Licensing School

Equipping disciples for ministry and service through leadership as local pastors.

Licensing School 2023

The 2023 session of Licensing School will be offered as a hybrid program including several zoom sessions, various online learning modules, and an in-person retreat during the month of May. While the dates and schedule for the online portions are still being finalized, the in-person seminar will be held beginning in the afternoon (plan to arrive before 1 pm) of May 19th, concluding at noon on May 22nd, in Phoenix Arizona at the Franciscan Renewal Center.

Licensing School’s primary purpose is to prepare participants as fully as possible in an 80hr program for appointment as a local pastor and as someone once said “ministry is a contact sport”. We have found that the best way to prepare one to play on the field is to practice in the field, which is why we will be coming together for classes, preaching, field education, and fellowship on May 19th-22nd. While we know this means a financial sacrifice and tremendous commitment of time for people balancing families, jobs, other educational commitments, and life obligations, it is not the time or cost commitment of the 10-day in-residence program that was mandatory until 2020. While Licesing School is required in order to obtain the license to serve as a Local Pastor, we DO NOT license you! Nor does attendance mean you will be given an appointment or a license by your annual conference. We simply fulfill the disciplinary requirement as part of the licensing process.

What can I expect? Zoom class meetings will be two hours a piece for practicums, presentations, and class discussion. Each week participants will also be required to read, watch videos, and complete homework including reflection papers and quizzes, and group assignments. This program provides 80 hours of education in United Methodist Tradition, Public Worship and Liturgy, Preaching, Leadership/Administration, Spiritual Formation, Educational Ministries, Pastoral Care, Mission and Evangelism, and Conference-specific education. We cover what we think participants will need to know in order to begin their ministry as licensed local pastors. Please remember this program is the equivalent of a 10 day 80 hr. residential program, it is A LOT of work, plan accordingly. Participants may spend as many as 20 hrs a week on learning modules and assignments, talk to your employers, families, friends, District Superintendents, and co-workers now to start planning for this time.

If you have questions about the program please contact Beth Rambikur at


Registration and tuition are $950, please check with your DS, local pastor registrar, District Committee on Ministry, Board of Ordained Ministry, conference director of leadership development, and/or conference foundation as scholarship money is often available to cover some or all of this cost.

In-person retreat plan for about $300 to cover this event. We are reserving double occupancy rooms at the Franciscan Renewal Center for all of our participants and meals will be included in the cost of the room. Because of the location of the retreat center and the limited amount of time we will have together we are requiring participants to stay on-site. The good news is that you won’t need to rent a car. Uber and Lyft provide affordable transportation options from the Phoenix Airport and we are hoping to recruit some local folks to help with rides to and from the airport.

Travel book early and get travel insurance! We recommend you fly into the Phoneix Skyharbor Airport if you are flying. The program will start on 5/19 at 1:00 pm PT so please plan accordingly, program ends at 12:00 pm PT on 5/22. Parking is provided on-site for those traveling by car. Amtrack and Greyhound also have stations in Phoneix.

Books and supplies you will need access to the following books

  • The 2016 Book of Discipline Click Here For Access
  • United Methodist Book of Worship
  • This Holy Mystery Click Here For Free PDF
  • By Water and The Spirit Click Here For Free PDF
  • Living Our Beliefs by Kenneth Carder, 2009 edition
  • Quick and Easy Guide to United Methodist Polity by Anne Burkholder
  • The United Methodist Clergy Book of Firsts by F. Belton Joyner Jr.
  • A scholarly study Bible such as The NRSV Harper Collins Study Bible or NRSV New Interpreters Study Bible.

If you have questions about the program please contact Beth Rambikur at

Registration and Deadlines

The 2023 registration form will be posted in January of 2023. We do have an enrollment limit so register early to ensure you reserve your spot! We must have six registered participants by March 15th in order to offer this program. You can register before you have an appointment or have become a certified candidate for ministry if you have the permission of your District Superintendent. Registration will close on April 20th.

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