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Lifelong Learning for Licensed and Ordained Ministers

Why do I need to continue learning after completing the course of study?

Completing the course of study fulfills the educational requirements for ordination. However, the course of study curriculum is designed to prepare you to begin ministry—it does not teach you everything you will ever need to know. The excellence in ministry to which God calls you requires a lifetime of study and learning. Though the Bible remains constant, methods of understanding and communicating it are constantly changing. The theology of church changes very little in a person’s lifetime, but different emphases arise to meet the needs of a changing culture. To be a good steward of the ministry requires lifelong learning.


What are the lifelong learning requirements for licensed and ordained ministers?

Manual 527.6 states that “Once a minister has fulfilled the requirements of a validated course of study for ministry, he or she will continue a pattern of lifelong learning to enhance the ministry to which God has called him or her. A minimum expectation is 20 hours of lifelong learning each year or the equivalent determined by the region/language group and stated in their regional Sourcebook on Ordination.”


What are Lifelong Learning Hours (LLH)?

A Lifelong Learning Hour (LLH) represents an hour of contact (class participation) in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.


How can I fulfill my annual LLH requirements?

A variety of brokers or providers of continuing education can help you fulfill the expectations stated in Manual 527.6. You may take a course or courses for lifelong learning credit at a college, university, or seminary. You may participate in lifelong learning events provided by your regional Nazarene college, Nazarene Bible College, Nazarene Theological Seminary, or District Ministerial Studies Board. Both coursework for credit and LLHs are becoming available via the Internet. Most hospitals and local or state mental health organizations provide continuing education opportunities that can be used to meet the annual 20 LLH requirement.


How are certificates of continuing education obtained?

The ultimate responsibility for recording, tracking, and reporting your continuing education program belongs to you. Colleges, universities, and seminaries provide continuing education certificates (or transcripts in some cases) for credit and continuing education that they offer.

Clergy Development will record every accredited LLH reported to them by an approved broker or provider. If you consistently report your LLHs to Clergy Development through your district lifelong learning coordinator, they will be able to provide you with a cumulative record of your lifelong learning at your request. Your reported lifelong learning will also appear on your minister’s profile.

Clergy Development assists districts by issuing lifelong learning certificates for district-sponsored lifelong learning events.


How do I report Lifelong Learning Hours to my district board?

Lifelong learning will be reported to the district lifelong learning coordinator.

Manual 527.6 describes the reporting process: “All assigned and unassigned licensed and ordained ministers shall report on their progress in a program of lifelong learning as part of their report to the district assembly. An up-to-date report on his or her lifelong learning program will be used in the church/pastoral review process and in the process of calling a pastor.”