¶ 335. Requirements for Admission to Full Connection and Ordination as Elder-Probationary members who are candidates for full connection and ordination as elders and have been probationary members for at least three years may be admitted into membership in full connection in an annual conference and approved for elder’s ordination by two-thirds vote of the clergy members in full connection of the annual conference, upon recommendation by two-thirds vote of the board of ordained ministry,15 after they have qualified as follows. They shall have: (1) served full-time under episcopal appointment for at least three full annual conference years following the completion of the educational requirements specified in 3(b) below. Upon recommendation of the board of ordained ministry, an annual conference may may equate less than full-time to the requirement of full-time service.
Such equivalence is to be determined in light of the years of service involved, the quality of that service, the maturity of the applicant, and other relevant factors. Supervision is to be (a) personally assumed or delegated by the district superintendent, and (b) assumed by a mentor assigned by the board of ordained ministry. Their service shall be evaluated by the board of ordained ministry as effective according to written guidelines developed by the board and adopted by the clergy members in full connection.16 In rare cases, the board of ordained ministry may, by a two-thirds vote, approve years of service in an autonomous Methodist church as meeting this requirement if adequate supervision has been provided; (2) been previously elected as probationary members; (3) met the following educational requirements: (a) graduation with a Bachelor of Arts or equivalent degree from a college or university listed by the University Senate, or demonstrated competency equivalence through a process designed in consultation with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; (b) graduation with a Master of Divinity degree from a school of theology listed by the University Senate, or its equivalent as determined by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; or (c) met the education requirements of ¶ 324.6 for local pastors; (d) educational requirements in every case shall include a minimum of two semester or three quarter hours in each of the fields of United Methodist history, doctrine, and polity; provided that a candidate may meet the requirements by undertaking an independent study program provided and administered by
the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (see ¶ 1421.3d);
(4) satisfied the board regarding physical, mental, and emotional health; (5) prepared and preached at least one written sermon on a biblical passage specified by the board of ordained ministry; (6) presented a plan and outline for teaching a book or books of the Bible; (7) responded to a written or oral doctrinal examination administered by the board of ordained ministry. The candidate should demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly in both oral and written form. The candidate’s reflections and the board’s response should be informed by the insights and guidelines of Part II of the Discipline. The following questions are guidelines for the preparation of the examination:
(1) How has the practice of ministry affected your experience and understanding of God?
(2) What effect has the practice of ministry had on your understanding of humanity and the need for divine grace?
(3) What changes has the practice of ministry had on your understanding of: (a) the “Lordship of Jesus Christ,” and (b) the work of the Holy Spirit?
(4) The United Methodist Church holds that Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason are sources and norms for belief and practice, but that the Bible is primary among them. What is your understanding of this theological position of the Church?
(5) How do you understand the following traditional evangelical doctrines: (a) repentance; (b) justification; (c) regeneration;
(d) sanctification? What are the marks of the Christian life?
(6) For the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the Christian gospel and in consideration of your influence as an ordained minister, are you willing to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life; and to this end will you agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to physical health, intentional intellectual development, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, integrity in all personal relationships, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God?17
(7) What is the meaning and significance of the sacraments?
(8) Describe the nature and mission of the Church. What are its primary tasks today?
(9) What is your understanding of: (a) the Kingdom of God;
(b) the Resurrection; (c) eternal life?
(1) How do you conceive your vocation as an ordained minister?
c) The Practice of Ministry.
(1) How has the practice of ordained ministry affected your understanding of the expectations and obligations of the itinerant system?
(2) Do you offer yourself without reserve to be appointed and to serve as the appointive authority may determine?
(3) Describe and evaluate your personal gifts for ministry. What would be your areas of strength and areas in which you need to be strengthened?
(4) Are you willing to minister with all persons without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, social status gender, sexual orientation, age, economic condition, or disabilities?
(5) Will you regard all pastoral conversations of a confessional nature as a trust between the person concerned and God?
(6) Provide evidence of experience in peace and justice
15. See Judicial Council Decisions 157, 344.
16. See Judicial Council Decisions 555, 719.
17. See Judicial Council Decision 542.