How to Become a Legally Ordained Minister in Your State
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|Legally Ordained Minister and Legally Licensed Minister What does it mean?
There is a lot of confusion when people hear the words "Legally Ordained" or "Legally Licensed" Minister. People presume that the government somehow has control of either process when that is not the case. The legality of both Ordination and Licensing comes from the constitution and our Freedom of Religion. The government has no control over either Ordination or Licensing. Both come from the religious organization, be it a church or ministry.
What is the difference between Ordination and Licensing?
In general a church or ministry can grant either or both. Ordination usually grants authority to do all Christian services, however, the religious organization that grants it can restrict the authority it gives. Licensing can also grant authority to do all Christian services, but again, the religious organization can restrict the authority it is giving. The religious organization can also grant either for a specific amount of time, and may have authority to cancel either for various reasons if that is their policy.
World Christianship Ministries has a policy of using both terms on the Ordination Certificate and granting the same authority for both. We grant authority to do all Christian services including Marriage (see more information below on doing Marriages), Baptism, funerals, and begin your own independent Church or Ministry if you wish. Ordination/Licensing is for life as long as your work is Christian Only, you do not do anything illegal with the credentials, and do not overstep the authority we have given.
Concerning Doing Marriages
Since a Marriage Ceremony is a legal, as well as a religious process, the states have a little authority on how Marriages are done in each state. All states usually use wording like all "ordained or licensed ministers" can do weddings, or words to that effect. Most do not require you to file a copy of your ordination before doing weddings, but never presume that is the case in your state, or another state if you go out of your state to do a weddings. So, in a few states you MUST file a copy of your credentials with the proper office before doing a wedding, and that state might assign you a code to use on the Marriage License when you are completing the minister portion after the ceremony. A couple of states require more than just filing a copy of your Ordination, they might also require a Letter of Good Standing to be filed along with a copy of your ordination certificate. Open your states marriage laws on the left for more information.
Note: There are no laws in any state, or with the federal government, regarding ordination of ministers as that is a religious process and the government is not involved due to the constitution and separation of church and state.