Beginning with the Fall 2019 semester, students can meet the requirements for ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church upon earning a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) from Saint Paul School of Theology.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes a deacon as one who responds to God’s call “to lead in service and to equip others for this ministry through teaching, proclamation, and worship and who assist elders in the administration of the sacrements….”
Students wishing to become an ordained deacon may earn a MACM with a specialization in Deacon Ministries for UMC Basic Graduate Studies Ordination. The MACM program offers real-world, contextual experience that prepares students for creative ministry through in-depth exploration and application of Scripture, tradition and ministry practices.
The MACM also offers the chance to earn a degree in less time than for a Master of Divinity (MDiv), which means lower tuition costs.
Keep reading to learn more about becoming a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, along with additional spiritual callings which students may pursue with a MACM.
Become a Deacon in the United Methodist Church
A deacon may serve the community or congregation in a number of ways.
In the community, deacons advance a ministry of compassion and justice, while assisting lay persons in different areas of service. Within a local congregation, a deacon may carry out a number of responsibilities including disciple formation, participation in marriages and funerals and assistance with the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Deacon appointments are typically made for one of three primary fields of service:
- Agencies and settings beyond the local church. Deacons connect the church with the neglected, marginalized and those with deep needs. Areas of service may include disaster relief, rehabilitation, counseling, prisons, hospitals, hospice care, homeless ministries and outreach to unemployed individuals.
- United Methodist church related agencies. This may include service to schools, colleges, theological schools, and other United Methodist organizations.
- Within a local congregation, charge or cooperative parish. Deacons play a role in leading the congregation’s mission and equipping all Christians to fulfill their calls to service. Ministries may include music, Christian education, mission outreach, parish visitor, youth ministry, business administration or evangelism.
If you feel that God is calling you to become a deacon, spend time in prayer and discernment, listening for direction. Talk with your local pastor or deacon, staff and parish relations committee for further guidance, followed by a meeting with your District Committee on Ordained Ministry. Familiarize yourself with the requirements for ordination.
Deacons are appointed by the bishop, and appointments may be initiated by individual deacons, agencies seeking specialized services, bishops or district superintendents.
Education requirements include a Bachelor’s degree plus a Master of Divinity or other appropriate Master’s degree from an approved seminary or area of specialization.
About the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
In addition to meeting the requirements for becoming a deacon, the MACM program also prepares students for ministry in and out of the church, including lay and ordained ministry, and specialized areas such as student ministry.
Students gain hands-on experience through Ministry Settings, which may involve paid or volunteer pastoring, youth or children’s ministries or other positions within and outside of a church setting. Ministry settings take place alongside other Contextual Education offerings:
- Ministry collaboration groups, in which regular or adjunct faculty lead small groups of students to reflect on experiences in life and ministry. Other learning activities include case studies, learning goals and written assignments.
- Daylong spiritual formation retreats together with fellow students, faculty and staff.
- Half-credit practicums which are short, workshop-style courses that offer experiential learning in the student’s particular area of ministry.
Are you wondering how to become a deacon or answer God’s call to another area of specialized ministry? Completing a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry at Saint Paul could be the next step on your journey.
Call 913-725-8289 or contact our admissions office online to learn more.