Certification in Specialized Ministry

CERTIFICATION IN SPECIALIZED MINISTRY in The United Methodist Church demonstrates a level of competency according to denominational standards in faith formation, academic training and experience, membership in The United Methodist Church and continuing study in the area of specialization. Certification is the United Methodist Church’s recognition that an individual has been called, made a commitment to serve and has fulfilled the required standards for academic training, experience and continuing study to serve with excellence in an area of specialized ministry. The church’s need for leaders who are prepared and committed to a ministry focus makes certification by The United Methodist Church increasingly important.

Certification is available in Camp and Retreat Ministries, Children’s Ministry, Christian Education, Evangelism, Ministry with People with Disabilities, Ministry with the Poor, Music Ministry, Older Adult Ministry, Spiritual Formation Ministry, UM Parish Nurse, Urban Ministry, and Youth Ministry.

Professional certification entails biblical and theological training, knowledge of The United Methodist Church structure and resources, skill development, support and accountability. Professional certification is available to lay people, ordained deacons and elders, diaconal ministers and local pastors who have an undergraduate degree, take prescribed certification courses for graduate level credit and meet other requirements. For more information, click here for professional certification and click here for para-professional certification.


  1. Recognized Christian character, personal competence, integrity and understanding of and commitment to the church’s ministry and mission
  2. Ability to relate to people, to work with volunteers and staff and to function with emotional maturity and sound judgment
  3. Demonstrated leadership and ability to integrate theory and practice
  4. Membership in The United Methodist Church for at least one (1) year before enrolling in the certification process.
  5. Knowledge of The United Methodist Church’s structure, polity, resources, program and mission.
  6. Psychological assessment and background check.
  7. Expressed commitment to continuing education that includes a planned program to enrich both personal and professional growth. Such a program shall include: (1) reading; (2) study, on an individual and group basis; (3) participation in professional, community, denominational and ecumenical groups; (4) renewal of spiritual life, and (5) evaluation by the immediate supervisor.
  8. Membership in a group or professional association related to the area of specialization


  1. Formally enroll in the United Methodist ministry certification process. Once you’re accepted into the program of your choice, you must complete this form for professional certification or this form for para-professional certification and submit it to BOM@arumc.org and deacons@gbhem.org.
  2. Begin your program coursework.
  3. Scholarships are available here and here.
  4. Obtain two years of supervised experience.

To be properly before the AR Board of Ordained Ministry for consideration for Certification, the following must be completed and submitted to the Arkansas Conference BOM Office at BOM@arumc.org by October 1 of the year preceding expected completion of Certification process.

  • Apply for approval for certification. Once you have completed the required coursework and work experience, you must apply for certification approval by submitting this form for professional certification or this form for para-professional certification to BOM@arumc.org and deacons@gbhem.org.
  • Send 3 references using this form to BOM@arumc.org.
  • Complete the Psychological Evaluation and Background Check.