The call to pastoral ministry is both thrilling and overwhelming. While God calls all to serve Him in the church and in the community, He calls some to serve in a special role in the church as clergy (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Called individuals should follow the steps below to navigate the many-year process toward ordination as an elder or deacon in the Church of the Nazarene and prepare themselves for ministry.

If you have any questions along the way, please reach out to one of the following persons:

  • Dr. Sam Vassel, District Superintendent
  • Rev. Christine Paolino, Palmer Institute
  • Rev. Oral Walcott, Board of Ministry Chairperson
  • Rev. Juan David Paniagua, Board Secretary 

STEP 1: Local Minister’s License

Obtain a Local Minister’s License

This is the first step in the credentialing process of the Church of the Nazarene. Speak with your local church pastor about obtaining a LOCAL Minister’s License. The Local Minister’s License is issued for one year by a local Church Leadership Board, and must be re-issued every year until the candidate receives a District Minister’s License issued by the District.

View Resources to Complete this Step

Step 2: Ministerial Studies

Complete your ministerial studies

After reading The Guide to Ministerial Preparation and Ordination 2017, make arrangements to begin your schooling in collaboration with the Ministerial Studies Board. We invite you to consult with your sponsoring pastor to decide the best educational path for you.

52 ability statements must be mastered to complete the course of study requirements for ordination. For a list of approved colleges and curriculum, please contact Rev. Christine Paolino.

Step 3: Apply for a District License

Obtain your District Minister’s License

Once you’ve held your Local Minister’s License for at least one year and have successfully completed one quarter in an approved degree program, you may approach your sponsoring pastor to request that the local Church Leadership Board recommend you as a candidate for a District Minister’s License.
On the Metro NY District this begins with attendance at the candidate assessment weekend.

Please note: if you have a felony conviction or divorce in your history, contact Rev. Christine Paolino to discuss potential barrier removal in advance of applying for a District Minister’s License.

Step 4: Receive a District License

Receive and maintain your District Minister’s License

Candidates receiving their first District Minister’s License are expected to attend District Assembly that same year. Your license will be formally received through a special presentation during the district assembly.

Candidates who receive their District Minister’s License:

  • have a maximum of ten years to complete the educational requirements for ordination.
  • are expected to complete a minimum of two courses each year in order to maintain their District Minister’s License.
  • must receive the approval of his or her pastor, the local church board, the Board of Ministry in order to maintain their District Minister’s License each year.
  • are responsible to keep in touch with the
    District Office in order to obtain schedules or meetings which they will be required to attend.

If you have a change of address, change of ministry position, or change of status, please contact Rev. Christine Paolino. 

Step 5: Annual Assessment Process

Complete the Annual Assessment Process

Once you receive your District Minister’s License, you must meet annually with the Board of Ministry for an assessment. The Board of Ministry will reach out to you by phone or email to schedule your appointment as soon as your application is received.

You must apply for annual renewal of your District Minister’s License each year until you receive your Ordination Credential (see: Step 6).

Step 6: Ordination

Receive Your Ordination Credential

Ordination is a privilege, not a right. When a candidate has completed all required elements for Ordination, the candidate can request that he or she be ordained. This request must be approved by the District Board of Credentials, the Ministerial Studies Board, the District Assembly and the General Superintendent in jurisdiction. When the approvals are granted the candidate is ordained at District Assembly.

Clergy Preparation:

On the Metro NY District, each locally licensed pastor needs to enroll in a validated course of study. Please speak with Rev. Christine Paolino for approved educational options.


Clergy Assessment and Accountability:

The Palmer Institute serves to provide continuing education units and opportunities for shared ministry accountability and support throughout the year. For more information please contact Rev. Christine Paolino.

Lay Development and Training (Certificate in Lay Training):

In partnership with the Global Ministry Center of the International Church of the Nazarene a Certificate of Lay Training is available upon completion of several courses around the core distinctives of the Church of the Nazarene.

Explore these Training Opportunities