"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger. " - Abbie Hoffman (As quoted in The New York Times (20 April 1989))

Want to be a preacher? Want to perform legally binding marriages and officiate over any sort of spiritual/religious function? Or do you just need proof of ordination that some uniform shops require in order to purchase nun's habits and clerical collar robes to use for your next scam?

Easy Clergy Ordination

Bear in mind, these things are not going to make it to where you automatically can apply to preach at a Baptist MegaChurch earning 100K a year. But, you may find some of this useful.

Unquestionably one of the best deals going is becoming a minister in the Universal Life Church. They will send you absolutely free, bona fide ordination papers. These entitle you to all sorts of discounts and tax exemptions (Just make certain you file all the proper paperwork first!). Go to http://www.ulc.net to sign up at their on-line church (or to http://www.ulc.org to go to their on-line monastery), and your ordination papers will come right out of your printer! They also sell lots of other stuff for your ministry, such as ID cards, clip-on badges, and a number of credentials and certificates.

If you go to the official website of their International Headquarters, http://ulchq.com/, they will actually mail you your ordination certificate for free! You know it's genuine; they have actual thick paper!

Other groups that offer free on-line ordination are the Church of Spiritual Humanism (://www.spiritualhumanism.org) and Universal Ministries ( http://www.universalministries.com ). Other ministry items are available from them.

The Discordian Church (a close friend to the Yippies) grants free Sainthood, Pope and Messiah status. Just print out cards found at http://www.poee.co.uk -- of course, most people don't respect the holy religion of Eris.

Ohr Somayach, Aish Hatorah, and Neve Yerushalim along with many other yeshivas and seminaries have been known to give free rides to Israel for both college age and above men and women. Once there almost all provide free dorm stay and food in exchange for attending a few classes a week. If you are not a Jew ask your respective mosque, church, temple or comet suicide cult if they have a similar program.

Ministers are also exempt from being drafted in many cases. If you can prove that you are part of an active ministry that relies on your work, more the better. If not, you'll probably be made Chaplin after your basic training.

Real Ministry

Becoming a real preacher is possible if you can stomach it and are willing to go through a years long process. You need good oratory skills, be able to read tons of religious texts, knowledge of common arguments and counters, good people skills, management and organizational skills, and salesmanship. A church is basically a Community Centers, so you may want to read that article as well.

First off, you are going to have to be a member in good standing for a length of time at a denomination of your choice. Try several churches of that denomination. Be sure to get in good with church leadership and volunteer as much as possible to happenings the organization is involved with. Once you have gained trust of the leadership and you at least appear to be a true believer, you can claim to be 'called' to service. Being 'called into service' is very important. Of course, if you have had issues like a divorce or a major criminal record, the leadership may question your calling or you may have to volunteer more or go to other churches. Many religions have as a selling point "forgiveness", so unless the crime was something like rape or child abuse, you will eventually get your recommendation.

With good recommendations in hand, begin attending schools staying involved in church activities to pad your application. Once you have the required degree or prerequisites, you then apply to a seminary college to get your Masters of Divinity. Good thing about this degree is even if you decide the religion industry is not for you, it is a valid masters degree with a decent crossover to other industries. You can be a high school principal, teacher, marriage counselor (with a few more certs), or even write Dungeons and Dragons books like Bruce Cordell.

After seminary, if you kept good with the church leadership, most likely you will be sent to a rural church with low attendance and money issues. Most of the good churches that pay spiritual leaders well with well-heeled wealthy followers will not have openings. Folks only die or retire from those positions (and do you blame them). After you have eeked out a poverty living at a minor church and either increased the membership there or kept the place from closing, you will be considered for a position in a better location when someone moves up or dies. If even the small, troubled churches are unavailable, the leadership may make you travel from church to church in a region to give speeches and give those pastors a day off (of course, out of your own pocket) till one of those comes open.

Once you get into a good church, it is all about keeping and recruiting membership, making sure you have services to keep folks coming, writing and giving sermons twice a week, the occasional visit to folks in a hospital, and keeping the rent and upkeep on the building in the black (just like running a club or restaurant). While only the really large, established ministries will make you rich, you will be set for life. Your only boss will be the occasional church hierarchy and whatever deity the organization worships. Of course, your career can be ended or severely crippled if you are caught doing something against what your sermons rail against. Make sure you are cool with what your cult/church/mosque frowns on and you will be alright.

If you are not able to get in a church, some larger hospitals employ clergy on a part time basis. The job is mind numbingly easy and it does not matter what denomination you are (although it helps if you are around the same as the facility's administrator). All you have to do is pray with those that request and ask troubled folks if they would like to speak to you. If not, you just marked you visited. Simple.

Of course, you could also set up your own cult/church/whatever. This is a really big fad amongst African American communities in particular with folks like T.D. Jakes and others. However, this requires a lot of marketing, dedication, and very hard work.