Greetings & Salutations!!!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Heather Lee Crandall, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. Hello, my name is Heather Lee and I've just joined, obviously.

    I am here because I need advice concerning my career path and finding online schools that offer legitimate degrees without charging a fortune.

    I would like to become a youth pastor for the Methodist Church. What degrees would be required for this? What online seminary schools offer programs that can help me earn those degrees legitimately without costing a fortune?

    Any tips or advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance. ^_^
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi - Welcome to DegreeInfo. There's lots of information here that you'll find useful. My first suggestion is that you read some relevant threads to get started. The search widget will help but you could start right here

    I also suggest that you do some reading on the subject of accreditation. People will have questions for you about your background, preferences, etc. so as to narrow your choices a bit. Good luck in your search.
  3. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Heather Lee . . . To set you off in the right direction, a couple of pieces of specific additional information would help. To wit (or not to wit, that is the question):

    When you say Methodist Church, please be specific - Methodists don't come in as many flavors as Baptists, but they do come in more than one flavor. Are you specifically looking for a credential in the United Methodist Church (the largest), or Free Methodist, AME, Wesleyan, and so forth?

    Second, when you say that you want to earn a degree, let's be sure we're on the same page - theological seminaries generally offer master's degrees and higher (keeping in mind that in the U.S., "seminary" can also mean a high school). Do you already have a bachelor's degree? If so, from where and in what major?

    Next, how much, if any, travel are you willing to do? Iowa also has four UMC undergraduate colleges, but there is no UMC seminary in Iowa – the closest UMC seminary is in Evanston, IL.

    Meanwhile, as a starting point, check out the UMC Iowa Conference School for Lay Ministry at They have classes at Cornell College, which is about 80 miles from you, as well as in Des Moines. Unfortunately, they do not appear to be active in terms of distance education.

    Also, if you have not already done so, ask your own pastor about any options with which he or she may be familiar. As a general rule, Methodist pastors have an earned Master of Divinity degree, so they’ve been through the higher education process. Some seminaries have programs that reduce tuition significantly for people who are seeking to engage in ministry, so the place to start may be right at home. Moreover, if you find a distance program that requires a supervised practicum or internship, your own church may be the best starting place.

    Finally, take all recommendations that you receive in this forum with a grain of salt. Those who suggest other programs often have no clue about the differences between, say, Methodists and Baptists, or the fine points inherent in specific denominations on issues ranging from doctrine to polity. They tend to recommend Pentecostal programs to Fundamentalists and vice versa. It’s not that they are not well meaning, it’s simply that they are idiots. And the worst idiots are those who think they know what they’re talking about. But I digress (with a smirk upon my face). :D
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If you're looking to become ordained in the United Methodist Church, I don't believe that's possible with an MDiv earned entirely by distance, but United Theological Seminary has blended learning that might be your best bet.

    But I think you'd be better off getting advice from those in your region and your denomination than here.
  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Hi Heather. Welcome to the board.

    If your ambition is to become an ordained minister, then you probably need to be talking to your church about their educational and other requirements.

    This United Methodist Church webpage might be a place to start.

    These might be helpful
  6. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Speaking of Methodists . . . It increasingly looks like the UMC is going to split into two over the issues of LGBT clergy and gay marriage. This won't be the first time we've seen such a schism, dating back most significantly to the Presbyterian split in the 1970's over the issues of female clergy and the war in Vietnam.

    But this one looks like it's coming straight from the UMC hierarchy, which appears to be getting tired of being confronted by the gay issues. A key question, is what will happen in terms of Methodist theological education - in other words, which way will the seminaries go on the gay issue? Will we see new Methodist seminaries pop up to meet the needs of a break-off denomination (as happened when the Presbyterian Church in America broke off from the then United Presbyterian Church)? In an issue other than education, what will become of all of the Methodist church properties that break off from the UMC, since the UMC is a hierarchical denomination as opposed to a congregational one (meaning that the parent denomination owns the church properties)?

    In the meantime, and returning to this thread, we have not seen proverbial hide nor hair of Heather Lee Crandall, who has not even signed onto DI since she posted her original message in this thread. I guess her interest was not significant enough for her to follow up on her own inquiry. Ultimately, we and the Methodists might be better off for her absence. :D
  7. tadj

    tadj Active Member

  8. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Yeah, big news in one of America's larger "mainline" Protestant denominations.

    The way that I heard it, most of the the Methodist leadership in the United States favors gay marriage and gay (and "transgender") clergy, but a large minority doesn't. And at the Methodists' last world conference, the American leadership lost on these issues when the American traditionalists sided with more "conservative" African and Philippine Methodists to form a majority that voted 'no'.

    So in this case, it's the "liberal" side that's splitting off from the main body. (In these kinds of situations, it's usually the "conservatives" that split off.) Although the way that the American leadership has framed the issue in the Separation Protocol that I'm sure they wrote, the "liberals" will take the "United Methodist" name and identity. Remaining part of the "United Methodist church" post-separation is the default condition. If an "annual conference" or individual congregation doesn't hold a vote, or does hold a vote and leave doesn't win by the prescribed supermajority percentage, then it remains part of the "liberal" church.

    Dunno. But seeing as how in "mainline Protestantism" seminaries are typically to the theological "left" of their congregations, I'd expect most of them to want to remain with the "United Methodists". There's a question about who owns them. Are they owned by the church? If so, what does that mean, exactly? The Methodists are divided organizationally into "conferences" and the Protocol below gives conferences the right to leave by a specified supermajority vote. If a particular seminary is owned by a particular conference, then I assume that it will remain the property of that conference after the conference has left. Individual parishes may leave as well by a specified supermajority vote, but presumably if they leave their conference, they wouldn't take the seminary with them.


    They address that for "local churches" at IV A 1 a i below:

    "A local church that affiliates with a Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol other than the post-separation United Methodist Church retains its assets and liabilities. The Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to which the local church belongs at the time of separation will not exercise its trust clause and shall release such local church from the provisions of any and all trust clauses..."

    She had a very specific question. And most of the replies she received suggested that her questions would be better directed at the vocations people in her church. So I expect that's what she's been doing.

    I hope that you aren't as nasty in face-to-face life as you are on the internet. Otherwise, you must be a very lonely person.

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