Candidacy Summit

You have felt God’s presence strongly in your life.
You have dreamed about the way God might use you to change the world.
You have thought about your place in the leadership of the church.
You have spoken to your pastor and maybe your District Superintendent about a future in professional ministry.
You are ready to forge ahead exploring full time ministry.
You want to take action!

Take your next step toward professional ministry by signing up for the Great Plains Candidacy Summit.

The Candidacy Summit is a two-day retreat that will kick start your candidacy process. It represents a commitment from you and from the church that you are serious about discerning God’s call for your life and taking your place in the leadership of the United Methodist Church. Attending is an important step but don’t worry! You don’t need to have all the answers to sign up. There is still plenty of time for questions and exploration as you discern how and where God has called you to be in ministry. The Candidacy Summit will be held twice a year (June and January).

At the Candidacy Summit you will connect with others who are starting the ordination process, learn about different types of credentials and the options you have in ministry as well as the process used to help you prepare for full time service to God through the UMC. You will also knock out some of the required testing to jump start your Candidacy process.

The Candidacy Summit will include:

  • An Orientation to Ministry, including laity, deacons, elders, local pastors and extension ministries,
  • Complete Psychological Testing, and
  • an assignment of candidate to a mentoring group which will meet three times following the Summit

The Great Plains Conference is ready to invest in you. To cover a portion of the costs of the summit and testing, $250 will be required from candidates prior to the summit. The registration cost will be reduced to $50 for those who have previously been required to complete the conference background check and psychological assessment. Where possible, we encourage your local church or ministry setting to assist you with the expenses of candidacy. Please contact Karen Jeffcoat, registrar, if you have any questions about cost.

The 2023 Candidacy Summits will be January 20-21, 2023 (online) and June 16-17 (tentatively planned for Topeka, KS). At least one Summit per year is normally offered in person. For in-person Summits, hotel accommodations for those attending in person are provided at no additional cost for candidates on Friday night. More accommodation information for an in-person Summit will be provided in the registration form and registration confirmation email.

Registration for each summit will open approximately four months and close approximately one month prior to each summit. In other words, registration for the January summit will open in late September and close in mid-December, and registration for the June summit will open in late February and close in mid-May.

Candidacy is an important period of discernment for you and it involves several steps. We’ve outlined the process in this handy step-by-step guide. (If this makes you go cross-eyed, fear not. We are here to help every step along the way.)

Before attending the summit we do require that each participant meet with their district superintendent to share how they have experienced a call to ministry. That meeting should include the submission of a written statement of call and a formal request to enter candidacy. In addition, each candidate should complete the Safe Gatherings certification process if not already certified. A few other preparatory steps are outlined below.

Questions? Contact your district superintendent. Your pastor can help with contact information or find a list of DS offices here.

The Board of Ordained Ministry is excited about how God is working in your life and the nudge you are feeling toward professional ministry. We look forward to helping you explore your call and watching how God helps you grow through this process!

Candidacy Summit Schedule

  In person Summit typical schedule Online Summit typical schedule

9:30 a.m. – noon

  • Check-in, gathering & fellowship
  • Opening worship
  • Orientation to ministry
  • Bishop Wilson (live or via video)

Lunch (in mentoring groups)

1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

  • Conference Leadership panel discussion
  • Small group (by geography) meetings with District Superintendents
  • Local Pastor-Deacon-Elder ministry panel & discussion
  • Individual activities & consultation


6:15 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  • Mentoring session 1

9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

  • Zoom open, gathering of candidates
  • Intro to the Summit
  • Opening devotion/worship
  • Mentoring group overview
  • Orientation to ministry


1:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

  • Bishop Wilson (live or via video)
  • Conference Leadership panel discussion
  • Small group (by geography) meetings with District Superintendents
  • Mentoring session 1

Candidates will watch a video introduction to the Local Pastor-Deacon-Elder video prior to the Summit or on Friday evening to prepare for Saturday discussion


8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

  • Worship
  • Next steps for the journey
  • Mentoring session 2


Testing for the required psychological assessment takes place following lunch and lasts for an average of 3.5-4.5 hours with participants departing between 3-5:30 p.m.

9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  • Devotion
  • Local Pastor-Deacon-Elder ministry panel & discussion
  • Nest steps for the journey
  • Mentoring session 2

Candidates will either return to the Summit Zoom at 1:30 p.m. to complete required psychological assessment testing or will select another offered time during the following week (at least one daytime and one evening time option will be available).

Candidacy Summit required forms and documents

  1. Follow directions provided by the BOOM Registrar following your declaration of candidacy to the district superintendent and enrollment into Passage UMC
  2. Prepare for Summit Mentoring Group (Complete prior to Candidacy Summit)
    • Form a Prayer Team – invite 3 to 5 person team to pray for you during this journey
    • Read 1 Samuel 3, Esther 1-4, Acts 9:1-31 and Candidacy Guidebook pages 16-19
    • Reflection Exercise: Write your call story (2 page maximum)
    • Read Candidacy Guidebook chapter 1 (pages 11-21) for first summit mentoring session; Read Candidacy Guidebook chapter 2 (pages 23-33) for second summit mentoring session; Candidacy Guidebook is available by mail or as a PDF download in Passage UMC following completion of the administrative fee step in the candidacy track.