Interested in Candidacy?
“Candidacy” is the process of preparation and formation leading to the ordained Ministry of Word and Sacrament or the commissioned Ministry of Word and Service. If you have any questions about candidacy, please contact Rev. Renee Splichal Larson, Associate to the Bishop at 605-274-4022 or Crystal McCormick, Candidacy and Mobility Office Coordinator at 605-274-4024.
Introduction to Candidacy in the ELCA
Candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the churchwide process of preparation and formation leading to approval for the public ministries of this church: commissioned deacon, or ordained pastor. Candidacy invites an active partnership of candidate, congregation, synod, seminary, and the Division for Ministry. The South Dakota Synod and the Candidacy Committee will walk beside you during your journey through Candidacy.
The ELCA recognizes the emergence of a renewed emphasis upon God’s mission in the world in the 21st century. Christians enter into partnership with God’s work in the world through baptism into the body of Christ. Every faith community is part of a mission field that requires a common understanding that every congregation is a mission center in which rostered ministers are called to equip through Word, Sacrament and service every baptized Christian to be an ambassador for God’s mission in the world.
How To Get Started:
- Let your pastor know that you are feeling called to ministry in the ELCA.
- Contact Rev. Renee Splichal Larson or Crystal McCormick in the synod office.
- Entrance Panel Information (pdf)
There are two rosters in the ELCA:
Ministers of Word and Sacrament
A minister of Word and Sacrament of this church shall be a person whose commitment to Christ, soundness in the faith, aptness to preach and celebrate the sacraments, teach, and witness, and educational qualifications have been examined and approved in the manner prescribed in the documents of this church; who has been properly called and ordained; who accepts and adheres to the Confession of Faith of this church; who is diligent and faithful in the exercise of the ministry; and whose life and conduct are above reproach. A minister of Word and Sacrament shall comply with this church’s Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions (ELCA Constitution 7.22)
Ministers of Word and Service
Ministers of Word and Service provide a ministry exemplifying the life of Christ-like service to all persons and creation: nurturing, healing, leading, advocating dignity and justice, and equipping the whole people of God for their life of witness and service within and beyond the congregation for the sake of God’s mission in the world. A minister of Word and Service shall comply with this church’s Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions.
In preparation to serve as an ELCA Deacon, a candidate is required to engage in a comprehensive program of preparation, which includes theological education, training in an area of specialization, formation for ministry, and contextual education. While a minimum of one area of specialization is expected, a candidate may be called to serve in a position with a broad position description.
Kairos Track with Sioux Falls Seminary and Luther House of Study
The primary function of the Master of Divinity program is developing Christian leaders for word and sacrament ministry. The course of study prepares persons for pastoral leadership and ordination and consists of a core of Bible, theology, and ministry courses. Students develop personal resources as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to become public proclaimers.
The Master of Divinity-Lutheran track is part of the Kairos Project, an alternative educational track that facilitates flexible learning through contextually integrated educational moments and adaptable assignments. It is specifically designed for individuals who are actively engaged in ministry.
Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) is a program by which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America responds to the missional needs of the church. The program takes into consideration the leadership gifts, ministry skills, cultural learning styles/experiences and/or age of a candidate when establishing expectations and requirements for preparation as an ordained minister in this church.
If you are interested in the TEEM Process, please contact Rev. Renee Splichal Larson or Crystal McCormick in the synod office, visit the ELCA Candidacy website, or visit the TEEM website for more information.
Summary of Candidacy in the ELCA
As the Christian Church participates in God’s mission in the world, there is a renewed awareness that God is making all things new. As both the Church and its contexts for ministry change, so do the leadership needs of the Church. New categories of leadership are already emerging and will likely continue to emerge for the foreseeable future.
The ELCA candidacy process is meant to be a welcoming and joyful opportunity for people to discern how to serve in and through the church. It is a formalized, yet personally and relationally focused, journey that assists people in discernment for church leadership. Discernment is a life-long process which continually assesses how God may be calling a person into ministry. It is a means for determining who might serve as a rostered leader, as well as who might serve in a variety of lay leadership roles in the church or in the world. The candidacy process is successful when a person graciously discovers, through the nurturance of mentors, congregations, and others how and where to serve according to the Spirit’s leading.