Becoming a Deaconess or Home Missioner
Deaconesses and home missioners are approved through a process established by United Methodist Women, consecrated and commissioned by a bishop at settings approved by the board of directors of United Methodist Women. They shall have a continuing relationship to The United Methodist Church through United Methodist Women.
Deaconesses and home missioners are available for service with any agency or program of The United Methodist Church. Deaconesses and home missioners may also serve in United Methodist Church agencies or programs, provided that approval is given by United Methodist Women in consultation with the bishop in the receiving area.
(¶1314.2, 2012 Book of Discipline)
Qualifications for the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner
- A call from God to lifetime, full-time mission-oriented service as part of the lay diaconate.
- Membership in The United Methodist Church.
- The professional training, education, and/or certifications for the ministry to which one is called.
- At the time of consecration and commissioning, position (compensated or noncompensated) in an approved appointment of love, justice and service. Appointments may be in a church-related vocation or helping profession. A deaconess or home missioner must hold local church membership in the annual conference in which she or he will be serving.
- Continuation of the practice of discernment.
- Biblical, theological, and sociological grounding in the prescribed core studies:
- Old Testament
- New Testament
- Theology of Mission
- History of The United Methodist Church
- Polity and Doctrine of the United Methodist Church
Core studies may be taken at United Methodist institutions of higher learning or at colleges, universities, and/or seminaries that are approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Intensive courses (one- to two-week) and other alternative program options are available. Prior coursework may be reviewed for approval of the core studies. Limited financial assistance based on need is available for core study coursework.
- Commitment to functioning through diverse forms of service directed toward the world to make Jesus Christ known in the fullness of his mission, which mandates that his followers:
- Alleviate suffering.
- Eradicate causes of injustice and all that robs life of dignity and worth.
- Facilitate the development of full human potential.
- Share in building global community through the church universal.
Application and Candidacy Process for Deaconess and Home Missioner
- Following a process of prayerful discernment that may include participation in a deaconess or home missioner spiritual formation retreat, the inquirer completes the application for deaconess or home missioner. This form is available online through the United Methodist Women website or through the administrative staff of the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner.
- The application with references is processed by the administrative staff of the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner for distribution to a review committee and shared for recommendation with the appropriate conference committee for mission service.
- Upon the recommendation of the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner review committee, the applicant is invited for staff interview and psychological interview and testing and participation in the Theology of Mission course. The applicant must be interviewed within two years of the first invitation.
- If approved, the applicant moves to the candidacy stage, is matched with a mentor/coach and completes core studies with progress reviewed annually.
- Upon completion or near completion of core studies, the candidate is invited to participate in the next scheduled preparation and training for consecration and commissioning.
- A review of appointment is submitted by the administrative staff of the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner to the appointing bishop for approval.
- Upon successful completion of all requirements and approval of appointment, candidate is consecrated to the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner and commissioned by a bishop at settings approved by the board of directors of United Methodist Women. Deaconesses and home missioners have a continuing relationship to The United Methodist Church through United Methodist Women.
- The approved appointment is fixed by the appointing bishop.