Have you ever considered becoming a local pastor or how one becomes a local pastor? Learn more about the importance of the licensed local pastor as the Rev. Dr. Philip Amerson shares about the value of our Indiana Conference Extension Course of Study for Licensed Local Pastors and the value that this brings to the Conference. Amerson, also shares about his new role with Course of Study and how this work helps support the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Uniquely United Methodist

Education for our clergy and laity is at the heart of our United Methodist identity. Our deep commitments are evident in the hundreds of schools, from kindergartens to major universities, United Methodists have founded and support around the globe. Some estimates are that there are well more than 1,000 schools currently serving students that owe their founding and unique identity to United Methodism! In the United States, we have nearly 120 institutions of higher learning and several remarkable secondary schools.

We Hoosiers take pride in the University of Indianapolis, DePauw and Evansville as United Methodist-related institutions. However, there is one school of the annual conference that is often overlooked. It is the Indiana Extension Course of Study School for our Licensed Local Pastors. More than three-hundred-and-fifty (350) of our UMC congregations are served by licensed local pastors. The Course of Study is crucial to their preparation for ministry. These pastors serve one-third of the congregations in our state. Students meet at the University of Indianapolis over six Saturdays during the year. There is considerable reading and work before each class and for a student to graduate from the basic educational program takes five years to complete. Classes are offered in Bible, Theology, Evangelism, Administration, Pastoral Care, Discipleship, Worship, Mission, and Ethics.

This summer I assumed the duties of Interim Director of the Course of Study School. I am following on the good labor of Herb Cassel and Wilbur Yates who have built a strong educational program. I am pleased that Mrs. Michele Phillips of Fort Wayne will be working with me as an administrative assistant. If you are interested in knowing more about the school, you can contact us at localpastors@inumc.org.  

We United Methodists have an amazing history regarding education, both for laity and clergy. Our founders in America set the goal of “spreading scriptural holiness and reforming the nation.” They understood that education would be a key to accomplishing this.  When I was interviewed about being the director, one person suggested that our students, these fine local pastors were our end product. It was a good thought – but one that I don’t fully accept. The students are extremely important. Our end products, however, are healthy and strong communities where our faithful congregations are in mission. And, yes, we get there by preparing wise and well-educated pastors.  Lest we forget, education is essential to what makes us uniquely United Methodist.

Philip Amerson