How to Get Ordained in California: Introducing the Christian Leaders Institute and Alliance Program

Introduction: Becoming an ordained minister in California can be an enriching and fulfilling journey for individuals seeking to serve their faith community and officiate sacred ceremonies.

Many people are asked to officiate at weddings. What is the California law?

Anyone ordained by a religious organization in California can perform aGet ordained in California through Christian Leaders Institute wedding ceremony. This includes “online-only” ordinations. Registering with any government office as a wedding officiant is unnecessary.

The only requirement is that the officiant completes the marriage license in the presence of the couple and any required witnesses. The officiant must also read the Declaration of Intent to the couple, which is a statement that they are entering into the marriage voluntarily.

The marriage license must be returned to the county recorder’s office within ten days of the ceremony.

This is not an online-only ordination! This program will take about 10 hours of study, and you will need one local endorsement that you are a Christian leader called to serve in this ministry. This process established your confidence, competency, and credibility. 

The Christian Leaders Institute and the Christian Leaders Alliance partner to help you get ordained online in California through a study program and local endorsement. You may sense the calling to study more and minister in more ways than being a wedding officiant.

In this article, we will explore the process of getting ordained in California, specifically focusing on the Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) and the Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA) partnering program, which offer a pathway to ordination and various ministerial roles. CLI and CLA can provide the necessary resources and support, whether you aspire to officiate weddings or engage in other ministerial duties.

The Christian Leaders Institute (CLI): The Christian Leaders Institute is an online educational institution that offers free ministry training and ordination programs. CLI provides accessible theological education to individuals from all walks of life, empowering them to deepen their understanding of Christianity and prepare for ministry roles. CLI offers various courses, including biblical studies, theology, church history, leadership, and pastoral care.

The Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA) Program: The Christian Leaders Alliance is an ordination program that works with the Christian Leaders Institute. CLA offers a formal recognition and authorization process for individuals who have completed CLI’s courses and training. Through CLA, individuals can become ordained ministers and gain legal authorization to perform weddings and other religious ceremonies in California.

To enroll in the program, follow these steps:

  1. Create a free study account with the Christian Leaders Institute and get familiar with the Study.christianleaders.org platform.  
  2. Enroll in the Christian Wedding Officiant Skills course and commence your training.
  3. After completing the Skills course, you will enroll in the Licensed Christian Wedding Officiant Recognition Class. This class recognizes your online training and completes your ordination into a local geographic endorsement-based ordination credential. You will be listed in the Christian Leaders Alliance Directory, and you may order your ordination credentials. You are eligible to register a local ministry at a Soul Center. 

Specific Requirements for Wedding Officiants: Specific requirements must be met to officiate weddings in California, whether through religious or secular ceremonies. While the state does not set mandatory criteria for ordination, most religious organizations and denominations have their own prerequisites. For those seeking ordination through CLI and CLA, the following steps are involved:

a. Education and Training: Enroll in the Christian Leaders Institute and complete the required courses and training modules to gain a solid foundation in ministry. CLI offers flexible online programs, allowing individuals to study independently.

b. Ordination Process: Individuals can apply for ordination through the Christian Leaders Alliance after completing the necessary education and training.

c. Marriage Officiant Authorization: Once ordained through CLA, individuals can apply for authorization as wedding officiant in California. This involves registering with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the ceremony will take place, providing proof of ordination, and paying any applicable fees.

Ministerial Roles with Christian Leaders Alliance: What minister roles do the Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance support?

  • Wedding Officiant. This is our introductory minister role. You learn how to confidently and completely lead a couple from a first meeting to their wedding day. This program takes about 10 hours of study. You must provide one recommendation.
  • Field Minister: This is for people with less time to study but a strong desire to do church work. The program offers free courses and mini-courses for lay ministers, church elders, and deacons.
  • Licensed Minister: This is for part-time ministers who want more training. The program includes 13 study credits and six mini-courses to improve your skills.
  • Coaching Minister: This is for people who want to use coaching methods in their ministry. This program has two free coaching courses. You’ll need to finish 15 credits and six mini-courses.
  • Licensed Ministry Chaplain: This is for volunteer chaplains in local places like fire departments or veteran groups. This program requires 18 credits and six mini-courses.
  • Ordained Minister: This is for people already doing ministry work or those who want complete training and credentials. This program includes 21 credits and seven mini-courses.

Conclusion: If you have a calling to ministry and aspire to become an ordained minister in California, the Christian Leaders Institute and Alliance programs offer a comprehensive pathway to achieve your goals. By enrolling in CLI and completing their courses, you can gain the theological knowledge and training necessary to serve effectively. Through ordination with CLA, you can become authorized to officiate weddings and explore various ministerial roles within the Christian Leaders Alliance. Embark on this transformative journey and make a meaningful impact within your faith community.

My name is Robert Saenz Sr. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 41 years. My wife’s name is Crystal, and we live in Indio, California.

I am now retired and have three wonderful adult sons, all United States military veterans. I have 13 beautiful grandchildren whom we adore and enjoy spending time with. What a joy it is to know that my grandchildren know Jesus and love to pray. I believe that ever since my encounter with Christ and accepting Him as my Savior, has given me a love for people. It has propelled me to hunger for more and go deeper in my walk with Christ. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of feeding and ministering to the homeless in the desert camps, praying for those coming and going to the courthouse, and volunteering as a chaplain in our local hospitals.

Becoming a licensed ministry chaplain will allow me to further my calling as a servant of Jesus Christ. It will enable me to officiate weddings, perform funerals, baptisms, and dedications, and provide spiritual guidance. Since achieving my Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, my desire is to become a licensed ministry chaplain.

I have been serving the Lord for over 25 years. I am extremely grateful to have received all my training for these courses at no cost to me, here at Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance. The professors, sessions, and class materials were all very informative and challenging.