How does a Person Become a Reverend?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The steps to becoming a reverend depend much on the sect of Christianity to which one wishes to belong. Many sects of Christianity use the title reverend, suggesting reverence, for their preachers. This includes Catholic and Greek and Eastern Orthodox priests. One is used to hearing them referred to as “Father,” but their official title for purpose of address is “Reverend.”

The road to becoming a reverend is denomination-specific.
The road to becoming a reverend is denomination-specific.

Most becoming a reverend will attend divinity school or a seminary and study religion from a Christian perspective. This perspective can be different depending upon the sect. For example, Catholics study from a bible that includes the “Apocrypha,” several books not belonging to the King James Bible. Other sects of Christianity may also examine the “Apocrypha” but feel it does not contain the same sacred value of those books contained in the King James Version.

Many people attend divinity school or a seminary in order to become a reverend.
Many people attend divinity school or a seminary in order to become a reverend.

In all Protestant denominations, a reverend can be married. In many, either a man or woman can become a reverend. Like Catholic priests, most Protestant denominations ordain ministers. They may also be subject to background checks and psychological examinations prior to becoming a reverend. This is also the case of Anglican denominations. Most who wish to become a reverend must submit to checks by the church to ensure the safety of the parishioners.

A reverend might perform wedding ceremonies.
A reverend might perform wedding ceremonies.

Some churches require a four-year college degree, and then post-graduate study in theology before granting one the title of reverend. Others require merely study with the leader of a church. Not every Christian sect has a paid reverend position. For example the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Saints, also called the Mormon Church, does not pay a minister, but instead a person from the religion leads church meetings, and oversees the operations of the local ward or branch of the church. The Bishop, as he is called, usually maintains an occupation outside of the church. Most Bishops have significant theological training, however, and have participated in intensive bible study, and at least one two-year mission, although this is not required.

A reverend may lead her congregation in teachings of the Old Testament.
A reverend may lead her congregation in teachings of the Old Testament.

In the Jehovah’s Witness religion, anyone baptized is essentially a minister. The ministers at church services can be both men and women. Women do quite a bit of preaching, but tend to be less involved in administrative work, and answers directly to the elders of the church.

Studying different translations of the Bible can help someone become a reverend.
Studying different translations of the Bible can help someone become a reverend.

The quickest way to become a reverend is to sign up on the Internet for a license. This can legally give one the right to perform marriages. It requires little to no education, and some people do it simply as a joke, or to perform the marriage ceremony for a friend. It is certainly no guarantee of holding a job in any church, unless one starts a congregation.

Some people who are not specifically of any religion become a reverend if they are good speakers and would like to perform marriage ceremonies for a living. Most Christian sects, however make significant distinction between a person who has been educated and ordained as a reverend, and someone who has simply spent a few minutes filling out forms to gain the title.

Learning different prayers is one of the first steps in becoming a reverend.
Learning different prayers is one of the first steps in becoming a reverend.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I want to be a Reverend of Satanism. Why is this just about xtianity?


The title "Reverend" is used only one time in the Bible and it's in reference to God Almighty.

I find the term "reverend" used by man very offensive as does God, I'm sure.


Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They filled out the paper work, paid a fee, and instantly became licensed blabbermouths.


''Some examples: Allah, Jesus, and Hitler.'' Do you mean the Muhammad? I thought Allah is translated as god. Come on man, get it together.


Al Sharpton was given that phone title when he was 9 or ten years old by an equally undeserving con artist.


Al Sharpton became a Reverend because he recognized at an early age that most of "the revered" were wealthy and held in high esteem without having given much effort besides talking and claiming they were a chosen voice of a higher power.

He discovered at a very young age, that basically, as long as you convince other people you know something they don't, they will give a lot of money and defend you to the death.

Some examples: Allah, Jesus, and Hitler.


Some of the first ministers were apostles of Jesus. What exact "degrees" did they have is what I would like to know? According to the United States Constitution, we still have freedom of religion, so unlike "millwrights," we can be Christians without any formal training!


Our pastors have earned the honorific, Reverend, by completing a four year college program followed by an advanced degree in theology. They have passed ordination exams to do so.

To claim this honor without completing the proper course of study is offensive. This is true of any title that is conferred after completion of appropriate course like being an educator. Don't use the titles unless you have the appropriate letters after your name.

Just because I can swing a hammer with the best of them, doesn't entitle me to call myself a millwright! Thanks for letting me air my pet peeve.


One cannot become a "reverend" anymore than one can become an "honorable" or a "sir".

"Reverend" is an honorific for a pastor, minister or priest. It is also always preceded by "the" -- The Rev. John Doe.


Rev. Al Sharpton became a reverend as a child. How is this possible? Does anyone know?

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