Discernment starts with a profound commitment to Christ which is a response to the divine love that has been poured out in Baptism.
An internal call is growing decision to consider rostered ministry is It may come through scripture, through a particular experience with another leader, or a time of retreat and meditation.
An external call is a community call that accompanies a leader through formation, prayer, and experience, to confirm that internal call.
An incarnational call follows the completion of candidacy, inviting a leader into a specific relationship with a particular community of faith.
The Candidacy Process is the path of formation delineated by the ELCA. It includes fitness for rostered ministry, affirmation by others of leadership gifts, academic preparation, and practical education.
The Candidacy Committee guides people through the candidacy process in collaboration with Seminaries, Internship Sites, and others as they prepare for professional leadership in the church as pastors or deacons. The Committee
Engages in mutual discernment of the vocational call and the needs of the wider church through essays, interviews, transcript reviews, and other reports.
Provides modest, needs-based financial aid
Acts as a support system for candidates as they prepare for service according to their chosen roster of Word and Sacrament or Word and Service.
Holds an annual retreat for candidates to interact with the Committee and with their peers.
Manages the formal candidacy process through decisions for Entrance to Candidacy, Endorsement for Internship, and Approval for Ordination.
Receives the assurance at various points throughout the process that the candidates will live according to the church’s expectations for rostered leaders.
Theological Education for Emerging Ministries TEEM is a special preparation route for candidates who will study while serving in underserved, but mission-critical areas of the synod, or in ethnic communities where the ELCA does not have theologically trained leaders. The Synodical Bishop will designate whether a candidate is a TEEM Candidate. Candidates will apply to the ELCA seminary of their choice, following the requirements of that institution. If a candidate receives an MDiv from a non-ELCA seminary, they will be required to affiliate with and complete a Lutheran year in an ELCA seminary.