Rostered ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has many paths for you to explore.

Rostered Positions

  • Minister of Word and Sacrament: Authorized to preach God’s Word, preside over Holy Communion and Baptism, conduct funerals and marriages.
    • Pastor: Traditional Master of Divinity program (typically three years of academic work and one year of internship)  Rostered and Ordained
    • TEEM Program: Seminary trained (typically three years while concurrently serving a congregation as a Synodically Authorized Minister) Rostered and Ordained with a certificate (not a Master of Divinity degree).  Assumes the title “Vicar” until ordained as a Pastor.
  • Minister of Word and Service: Authorized to preach and teach God’s Word and lead God’s people in service.  Do not have authority to preside over Sacraments.
    • Deacons: Seminary trained (two years) Rostered and Ordained as Word and Service.

Non-Rostered Synodical & Congregational Leadership

  • Synodically Authorized Minister (SAM): Lay Persons trained at the Synod level. Recommended by the Synod Bishop and appointed by the Synod Council to serve a specific congregation for a specified time.
  • Diakonia Program: Trained at the Synod level for intentional service in the local church and community.

Process Overview

Discernment

Discernment is an ongoing process which continues throughout candidacy. It involves not only listening to God’s call on your life, but also God’s call to you through others. This is the time to talk with your pastor, friends, family and other congregation members about your specific gifts for ministry.

Entrance

This phase of the process will explore your potential for rostered ministry and readiness to begin the process of seminary preparation and candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). You must have one year of active membership in an ELCA congregation to begin the entrance process.

Endorsement

Endorsement encourages and affirms those who clearly demonstrate gifts and qualities for a specific ELCA roster of ministry (Word and Sacrament / Word and Service) as well as identifies area for growth and development.

Approval

Approval occurs when a candidate articulates the call to ministry and demonstrates readiness to assume a leadership role as a rostered minister in the ELCA. A positive decision must be made in order to be available for assignment and the corresponding process of ordination or consecration.

Discernment

Discernment is an ongoing process which continues throughout candidacy. It involves not only listening to God’s call on your life, but also God’s call to you through others. This is the time to talk with your pastor, friends, family and other congregation members about your specific gifts for ministry.

This is also the time to think about the timeline for entering into the Candidacy Process. Attention to family readiness, finances, education preparedness, ability to accept a call to the whole church, spiritual gifts and areas of growth.

Our candidacy process consists of three main sections:

Entrance, Endorsement and Approval.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the flow of this process.

Entrance

This phase of the process will explore your potential for rostered ministry and readiness to begin the process of seminary preparation and candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). You must have one year of active membership in an ELCA congregation to begin the entrance process.

The Entrance Process Includes:

  • Candidacy Application and Entrance Essay
  • Initial Interview
  • Congregational Registration
  • $800 application fee to help cover…..
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Background Check
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Entrance Panel

Endorsement

Endorsement encourages and affirms those who clearly demonstrate gifts and qualities for a specific ELCA roster of ministry (Word and Sacrament / Word and Service) as well as identifies area for growth and development. 

Candidates at this stage will take part in an Endorsement Panel that will make a recommendation to the Northern Ohio Candidacy Committee for an Endorsement decision. Once endorsed, candidates will complete an approved ELCA internship that is supervised by an ELCA seminary. 

The Endorsement Process includes:

  • Endorsement Essay
  • CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Evaluations
  • Transcripts
  • Follow up on Entrance Panel recommendations
  • Endorsement Panel

Approval

Approval occurs when a candidate articulates the call to ministry and demonstrates readiness to assume a leadership role as a rostered minister in the ELCA. A positive decision must be made in order to be available for assignment and the corresponding process of ordination or consecration. 

The Approval Process includes:

  • Approval Essay
  • Internship Evaluations
  • ELCA Faculty Recommendation
  • Follow up on Entrance and Endorsement Panel recommendations

Interested in Exploring Further?

The place to begin is in prayer and scripture. How is God speaking to you and guiding you? Talk with your pastor and other leaders in your congregation.

Consider attending a discernment retreat offered by area synods. Details are available with other candidacy information at: 

Please contact Cheryl Sondergeld at the Northwestern Ohio Synod office to begin your candidacy journey.

Cheryl Sondergeld
Coordinator of Programs and Candidacy
621 Bright Road Findlay, OH 45840
Office: 419. 423. 3664
cheryl.sondergeld@nwos-elca.org

…I am your servant; give me discernment…

Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
It is time for you to act, Lord;
your law is being broken.
Because I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.

~Psalm 119:124-128

Need a quote from the Bishop

~Bishop Daniel Beaudoin