How to Become a Licensed Ordained Minister in the State of Tennessee

By Helen Harvey - Updated April 14, 2017
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If you are seeking ordination because you wish to solemnize marriages, you should be aware that Tennessee State Code requires that in order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, the minister must be ordained "by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act." This will require you to undertake theological studies at a seminary or university and join a church as a minister, or find a religious organization that has a simpler process for ordination, that the state recognizes as legal. Some counties will also require you to register your ordination with them, prior to officiating at ceremonies.

Ordination Through Academic Studies

Identify the specific requirements for the ordination of ministers in the church you wish to join. This will often require a degree or a post-graduate degree in theology from an accredited university or seminary.

Enroll in a suitable program of study. For example, the Tennessee Temple University Temple Baptist Seminary offers resident, distance learning and modular programs in a wide range of religious studies, including ministry certifications and doctoral degrees in ministry. Some programs might take four or more years to complete and include ordination with the Highland Baptist Church as part of the syllabus.

Become ordained with your chosen church, once you have completed their required academic studies. Contact your local County Clerk's office to find out if you are required to register your ordination with them, prior to officiating at any ceremonies.

Online Ordination

Search for a religious organization where you can become ordained by completing a simple registration process. Ensure that the ordained ministers of this organization are recognized as legal by the state of Tennessee. Apply for ordination through the organization's website. For example, the American Fellowship Church will ordain you online for a small fee. Simply click the "Order Now" button on their home page. Contact your local County Clerk's office to find out if you are required to register your ordination with them, prior to officiating at any ceremonies.

About the Author

Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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