What is an Associate Member?
Associate members of an annual conference are in the itinerant ministry of
the Church and are available on a continuing basis for appointment by the bishop. They offer themselves without reserve to be appointed (and to serve as their superiors in office shall direct). They shall be amenable to the annual conference in the performance of their ministry and shall be granted the same security
of appointment as provisional members and members in full connection. (¶ 321)
What are the Disciplinary requirements to apply for Associate Membership?
• Been recommended to the clergy session based on a three-fourths majority vote of the conference Board of Ordained Ministry (¶ 322.1.1)
• Reached age forty (¶ 322.1.2)
• Served four years as full-time local pastors (¶ 322.1.3)
- Per Susquehanna Conference policy, two of these years are to be served following completion of COS. - Per Susquehanna Conference policy those years must be full time. Part time years of service may not be rolled into full time.
• Completed the Course of Study in addition to the studies for license as a local pastor, up to one half of which may be taken by correspondence or online/distance learning courses, or received a Master of Divinity degree
that includes the basic graduate theological studies from a school of theology listed by the University Senate (¶ 322.1.4)
• Completed a minimum of sixty semester hours toward the Bachelor of Arts or an equivalent degree in a college or university recognized by the University Senate (¶ 322.1.5)
• Been recommended by a three-fourths majority vote by the district committee on ordained ministry and the Board of Ordained Ministry (¶ 322.1.6)
• Additional requirements can be found in the Book of Discipline (¶ 322)
How do I apply for Associate Membership?
• Contact the Local Pastor & Associate Member Registrar, David Walker ( for the application packet and information regarding interviews with the Board of Ordained Ministry. Requests for application packets must be made by mid-September to be eligible for interviews in March.
• Each candidate must ask his/her District Committee to approve their application for Associate Membership.
• Each candidate must ask his/her District Superintendent to submit a reference.
• Each candidate will submit written materials and be interviewed in: Worship; Life Issues; Theology; Bible Study, and a Discipleship Plan. Details of these assignments are in the application packet. Submission deadline for materials is early January.
Successful candidates will be voted on at Annual Conference and will be recognized as Associate Members during the Commissioning, Recognition and Ordination Service.

Advanced Course of Study

The purpose of the Advanced Course of Study for Ordained Ministry is to provide a curriculum which will enable a Local Pastor to meet the educational requirements for full conference membership and ordination as an elder.

• The local pastor complete 32 semester hours of graduate theological study offered by a seminary recognized by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  The Advance Course of Study shall include the basic graduate theological studies (¶ 324.6.d)


• The courses chosen will not duplicate those included in the basic five-year curriculum.

• Courses selected shall include both foundational and functional studies appropriate to each candidate.  Foundational courses include studies in the areas of theology, church history, biblical study, or church in society.  Functional courses include advanced work in counseling, church administration, preaching, teaching or worship.  Courses in evangelism and United Methodist history, doctrine and polity are required.

• Four to six semester hours of credit may be earned each summer in the Advanced Course of Study.

• Advanced Course of Study students may enroll in the Master of Divinity curriculum courses.

• Each student shall have all courses approved and recorded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

• Graduate studies not taken in a theological school, which parallel courses offered for advanced studies, may be approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to a maximum of nine semester hours.  Such studies must have been taken within the last 10 years.

• One basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education may be recognized as the equivalent of six semester hours in the Advanced Course of Study.

• Susquehanna Annual Conference students must meet the educational requirements set by the Board of Ordained Ministry for full membership and ordination as an elder.  These requirements must be met one full year prior to ordination.


Advanced Course of Study courses are offered during the summer sessions with the regular Course of Study schools.



         • University Senate-Approved Seminaries
         • United Methodist Theological Schools


Local pastors may fulfill the requirements for provisional membership and commissioning towards Elders Orders when they have:

• Completed four years of full time service or the equivalent (¶ 324.6.a)


• Completed the Course of Study (¶ 324.6.c

• Completed thirty-two semester hours of graduate theological study or its equivalent as determined by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, including a minimum of twenty-four semester hours of the basic graduate theological studies of the Christian faith including the areas of: Old Testament, New Testament, theology, church history, mission of the church in the world, worship/liturgy, and at least two semester or three quarter hours in each of the areas of United Methodist doctrine, polity, and history.  Most Local Pastors will complete these courses through the Advanced Course of Study.  Four to six semester hours of credit may be earned each summer in this Advanced Course of Study (see above).

• Once commissioned a provisional member, all requirements for full membership and ordination as an elder must be met, including serving two years as a provisional member. See ¶324, 2016 Discipline and the Susquehanna Annual Conference policies.


Who Should I contact?

Local Pastor and Associate Member’s Registrar
David Walker
48 South Pioneer Ave
Shavertown, PA 18708
cell: (570) 550-5050

Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members (PDF)

Advanced Course of Study
   • University Senate-Approved Seminaries
   • United Methodist Theological Schools