Process for entering ministry in The United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada upholds a vision that all believers are called to participate in the healing of creation. This ministry may be lived out in many ways, from being a disciple who is actively involved in God’s mission in the world, to being in a leadership role as ministry personnel.

We celebrate the diversity of expressions of ministry leadership. We also celebrate that God calls individuals with varying gifts and abilities specifically to the vocation of ministry in order to faithfully lead the church in living out its purpose for the sake of a broken world. 

We affirm that some are called to the vocation of ministry and that ministry leadership that is intentionally set apart is essential for the church to participate in God’s hope for the world.

A Song of Faith (2006) gives voice to what we believe:

We are each given particular gifts of the Spirit.
For the sake of the world,
     God calls all followers of Jesus to Christian ministry.
In the church,
     some are called to specific ministries of leadership,
     both lay and ordered;
     some witness to the good news;
     some uphold the art of worship;
     some comfort the grieving and guide the wandering;
     some build up the community of wisdom;
     some stand with the oppressed and work for justice.
To embody God’s love in the world,
     the work of the church requires the ministry and discipleship
     of all believers.

How to Enter Ministry Leadership

The first step, and an ongoing practice when considering ministry leadership, is discernment. The Discerning a Call to Lead page offers resources and insights into how you might begin or continue to discern where God is calling you. All Christians are called to serve, discerning in which way you are being called is foundational to your journey.

One place you might begin considering the type of ministry you are called to is by watching the Streams of Ministry video. It is mandatory to watch this video and reflect on the various streams of ministry upheld in The United Church of Canada.

If you would like to learn about the process, please download Candidacy Pathway: Roadmap from the link below. The Roadmap is the best place to start before you explore other resources.

The Candidacy Pathway Policy is designed to assist people in discerning their call to ministry leadership and to assist the church in walking with them in the formal process of candidacy.

What If Someone Asks Me How to Become a Minister?

Check out the Candidacy Pathway article on page 2 of Connex 59 (June 2019) newsletter.

If a community of faith wants to become a Supervised Ministry Education (SME) site, please check out the article Connex 60 (Sept. 2019) newsletter.

Candidacy Pathway: Resource Videos

How to OV – Becoming a Supervised Ministry Education site (SME): What a community of faith should consider if they have a vacancy and are wondering about hiring a student.

Lay Supervision Team Training: How a community of faith should prepare for a student minister if they have hired one for a Supervised Ministry Education experience.

Shoulder Tap Video: A video encouraging communities of faith to get involved in recognizing and encouraging people to consider ministry as a career.


Have other questions? Please send video suggestions to


Attachment Size Type
Candidacy Pathway: Roadmap (January 2019) 434.36 KB PDF
Candidacy Pathway: Policy (January 2019) 515.71 KB PDF
Candidacy Pathway: Candidacy Board Resources (January 2019) 570.86 KB PDF
Candidacy Pathway: Circle of Accompaniment (January 2019) 373.63 KB PDF
Candidacy Pathway: Supervised Ministry Education (January 2019) 296.81 KB PDF
Learning Covenant (September 2019) 797.59 KB PDF
Learning Outcomes for Ministry Leadership 215.91 KB PDF
United Church Theological Education (April 2020) 118.78 KB PDF
Office of Vocation Ministers (July 2021) 93.77 KB PDF