Journey Together: A Competency Based TEEM Program

In response to the call of the Spirit and the needs of the church for faithful leaders to steward the Gospel of Jesus Christ particularly in underserved communities that worship in languages other than English, Wartburg Theological Seminary has created a Competency Based Education approach to the ELCA’s TEEM pathway to the ministry of Word and Sacrament.  The program – Journey Together – will free people to pursue the call to ministry placed upon them by the Holy Spirit.

Competency Based Education is similar to an apprenticeship model of education that values learning in context through the rhythm of praxis and reflection. Journey Together values learning in community, a value that is commensurate with the Wartburg way of embodying theological education. Formation takes place in three distinct learning communities: local parish, a mentor-mentee group, and with a personal assessment team. As language and culture play critical roles in the formation of head, heart, and hands for ministry, the program will be available fully in the candidate’s first language. Journey Together will launch with parallel tracks in English and Spanish.

En respuesta al llamado del Espíritu y a las necesidades de la iglesia para la mayordomía de los líderes fieles del Evangelio de Jesucristo, especialmente en comunidades marginadas que adoran en idiomas distintos al inglés, el Seminario Teológico de Wartburg ha creado una Educación Basada en Capacidades enfocada al TEEM de la IELA, un camino hacia el ministerio de la Palabra y el Sacramento.  El programa — Caminemos Juntos – inspira a las personas a seguir el llamado ministerial que les otorga el Espíritu Santo.

La Educación Basada en Capacidades es similar a un modelo de aprendizaje de la educación que valora el aprendizaje en contexto, a través del ritmo de la práctica y la reflexión. Caminemos Juntos valora el aprendizaje en comunidad, un valor que, a la manera de Wartburg se humaniza la educación teológica. La formación se lleva a cabo en tres comunidades de aprendizaje distintas: una parroquia local, un grupo estudiantes que hacen la reflexión teología con un mentor, y un equipo de evaluación personal. A medida que el lenguaje y la cultura desempeñan un papel crítico en la formación de la cabeza, el corazón y las manos para el ministerio, el programa estará disponible completamente en el primer idioma del candidato. Caminamos Juntos se inicia en inglés y español.

Learning Communities

There are three primary formative communities that accompany the student throughout their program: local parish (the congregational context where the learning takes place), assessment team (the faculty advisor, site supervisor and mentor), and mentor group (a small group of Journey Together peers facilitated by mentor).

Think Journey Together could be right for you?

Check out these stories from other students and graduates in our traditional TEEM program to see if Journey Together could be right for you!

Enedina Casarez Vasquez
TEEM Student
Lutheran Seminary Program SW

Philip Deng
TEEM Student
Wartburg Theological Seminary

Rev. Phouthaly Onelangsy
2019 TEEM Graduate
Wartburg Theological Seminary


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Identifying Partners

Student, congregation, ELCA synod, and Journey Together Program Director partner together during a candidate’s journey through the program. To get started, the synod and congregation OR student should identify themselves as a possible fit for Journey Together.

Conversations & Planning

Wartburg Admissions and Contextual Education staff, synod, student and/or congregation should connect with each other to discuss fit, potential, and questions about the Journey Together program.
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Begin Admissions Process

Email and the WTS Admissions team will be in touch with you soon to talk more about next steps in the admissions process and information to begin your online application.

Approval & Acceptance

If Journey Together has been discerned to be a good fit for all partners involved and the candidate is approved by the ELCA, student will be admitted to the program and the student will be ready to begin as a Journey Together student!

Studies Begin

Learn more about how the program begins, how it progresses, and the roles of the people accompanying the student on the Journey Together program by emailing


We are excited to have you in Journey Together, our Competency Based Education TEEM program – a program designed to provide you with theological education and to be in close partnership with the ELCA candidacy process through your synod. Journey Together candidates are people who have completed the Candidacy Application Process, received a positive Entrance Decision from their synod Candidacy Committee, have been recommended by their synod bishop, and have been accepted into the program by the ELCA Director of Candidacy. All steps of the Candidacy Process must be completed (Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval) by every candidate accepted into the Journey Together program.

Estamos muy contentos de tenerlo en Caminemos Juntos. Nuestro programa de TEEM de Educación Basada en Capacidades es un programa diseñado para proporcionarle educación teológica, y para estar en estrecha colaboración con el proceso de candidatura de la IELA, a través de su Sínodo. Los candidatos de Caminemos Juntos son personas que han completado el Proceso de Solicitud de Candidatura, recibieron una Decisión de Entrada positiva por parte de su Comité de Candidatura de su Sínodo, una recomendación por su obispo, y han sido aceptadas en el programa por el director de Candidatura de la IELA. Todos los pasos del Proceso de Candidatura deben ser completados (Entrada, Endoso y Aprobación) por cada candidato aceptado en el programa de Caminemos Juntos.


Curriculum for the Journey Together program flows through nine modules that together provide a wholistic map towards fulfilling the five competencies and the associated learning objectives.  The conclusion of each module is marked by a summative project that expects the integration of the student’s work in the module with their service in the local parish.  Each summative project tends to a different question, cleverly called the summative project question. The project, rooted in the student’s regular weekly rhythm of ministry in the parish (e.g., a sermon, parish education, worship, etc.), is the opportunity for the student to integrate the learning objects of the module in a single event (preparation, event, reflection).  The summative project will be designed by the student in conversation with their assessment team.  Students may choose to workshop their summative projects with their mentor groups.

Wartburg Seminary supports the ELCA’s requirements that students pursuing a call to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament complete a unit of CPE and a pastoral internship. Students have the option of doing a full unit of CPE at an accredited ACPE site or a unit of CPW with the clinical hours being done in their local context.  The preferred time for completing the required CPE/CPW unit is between the student’s successful completion of Module #1 and their completion of Module #6.

The student’s pastoral internship runs through most of the program.  The initial Competency Assessment Panel (CAP) will happen prior to the student starting the program.  At the completion of Module #2, the student, together with their Assessment Team, will complete their Learning Service Agreement (LSA), which sketches out formative needs and goals for the remainder of the program.  The mid-internship evaluations will be conducted when the student has completed Module #5, and the final internship evaluations completed after the student has completed Module #8.

Questions? We can help.

Students: for more information, contact or call 563-589-0274.

Synods and Congregations: for more information, contact or call 563-589-0220.

Any other questions: email