How to Become an Ordained Minister Online

Two Parts:Researching OrdinationGetting Ordained

Getting ordained online is often as easy as signing up for an account and paying a small fee. As an ordained minister, you can officiate wedding ceremonies, funerals, and other important ceremonies. Some states don't legally recognized online ordinations, so be sure to check the laws where you live before performing a ceremony.

Part 1
Researching Ordination

  1. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 1
    Find out if you can legally be a minister in your county. If you're getting ordained to perform a wedding, this step is essential.[1] Some states recognize online ordinations as legal, while others only consider you a minister if you have a congregation. Look up your state's laws, or call your county clerk for more information. Some states require minister licensing, which is the process of registering as clergy with the state. Here are some general guidelines[2]:
    • The legality of online ordination has been the subject of recent court cases in a variety of states. Laws regarding this issue are constantly evolving, so it's important to have up-to-the minute information about whether you'll be able to legally perform different ceremonies where you live.
    • Organizations such as prisons and hospitals that allow outside ministers to visit and minister to their clients, inmates, and patients have the right to refuse recognition to certain ministers. Many federal institutions, especially those addressing the needs of veterans and the military, do not recognize online ordinations no matter how legal they may be.
  2. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 2
    Find out how becoming a minister online will impact your religious standing. If you aren't already a member of a church, this isn't something to worry about. However, if you are a member of a church, getting ordained online could affect your standing. If you want to perform a wedding for a friend but you already belong to a different religion, investigate whether becoming ordained online could get you excommunicated.
    • Some churches, such as the Catholic Church and the LDS Church, may consider becoming a minister in another religion apostasy, and grounds for immediate excommunication.
    • If you're unsure, ask your local clergy for guidance.
  3. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 3
    Think twice before getting ordained online if you truly want to be a minister. If you feel you've been called to serve as a minister, you might find it more fulfilling to get ordained via the more traditional route of attending a seminary. Getting ordained online will allow you to perform weddings, but you won't have your own congregation, and you won't get hired by a church to serve as pastor. Consider looking into seminary programs that may better suit your needs.
    • If you want to open your own church or missionary service, you're still better off attending seminary than getting an online ordination. In most cases online ordination won't provide you with the religious education you'll need to be successful.
    • Some online churches are non-denominational and open to people of any faith. If you are actively involved in another religion, be sure to check that becoming a non-denominational minister will not affect your standing in your religion.

Part 2
Getting Ordained

  1. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 4
    Find an organization that suits your needs and your beliefs. Do some research to find an online ministry you can see yourself joining. Some organizations simply send you ordination papers, while, others provide training as to how to perform weddings and other ceremonies. Make sure that whatever you choose is an incorporated and legitimate service.[3]
    • Some sites are quite religious, while others are purposely unaffiliated with any particular religion.
    • Choose a service that will send you a hard copy of your credentials, with an original signature and a seal. Additionally, find out if they'll send a letter of good standing or a wallet card. Free ordinations will usually provide a certificate to be printed from your browser. A higher-quality version, often with a gold seal will normally have to be ordered for a nominal fee.
    • Don’t be fooled by sites that say a church must be a tax-exempt organization to be valid. This is not true. It is totally up to the organization to decide if they wish to apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status. Some organizations choose to keep government out of religion through the payment of taxes.
  2. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 5
    Contact prospective ministries via phone or email. If you'd like to find out more information about the process, as well as whether your ordination will be sufficient to perform any ceremonies you're interested in doing, contact the ministry. While you're at it, you can ask if they know anything about acting as a minster in your particular state.
    • Avoid organizations that do not list their contact information on their site or do not respond to your attempts to contact them.
    • Know that your ordination may or may not allow you to perform weddings in your state. You must check the state requirements by calling the clerk in the county in which the wedding is going to be performed.
    • Find out about renewal fees. Some ministries will ordain you for life, while others will only ordain you for a year.
  3. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 6
    Submit your personal information online. Most online ordination services require you to fill out a short form with your personal information. Every church has different requirements for the ordination process, but most require the following:
    • Full legal name
    • Mailing address
    • Valid email address
    • A fee, usually about $50.00
  4. Image titled Become an Ordained Minister Online Step 7
    Receive your official ordination paperwork in the mail. After you submit your information and pay for the services you requested, all you have to do is wait to receive your paperwork. Processing your request should take no more than two weeks. If you still have not received your official certificate and letter of good standing by then, contact the ministry.


  • In a few states you need a letter aka "Letter of Good Standing" from the organization that ordained you to be able to perform a wedding.
  • If you plan to perform a marriage in the state of Nevada, be sure that you check that the organization has a "physical" congregation in the state of Nevada. The law prohibits an ordained minister from performing a wedding if there is not a physical congregation in the state. If you are a resident of another state, you can request a one-time exception from the county in which the license is obtained.


  • Most online sites have learned that they can break down their ordination into categories. Mainstream churches have ordained laity, deacons, and priests. The sites are paralleling this tier system with partial ordinations. Only the higher level ordinations are authorized to officiate sacraments. If such a person signs a license, and the licensing board checks the ordination, the license is illegal, and there are serious legal consequences. This includes marriage licenses, and other recordings into vital records, such as baptism and funerals.

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