By Keith Boyette
The Global Methodist Church is pleased to announce that Asbury Theological Seminary, Ashland Theological Seminary, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, United Theological Seminary, and Wesley Biblical Seminary are the first schools to be approved as Recommended Educational Institutions of the GM Church for the completion of educational requirements by candidates for ordination.
Additionally, the course of study program offered by Wesley Biblical Seminary has been approved. Its program will be offered in online, hybrid, and in-person formats making it widely available to candidates for ordination whose personal circumstances do not permit them to enroll in degree programs. Course of study programs provide candidates with some flexibility as they seek to fulfill educational requirements for ordination; however, the work required in a GM Church approved program is equivalent to those enrolled in degree programs.
The GM Church’s Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, in ¶ 407.1 requires candidates for ordination as deacons and elders to fulfill basic educational requirements prior to ordination. Candidates can complete the required classes through a course of study program, a bachelor’s degree program in ministry (for those residing in a majority-world context – outside the United States), a joint Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity program, a program for a Master of Arts or equivalent degree in the practice of ministry, or a Master of Divinity degree program. The specific classes to be completed to be ordained a deacon or an elder are set forth in ¶ 407.3-4.
Candidates may complete their educational requirements at any accredited educational institution. However, candidates are strongly encouraged to choose to complete their educational requirements at a school listed on the GM Church’s recommended educational institutions list. Paragraphs 409.1 (ordination of deacons) and 410.1(d) (ordination of elders) require annual conference boards of ministry to ensure a candidate’s courses and preparation meet the GM Church’s standards for persons who do not complete their educational requirements at a recommended educational institution.
GM Church recommended educational institutions were evaluated on a number of criteria, including:
- Institutional Integrity (whether the institution’s missions, values, goals, policies, practices, procedures, administration, faculty, and curriculum are consistent with and supportive of the mission, doctrine, and practice of the GM Church);
- Financial Health; and
- Alignment with the Theological and Ethical Principles of the GM Church (i.e., demonstrates it is supportive of and invested in sound preparation of clergy to serve in the GM Church; offers courses in Wesleyan doctrine, history, and discipline; and evidences a high commitment to Christian orthodoxy and the theological and ethical principles of the GM Church).
The GM Church has received submissions from other schools to be added to the recommended educational institutions list and those applications are currently being evaluated.
The course of study program at Wesley Biblical Seminary is the first such program approved by the GM Church. Other schools are also developing programs that will be evaluated for approval in the near future.
The GM Church is also evaluating relationships with schools that will enable persons in a majority-world context to complete the educational requirements with offerings easily accessible to them wherever they live.
The GM Church is committed to developing clergy who are fully equipped and vetted to ensure adherence to its doctrinal and ethical principles. Completion of educational requirements is but one aspect of this process. Prior to ordination as a deacon or an elder, candidates, in addition to completing educational requirements, must pass an examination in doctrine, history, discipline, and the Bible, and be interviewed and recommended by an annual conference board of ministry.
The necessity of learning is not completed with ordination. The GM Church encourages its clergy to daily grow in faith and learning, and to complete graduate and advanced degrees as they serve and lead in a church committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.
You can learn more about the Global Methodist Church by exploring its website.
Rev. Keith Boyette is the Transitional Connectional Officer of the Global Methodist Church, its chief executive and administrative officer.