Becoming a legally ordained minister is a highly personal choice usually done in response to either a person feeling called by God or out of a need to officiate a wedding. Michigan requires you to provide ordination paperwork from a religious organization with the authority to ordain or through your faith’s nearest local place of worship.
Getting Ordained Online
The internet provides different ordination companies that will ordain you without cost and others that require a monthly membership fee. Before becoming ordained, you’ll want to carefully read the site’s code of ethics statement, as you will be required to live out the code of ethics as you perform various ministerial duties. Once you’ve picked the place you want to affiliate yourself with, fill out the ordination application . You may want to order one of the “clergy packages” the company may provide that includes a letter of good standing, a licensing document and an ordination certificate to help prove you are an ordained minister authorized to perform religious ceremonies in the state of Michigan. Most online ordination companies will send you a confirmation email once you’ve been approved.
Ordination from Your Local Church
Most local churches will allow you to inquire about ordination processes. Church leadership will advise of the faith’s requirements, time commitments you need to prepare for and any other duties or tasks you may be asked to perform during the processes. You’ll fill out an application and background check authorization forms. During the processes you may need to provide a copy of your resume and or a list of character references. The place of worship will set up a schedule of classes or trainings you’ll need to take part in or will advise you of authorized colleges to obtain any educational requirements such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in theology or divinity.
The leaders will approve or deny your paperwork and if denied will advise you what needs to be completed or redone to receive your ordination credentials.
Tax-Exempt Status for Churches
If you became ordained from an online organization, wait to register with the State of Michigan as a member of the clergy until you’ve received your clergy package in the mail that contains original inked signatures. This will help validate your position as a member of the clergy, authorized to officiate weddings rather than just showing up at the courthouse with nothing more than an email. The state of Michigan does not allow a single, ordained minister to apply for tax-exempt status. Instead, the state of Michigan only recognizes formally formed churches, complete with a church charter document from your ordination organization, with three or more members to apply for and obtain non-profit tax-exempt status.
State of Michigan, Performance of Marriages, Michigan.gov
Michigan Legislature, Michigan General Corporation Act, Legislature.mi.gov