deacons are required to complete the Basic Graduate Theological Studies in the Christian Faith. These may be completed as part of a theological degree or in addition to a Masters Degree and/or certification in a specialized area of ministry. All theological education must be at a seminary on the University Senate approved list. Get more information from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.