What course of study is right for you?
As you consider your unique ministry calling, it will prove helpful to give prayerful consideration to your training path early on in the process. Your mentor and conference MEG Board may assist you in this discernment process. This is important for a number of reasons, not least of these is to ensure that the training you receive will adequately prepare you biblically, theologically, practically, and relationally for the roles in which you will serve.
For example, if you are feeling led toward co-vocational ministry, you will want to consider training and/or a degree program that will help prepare you biblically, theologically, and ministerially, while also equipping you with the tools and skills you will need for your complimentary career path. This may include a dual-major degree in ministry/theology and another field of study, or perhaps a degree in another field while pursuing your ministry and theology training through courses offered by your annual conference and/or the Center for Pastoral Formation.
If, however, you are led toward full-time career pastoral ministry, you would do well to consider enrolling in an M.Div. program. Generally, M.Div. programs are designed to combine solid biblical and theological training combined with robust practical experience under supervision and reflection. On the other hand, if teaching or research are part of your ministry trajectory, a M.Th. may serve you better than an M.Div. and you should give serious consideration to ultimately planning toward a Ph.D.
If you are feeling led toward chaplaincy, many chaplain positions require the completion of a Master of Divinity degree from an accredited seminary and often at least some credits of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), if not a full year. CPE is a somewhat rigorous training that includes guided self-discovery under supervision. Some chaplaincy positions may not mandate these but will call for a denominational endorsement (for more information on denomination endorsement as a chaplain, please visit FM Chaplains).
There are certainly many other forms of ministry that allow for alternative means of training and education and for which the financial burden and time investment of higher education may not be beneficial for the candidate at this time. There is no one-size-fits-all. Each ministerial candidate should prayerfully discern where God may be leading you individually in your ministry preparation journey.