ELCA Candidacy
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ELCA Candidacy Forms


Pastor Amy Current,
Dean for Vocation, along with your academic advisor, will walk with you on this candidacy journey from entrance through assignment toward first call.

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The ELCA Candidacy Process

Throughout candidacy you can expect:

  • A commitment from your synod, seminary, and the ELCA to both nurture and challenge your call and gifts for ministry while keeping in mind the missional needs of the ELCA. 

Throughout candidacy you will experience:

  • paperwork, pondering, prayer, support, dialogue, challenge, transformation, grace with
  • advocates, mentors, partners in ministry, colleagues - who are a combination of  
  • ordained, consecrated, commissioned, lay people, seminary faculty, and synod staff.  

How is God Calling You?

There are a whole variety of vocations to which God calls us and if we are called to a vocation of ministry there are multiple expressions of leadership. Check out: Become a Leader begin imagining how God is calling you to use your gifts.

ELCA Candidacy

"Candidacy is the name of a process. This process raises up, prepares, certifies and places public leaders in the ELCA. Public ministers include commissioned Associates in Ministry, consecrated Diaconal Ministers and Deaconesses, and ordained Pastors.

Candidacy is an offering! Because of God's love for the world, we notice the world around us and the needs of our neighbors. The world's needs call out our gifts in service to our neighbor - and then we figure out how we need to be equipped to live out that service. This is the vocation of all the baptized as we live out our callings in the world.

For some, the world's needs call them to consider professional service under call in the church. Candidates for public ministry make themselves available to discernment that considers both the call that wells up within them, as well as the call that is affirmed by others in the church, in a process of professional leadership development we call candidacy in the ELCA.

Candidacy is a partnered process. Candidates, their family and friends; congregations, along with campus and outdoor ministries that nurture and develop faith; synods and their candidacy committees; seminaries and their faculties and staff; and staff from the churchwide organization, all play important roles in the candidacy process."

The ELCA has four distinct rostered ministries:

  • Commissioned associates in ministry of Word and service
  • Consecrated diaconal ministers of Word, witness, and service
  • Consecrated deaconesses of Word and service
  • Ordained ministers of Word and sacrament (pastors)

If you are called to rostered ministry, the Candidacy journey unfolds in these steps:

Entrance (typically occurs prior to first year of seminary study

  • The first opportunity to partner with your congregation and synod as you explore your call to ministry. You will complete a candidacy application, background check, psychological evaluation, autobiographical essay, and engage in an entrance interview with your candidacy committee. Entrance can be completed alongside application to seminary.

Endorsement (typically occurs in the year prior to internship)

  • This is your second opportunity to partner with your synod and seminary faculty advisor to explore your call to ministry and the integration of your seminary study after a first leg of your journey. Typically, the members of your candidacy committee travel to the seminary for this interview. You will complete an essay and share in an interview.

Approval (occurs in the year prior to assignment)

  • This is your third opportunity to partner with your seminary faculty and your synod through interviews related to the Approval Essay (topics shared annually the summer prior to approval). You can expect and interview with seminary faculty, which results in recommendation to your candidacy committee. The candidacy committee will then interview you, typically you will travel for this, and they will provide a decision about approval toward consecration, commissioning, or ordination.

Assignment (occurs post approval and when the candidate is ready to seek their first call in the ELCA)

  • After approval, you may choose to move into the assignment process. This requires a series of forms completed by you, your seminary, and your candidacy committee in order for the ELCA to consider you for assignment in one of the 9 Regions of the ELCA. Regional Assignment is followed shortly by a synodical assignment in one of the 65 synods of the ELCA.

Contact Us:
The Admissions staff will assist you through the admission process upon your request. 

Wartburg Theological Seminary
333 Wartburg Place
P.O. Box 5004
Dubuque, IA 52004-5004  

800-225-5987 or 563-589-0203 

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