You can become a minister in Massachusetts in a number of ways, depending on your values, religious beliefs and desire for education. As a minister, you can perform rites such as weddings, baptisms and funerals in the state, and even start your own business in the process. Massachusetts does not require state licensing of ministers, instead only asking the ministers to be at least 18 years old and ordained by a recognized institution. The ordaining ministry does not need to be located within the state's borders, and you don't have to be a state resident to officiate there.
Attend a ministerial college or training program such as the Harvard Divinity School located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You only need to do this if your church or religious organization requires it, but many do. In addition, some churches require seminary training and do not recognize free or web-based ordination.
Find a ministry to ordain you without seminary school if you are a non-denominational Christian or belong to another group that does not require formal training. Many of these organizations, such as World Christianship Ministries and American Marriage Ministries, ordain Massachusetts residents. Some, like First Nation Ministry and Universal Life Church accept ordination requests from all people regardless of spiritual background.
Review the ministry's statement of faith before you apply for ordination. Some organizations have specific purposes for ordination while others are very broad. Make sure you and the ministry accurately reflect each other's spiritual position.
Fill out the application for ordination in Massachusetts. You can usually do this on the ministry's website, though some require a phone call or a fax. If the ministry charges a flat or recurring fee, pay the necessary fee to receive the documents you want.
Store the documents you receive from the ministry in a safe place. These are your proof of ordination. Show them to anyone who requests them to prove you are a minister capable of performing rites in Massachusetts.
Each county in Massachusetts sets its own ministerial regulations. Check with the county clerk before performing weddings or other legal services to ensure you comply with local laws.
Ordination does not automatically make you tax-exempt, even if you use your ministry in a business or religious setting. Consult a qualified CPA or other tax professional before claiming tax-exempt status.
- ring ceremony image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com