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Bible and Minister With Hands FoldedSpirituality is a personal journey, but it also involves community. With numerous paths available, it can be difficult for some of us to choose one. Some require years of study — decades, even. Several faiths also limit who may become clergy members either by official doctrine or in practice. But others welcome a broader spectrum of people who feel called to ministry. Nondenominational ordination can be an attractive alternative for many reasons. This short guide explains what you need to know about ordination, ministry options, and more.

What Nondenominational Means

Before we delve into why someone would choose this path, it’s wise to learn about faith organizations that aren’t connected with specific religious sects or hierarchies. You may first think of some Christian groups such as megachurches and neo-charismatic churches. But let’s look at the definition of “nondenominational.” According to Merriam-Webster, it means “not restricted to a denomination.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition is rather broad, but it can apply to many kinds of organizations and people. There are nondenominational Muslims, for example, who don’t identify as Sunni, Shiite, or other sects of Islam. Some Jewish people and groups aren’t affiliated with Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or other major movements in Judaism.

There are even groups that aren’t affiliated with any major religion at all — the Universal Life Church, for example. The ULC’s two core tenets promote ethics and inclusivity. The second tenet is key: Every individual is free to practice their faith as they see fit, as long as they do not violate other people’s liberties.

Why Choose Nondenominal Ordination

Why would someone become a nondenominational ordained minister? Everyone’s desires and reasons are a little different. Some people choose not to affiliate themselves with religious sects, but they still have a deep need to develop their spirituality. They may join a nondenominational group or even pursue ministry. Others may not meet their faith’s requirements to join the clergy but may still feel called to serve others. For these individuals, ordination by a nondenominational religious organization can be a viable option.

The Basics of Online Ordination

You’ve probably heard that some groups offer nondenominational ordination online. Fortunately, you have many options from which to choose. Most organizations that offer online ordination, including the Universal Life Church, do not restrict their membership. Anyone, regardless of race, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other defining characteristics, may join. Moreover, these organizations share one major requirement: legal adulthood. In the United States, this means reaching the age of 18.

Online ordination is usually a simple process. You’ll be asked for basic information such as your legal name. The ordination process is complete in just a few minutes, and you’ll typically receive confirmation via email.

What You Can Do as a Nondenominational Minister

After you’ve been ordained, you may want to officiate weddings, perform baptisms, and conduct funerals. ULC ministers can do all of these and more. Ordination opens up other potential paths for service: You can start a church or ministry, for example.

Laws governing minsters vary by individual jurisdiction. Some, such as Ohio, require you to register and obtain a license. Others, like Michigan, do not mandate registration or licensing for ordained clergy. Either way, it’s still wise for ministers to have their nondenominational ordination certificates. You may be asked for ordination proof documentation by country clerks or other government officials. You can obtain these through the ULC’s ministry supplies store.

Starting Your Ministerial Journey

Nondenominational ordination is a big decision. For many people, it’s the first step in starting a ministry. Others desire to serve by performing weddings, baptisms, and funerals. If you want to learn more, check out ministry training on the Get Ordained site. You can find a wide range of ministerial resources and other great information.

Category: Get Ordained

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