PASTORAL MINISTRY HANDBOOK | CHAPTER 13

Educational Requirements

The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team oversees issues of ministerial education:

1. Seminaries approved for the training of United Brethren ministers.

2. Core topics required for ministerial licensing.

3. Continuing education of UB ministers.

Core Topics for National Conference Licensing

To qualify for a national conference license, persons must complete the following core topics (or equivalents approved by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team).

1. Old Testament Survey (3 hour course).

2. New Testament Survey (3 hour course).

3. Bible Elective 1 (3 hour course).

4. Bible Elective 2 (3 hour course).

5. Preaching (3 hour course).

6. Care and Counseling.

7. Systematic Theology (3 hour course).

8. Evangelism (3 hour course).

9. Spiritual Formation (3 hour course).

10. Leadership of a Congregation (3 hour course).

11. United Brethren History (seminar).

12. Ministry Internship (college credit).

Core Topics for Ordination

The course of study for ordination covers five areas:

1. Personal Discipline

a. Spiritual Formation.

b. Bible Study.

c. Mentoring and Time Management.

d. Christian World View.

e. Christian Ethics.

2. Bible, History, and Theology

a. Old Testament Survey

b. New Testament Survey

c. Church History Survey

d. Systematic Theology

e. Bible Elective

f. Bible Elective

3. Pastoral Ministry

a. Pastoral Care and Counseling.

b. Preaching.

c. Ministry Internship.

4. Church Ministry

a. Worship.

b. Assimilation/Small Group.

c. Christian Education (Teaching).

d. Equipping the Church for Service.

e. Evangelism.

f. Missions.

5. Church Leadership

a. Leadership of a Governing Body.

b. Leadership of a Congregation.

c. Staff (Volunteer or Paid) Management.

d. Conflict Management.

Approved Seminaries

The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team has approved various seminaries at which persons may pursue the core topics required for national conference licensing and ordination. Additional seminaries will be considered by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team upon request.

1. Schools Offering the Master of Divinity

  • Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kent.).
  • Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, Ohio).
  • Bethel Theological Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.).
  • Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas, Texas).
  • Evangelical Seminary (Myerstown, Pa.).
  • Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, Ind.).
  • Gordon-Conwell Seminary (Boston, Mass.).
  • Master’s College (Santa Clarita, Calif.).
  • Nazarene Theological Seminary (Kansas City, Mo.).
  • Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Ill.).
  • Western Evangelical Theological Seminary (Portland, Ore.).
  • Winebrenner Theological Seminary (Findlay, Ohio).


2. Schools Offering the Master of Arts

The following schools offer a Master of Arts degree in pastoral ministry or pastoral studies. Specific names of these degrees vary from institution to institution, and not all Master of Arts degrees offered by these institutions meet ordination requirements.

  • Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kent.).
  • Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, Ohio).
  • Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.).
  • Bethel Theological Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.).
  • Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas, Texas).
  • Evangelical Seminary (Myerstown, Pa.).
  • Gordon-Conwell Seminary (Boston, Mass.).
  • Wheaton College Graduate School (Wheaton, Ill.).
  • Winebrenner Theological Seminary (Findlay, Ohio).


3. Criteria for Approving Seminaries

For a graduate school to be approved, the following criteria must be met:

a. The school must be evangelical in nature.

b. The doctrine of the school must be compatible with the United Brethren Confession of Faith.

c. The school must be accredited by the Association of Theological Schools or a regional accrediting agency (such as the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education or the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools).

Continuing Education for Elders

All elders who are actively serving in a local church are required to complete two continuing education units (CEUs) and read four ministry-related books during each calendar year. (Each CEU is the equivalent of 10 hours of classroom contact time.) Reports for each are to be filed with the bishop and cluster leader.

The entire Pastoral Ministry Handbook can be downloaded as a PDF file.