Happy Couple Leaving Wedding

You may have heard about people signing up to become ordained to perform weddings and other types of ceremonies. Those unfamiliar with the process often wonder: “how long does it take to get ordained?”

Nearly every church and religious organization offers a path to ordination, although the nature and speed of this process can vary widely across different faith traditions and denominations. In some cases, ordination takes years to complete, while in others it can be done relatively quickly.

The Universal Life Church is unique in that it streamlines the process in order to make ordination as accessible as possible. The ULC provides ordination online, offering the title of “ordained minister” to all of those who feel so-called. But to understand how this works, it’s important to first understand what it means to be ordained.

Ulc Minister Officiating Church Wedding

What Is Ordination?

Ordination is the method by which a religious organization elevates members from its congregation to the clergy, the group of formal leaders within a church. Members of the clergy are authorized to perform the spiritual rites and ceremonies as prescribed by their faith.

Becoming ordained bestows the honor of being recognized as a leader of your personal ministry, and ordained members of the clergy will typically take on a specific title(s) for leadership of their religious sect. How to obtain such an honor, though, will differ based on the requirements and steps laid out by each faith tradition.

How Does the Ordination Process Work?

The short answer: it depends almost entirely on the rules of the religious organization in question. For example, the process of becoming a Catholic priest involves attending theological seminary school, which can take between 4-6 years to complete, as well as adhering to a number of criteria and being sponsored by a local Diocese.

The process of being ordained as a Buddhist monk or nun involves studying and practicing Buddha’s teachings in a monastic community before one decides to take the vows of a Buddhist monk or nun, which are generally made as a lifelong commitment to the monastery. Conversely, ordination through the Universal Life Church is a fast – and free – process.

Who Can Get Ordained With the Universal Life Church?

The Universal Life Church is a non-denominational interfaith organization that welcomes all who seek to become ordained. To ensure ordination is accessible to everyone, the ULC employs an open, online model for ordaining its ministers.

Since there is no specific religious text that the Church requires its members to follow, there is no need for the completion of any courses or tests to become an ordained minister of the ULC. Anyone wishing to join must simply agree to abide by the Church’s two main tenets:

  • Do that which is right
  • Always respect the rights and freedoms of others when practicing your faith

How Long Does It Take To Get Ordained Online?

Not long at all! In fact, the ordination application from the Universal Life Church takes just a few minutes to complete. To get ordained, just fill out the free ordination request form here on our website. On that form, you will be asked to submit some basic information, such as:

  • Your full legal name
  • Your state of residence
  • An email address
  • A password to use for your ordination account
  • Verification that you are 18 years of age or older

Once you submit your ordination request, you will be asked to verify that the information you are submitting is accurate. After submitting the final application, you will instantly be ordained!

What Are the Benefits of Being Ordained?

Now that you are ordained, a world of spiritual possibilities is opened to you. As an ordained minister, you have all the rights and privileges of a religious faith leader. These include:

  • Performing weddings and funerals
  • Blessing homes
  • Providing spiritual counseling
  • Starting your own church

Many ministers decide to get ordained to officiate weddings for family or friends, offering a highly personalized element to the ceremony. Others choose to become professional wedding officiants, providing services to couples looking for someone to perform a custom ceremony that aligns with their beliefs. These ministers can offer couples a more meaningful and authentic experience than they might get from a judge, justice of the peace, or a religious officiant outside of their faith.

Other ministers hold services in homes or places of worship and build their own congregations around specific spiritual practices. Such organizations can vary from a small group of like-minded individuals who gather to celebrate traditional religious holidays, to a brick-and-mortar church with daily or weekly services offered to their community.

Young woman becoming ordained on computer

Whatever you might be interested in pursuing as an ordained minister, the Universal Life Church has created an extensive library of resources in the form of training pages to help you in preparing to perform the various duties of a clergy member. For those wanting to dive even deeper, books and other supplies covering a wide range of spiritual traditions and ceremony types are available to order through our online catalog.