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Exploring God’s Call to Ministry

Exploring God’s Call to Ministry
In the United Methodist Church we believe that all are called to ministry- meaning lay persons and clergy serve together side by side “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. We also believe that people are called in a variety of ways, for a variety of ministries. In the Virginia Conference, we consider it a privilege to journey with those who are discerning their call to ministry. 

To get a sense of the spectrum of ministry in the United Methodist Church, you can take a look at this chart provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

You can review this brochure created by the Virginia Conference which provides more details on requirements- especially for those in the Candidacy process.

If you feel like God is calling you into ministry and you want to explore options of how God may be calling you, there are two initial steps for discernment into vocational ministry:
Contact a United Methodist clergyperson to discuss ways to answer a call to ministry
Read The Christian as Minister found at

Opportunities to Learn about the Varieties of Ministry in the United Methodist Church

After the initial steps, there are several things you can do to further your discovery about ways to serve in God’s call in the United Methodist Church.

  • Candidacy Summits

The Virginia Conference offers two Candidacy Summits a year, one in July, and one in January at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, VA. The purpose of the Candidacy Summit is to provide opportunities for vocational discernment, connection with others who are exploring God’s call in their lives, and deeper understanding about the VAUMC journey towards certified lay ministry, or certified candidacy, licensing, and ordained ministry. You can learn more/register for the next Summit here

  • Exploration 2024, February 16-18, Orlando, FL

The Virginia Conference is excited to be taking a group to this year’s event scheduled to take place in Orlando, FL.  The Board of Ordained Ministry is delighted to be able to offer a subsidized package which will include registration, travel, and accommodations for participants. 

Registration involves a two step process:

  1. Register for Exploration 2024 here:
  2. Register to become a part of the VAUMC cohort here:

Participants who register with both Exploration and the VAUMC will receive full funding for airfare from the Board of Ordained Ministry.

For questions, please contact Rev. [email protected], Associate Director for Call and Candidacy

Lay Ministry and Candidacy Overviews

If you are considering following the process for becoming a Lay Servant, Lay Speaker, or Certified Lay Minister, please visit here for more information.

If you are considering following the process for becoming a Certified Candidate- and becoming a Licensed Local Pastor there are three phases of candidacy of which to be aware. The Master Checklist will guide you in knowing all of the requirements for each phase of Candidacy.

Center for Clergy Excellence

If you have questions or are interested in more resources, contact the Rev. Crystal Sygeel, the Associate Director for Call and Candidacy, [email protected], 804-521-1141 in the Office of Clergy Excellence.

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