ordained minister performing wedding
An ordained minister can perform a range of ceremonies, including legal weddings.

You might have heard about people getting certified online to become ministers. But, what does that mean? More specifically:

  • What is an ordained minister, exactly? 
  • What types of duties can they perform? 
  • How can you become one?

We get questions like these all the time. 

In this guide, we’ll go over what an ordained minister is, what types of ceremonies and other duties ministers preside over, and explain how anyone can become ordained online for free with just a few clicks. 

What Is an Ordained Minister?

To put it simply, an ordained minister is a member of a religious body who has undergone a prescribed process to achieve special status within their religious body. Ordained ministers are granted special authority to perform a range of ceremonies, including weddings, baptisms, and funerals (more on that later). 

The ordination process varies greatly between faiths and even between denominations within a faith, with some requiring years of seminary study to achieve ordination, and others offering more straightforward paths. There is no right or wrong way to grant ordination, and all religious organizations are free to determine what requirements are necessary to be ordained.

Historically, though, this opportunity was often limited to a select few individuals with the means to do so. It was also a male-dominated club – women were generally excluded from ministry. 

ULC's Ordination Philosophy

The Universal Life Church Ministries takes a different approach. As a nondenominational, multi-faith organization, we are committed to dismantling these historic barriers to ordination and opening up the process to all who feel so-called – regardless of their gender, creed, or income bracket. 

It is this conviction that inspired our innovative approach to ordination; the ULC is best known for its free online ordination process that can be completed in just minutes. Once a member has submitted their application successfully, they are conferred with the title of “Minister.” Ordination never expires; it is good for life.

Given the time and money required for traditional schooling – not to mention the discriminatory policies that still exist within many denominations – more and more people are choosing to become certified as a minister online. 

How Do You Become Ordained?

Pathways to ordination vary greatly from one church body to the next. Unlike other churches, the ULC’s ordination process is instant and open to everyone. In a few clicks, you can get ordained online for free and be well on your way to achieving your ministerial goals. The Universal Life Church offers ordination to anyone 18 and over who feels so-called. Members are simply asked to abide by two basic tenets:

  1. Do only that which is right.
  2. Every individual is free to practice their religion however they like as long as their actions do not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and are in accordance with the law.

ULC ordination instantly grants you all the same rights and privileges given to ministers of any other faith – including the legal authority to perform weddings and other ceremonies. To learn more about the ordination process, visit our ordination training center

What Are the Duties of an Ordained Minister

Ordained ministers have many duties, both legal and spiritual. They preside over baptisms, lead funerals and memorials, provide spiritual counseling to those in need, and more. 

However, one of the most common duties of an ordained minister is to officiate weddings. In a world where fewer people have close connections to a local church or a traditional clergy member, online ordination fills a much-needed gap. Couples planning a wedding will often ask a friend or family member to get ordained and perform their wedding ceremony – a wonderful gesture that can inject even more meaning into the special day. 

Getting certified to officiate weddings is as simple as filling out the online ordination form and following the local requirements for performing the ceremony. To learn more about what it takes to perform a wedding in your area, visit our state wedding guide

How to Officiate a Wedding as an Ordained Minister

Being asked to get ordained to perform a wedding is a tremendous honor, and a great responsibility. The couple is entrusting you to lead the ceremony that will bind them legally and spiritually as partners for life. As part of this duty, you may be responsible for creating the actual text for the wedding script. A ceremony speech needs to hit key points for the union to be considered legal, so you’ll want to be prepared. Feel free to utilize our free wedding scripts or wedding script generator to find the perfect words. 

Finally, the minister will need to complete the marriage license along with the couple following the ceremony. To guarantee the license is properly filled out, set aside a few moments with the couple and their witnesses after the ceremony to sign the marriage license. Check out the ULC wedding training center for more tips and tools about officiating weddings!

What Does It Mean to Be a Minister?

Ultimately, ordination is what you make of it. ULC ministers come from all walks of life, and are free to use their ordinations as much – or as little – as they please. Some people feel called to perform a single ceremony, while others perform thousands. Some enterprising individuals even start ministries of their own! 

The beauty of online ordination is the accessibility and freedom it offers. Ministers are empowered to chart their own courses and pursue their faith or spiritual practices in whatever way makes the most sense to them, unburdened by arbitrary rules or requirements from a distant leadership body.

Category: Perform a Wedding Become Ordained Online

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