Overview of UB Ministers
The United Brethren church views ministers in these ways:
- They have received a specific call from God.
- This call has been recognized by the church.
- This call has been confirmed through a process of study and examination.
- They have been equipped to perform specific pastoral responsibilities.
We have These Categories of Ministers
- Lay ministers. This is for laypersons who don’t intend to become “professional” ministers.
- Local church ministers. The starting point for professional ministers.
- Provisional Ministers. This license is similar to the local church license, but it is granted by the denomination rather than by a local church.
- National conference ministers. They are working on meeting the requirements for ordination.
- Specialized ministers. They serve on staff in a specific area, like youth, music, etc.
- Ordained elders. The highest level. Only ordained ministers can be bishop or serve in certain other areas.
- Ordained chaplains. Recognizing professional chaplains in hospitals, the military, and other settings.
Who is in Charge of Ministerial Licensing?
Two licenses–the lay ministry and local church license–are granted by local churches. But when you get beyond that–the provisional, national conference and specialized ministry licenses, and then to ordination–you’re talking about the “professional” ministry. And there, everything is centralized.
In some denominations, regional districts grant licenses, and requirements may differ from district to district. Not so in the United Brethren church. If you receive a national conference license in Pennsylvania, you’re good to go in California or Florida, or anywhere else. There are no further hoops to jump through. If you move from one church to another, your license is automatically transferred along with your membership. You don’t need to be “accepted” by another region.
The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team (PMLT) is the central group which oversees ministerial licensing. Working under them are several Ministerial Licensing and Ordination Teams, each serving a geographic region. These group consists of three ordained elders, all appointed by the PMLT.
The Ministerial Licensing and Ordination teams examine candidates for National Conference and Specialized Ministry licenses, and for ordination, and then pass on a recommendation to the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team.
What about Women Serving as Ministers?
The United Brethren church does not discriminate in granting ministerial licenses. Throughout our history, we have ordained women and have had women serving as pastors and in other ministry roles.