In the 21st century, by far the most cost and time effective way to become ordained and thereby acquire the legal privileges enjoyed by ministers is to get ordained by the Universal Life Church.

You Get the Same Legal Privileges Regardless of Where You Get Your Ordination

Before you proceed in this article, name all of the services that Christian religious leaders like Catholic priests, Lutheran ministers, and Baptist preachers can perform. The author was able to name the following: lead a congregation, teach a bible or religious study class, provide spiritual counseling, perform a wedding, preside over a funeral or burial ceremony, officiate a baptism, and work as a chaplain. That's quite a lot of tasks for one person to perform! It may seem like only people who have extensive religious training could possibly be able to conduct them, due to legal requirements or the necessity of learning a host of ministerial skills through years of study, but this is not the case.

Despite what some people might tell you, people who become ordained online through online ministries like Get Ordained or the Universal Life Church are able to perform all of the above services in 48 U.S. states. This means that Universal Life Church ministers are legally allowed to perform a wedding for friends and family members, baptize the newest addition to their family or community, and even give sermons to members of their religious communities from dedicated worship spaces or even their own homes. In short, those who become ordained online enjoy the exact same legal standing as those who become ordained through conventional religious schools.

Just as someone who attends a Baptist Seminary becomes ordained by a real church, someone who uses Get Ordained services with the Universal Life Church Monastery is ordained by a real church. The ULC Monastery is registered as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington, the exact same legal filing that most churches (i.e. Baptist, Lutheran, and Catholic churches) in its home state possess.

What It Takes to Become a Minister with Get Ordained in a Conventional Manner

The following list compares the annual tuition, number of required classes, and duration of the Master of Divinity programs of three popular Christian religious schools in America, each from a different denomination. These schools' Master of Divinity degrees, when combined with a bachelor's degree, satisfy most of the ordination prerequisites in these denominations.

Luther Seminary | Lutheran Seminary | St. Paul, Minn.

Average annual tuition: $15,000

Degree duration: Three years, plus one year of interning as a minister

Number of required classes: 30

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary | Baptist Seminary | Fort Worth, Texas

Average annual tuition: $7,128*

Degree duration: Three years

Number of required classes: 30

  • The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary charges less tuition for people who are Southern Baptists. Tuition is twice as expensive for non-Southern Baptists.

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary | Catholic Seminary | Wynnewood, Penn.

Average annual tuition: $17,088

Degree duration: Four years

Number of required classes: 41

Please note the numbers listed above are only for tuition; they do not include the thousands of additional dollars students must pay every year for room and board, textbooks, and a host of other fees.

What It Takes to Become Ordained Online

Universal Life Church Monastery | Universal Life Church | Seattle, Wash.

It costs nothing to get ordained through the Universal Life Church, though the ULC

  • It costs nothing to become ordained through Get Ordained and the Universal Life Church, though the ULC's ministerial documentation (ordination credential certificate pictured here) must be purchased.*

Average cost to becoming ordained: $0; the ordination itself is free. All you have to do to become ordained with the ULC is enter your personal information (full legal name, mailing address, and email address) into the online ordination form found on their website.

Ministers looking to perform services that require them to prove their ministerial identity (weddings, and chaplain work, for example) will need to purchase documentation on the ULC's website. The least expensive form of ministerial documentation is the ordination credential certificate, which costs $7. The most expensive are the materials contained within the Nevada Wedding Officiant Package, the package ministers who are looking to solemnize marriages in Nevada need, which costs $30.

The Universal Life Church Monastery also offers a number of training materials, ministerial clothing, certificates, and other ministry products on its site, though these are rarely if ever necessary for our ministers to own.

Time it takes to become ordained: Two to five minutes to receive an online ordination plus several hours (or more) of training to perform each kind of ministerial service ministers are interested in.

Number of required classes: Zero, though we encourage our ministers to pursue some form of ministerial training through books, online classes, seminars, and so on.

Summary: Which Method of Ordination is Better?

Let us review by listing facts:

1) There is little to no legal difference between whether you become ordained at a conventional religious school or if you use Get Ordained, depending on where you live. ULC ministers enjoy the same legal privileges as conventionally-ordained ministers in 48 U.S. states.

2) It takes three years and around $20,000 minimum to receive the Master of Divinity degree you need in order to become ordained through the Baptist, Catholic, or Lutheran churches. Keep in mind that this Master's degree must supplement a Bachelor's degree; another four years of higher education and tens of thousands of dollars in additional tuition will be required to get a Master's degree if you do not already have one.

3) Five minutes of your time, a way to connect to the internet, and a grand total of $0 are required to use the Get Ordained services online, or other  online ministries like the Universal Life Church. This ordination has no expiration date, no renewal fees, and gives laypeople many legal privileges in most of the U.S.

Of course, it is true that the process of online ordination has many shortcomings. People who want to do everything that a Lutheran preacher does should attend a Lutheran seminary, as the ULC's ordination process does not provide that kind of training. Likewise, people who are interested in learning and then teaching about the dogma of a particular Christian denomination should study at one of that denomination's religious schools. However, for people who only want to become ordained so that they can perform a wedding, officiate a baptism, or work as a chaplain, the Universal Life Church's ordination is by far the best choice.

Category: Get Ordained

ULC become ordained

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