What Is A Call To Ministry?
As a part of the Body of Christ every individual is called to use his/her talents and
gifts as a minister of Christ. However, there are many ways to serve God. For
some the call to serve is in ordained ministry, for some in diaconal ministry and
for many others in a variety of different vocations and as volunteers within the
A call to either rostered ministry – ordained or diaconal – involves both a personal
conviction and a corporate confirmation. Probably the reason you are reading this
handbook is that you have a sense of personal conviction that God might be calling
you to rostered ministry.
ORDAINED MINISTRY DIACONAL MINISTRY
What is it? What is it?
Pastors are baptized persons whom the ELCIC A diaconal minister in the Evangelical
calls and ordains to the church’s ministry of Lutheran Church in Canada is a baptized
Word and Sacrament. On behalf of the church, person who is called by and publicly serves the
pastors give leadership and vision to Christian church with primary responsibility for witness-
communities of faith. Pastors are called to ing to the gospel through a ministry of service.
provide faithful preaching, teaching and Diaconal ministers are paid employees serving
witness to the Scriptures and the doctrinal under call to a congregation or agency.
teaching of the ELCIC. They work in Diaconal ministers carry out a public ministry
intentional partnership with bishops, other of service and witness. With demonstrated
pastors, lay diaconal ministers, lay leaders in competence and expertise in a particular
congregations and synods, synod and national discipline, diaconal ministers may serve both
staff, and ecumenical partners in common within and outside of congregational settings.
mission. Examples of areas of specialization in public
Called and accountable to this church, diaconal ministry are listed below:
ordained ministers also extend the ministry of Church musician,
Word and Sacrament beyond congregations Christian Education Director,
into specialized settings such as institutional Congregational outreach coordinator,
chaplaincy; colleges and seminaries; camps Youth worker,
and missionary fields; and synodical and Parish worker,
national offices. Parish nurse,
What are the prerequisites? What are the prerequisites?
Candidates for ministry in the ELCIC are Candidates for diaconal ministry in the ELCIC
expected to be a graduate of a recognized need to have demonstrated competence in at
college or university although both ELCIC least one area of specialization with a
seminaries have programs for individuals who minimum of a bachelor’s degree or a graduate
do not have a university degree. degree or a professional certificate appropriate
to the designated field of specialization. If the
Candidates for ministry in the ELCIC are required degree is in an unrelated field of study,
to have been an active member of an ELCIC significant work experience (minimum of three
Lutheran congregation for a minimum of two years) with leadership responsibilities
years. appropriate to the type of diaconal ministry
being sought is required.
Candidates for ministry in the ELCIC are
required to have been an active member of an
ELCIC Lutheran congregation for a minimum
of two years.
What are the requirements? What are the requirements?
Candidates for ministry in the ELCIC are The basic foundation coursework in
expected to earn a Master of Divinity, theological education shall include a minimum
Bachelor of Theology or Diploma in Theology of one year of studies at a minimum of a
at one of the seminaries of this church. The bachelor’s level (or 30 semester credit hours).
course of theological study is designed to At least one course must be completed in each
prepare a pastor to express and reflect on this of the following areas: Biblical Studies, Old
church’s understanding of the gospel and the Testament; Biblical Studies, New Testament;
ministry of the church as expressed in the Lutheran Theology and Confessional Writings;
historic Lutheran confessions. The programme Canadian and Lutheran Church History;
of study includes courses in biblical, Ethics.
systematic, historical and practical theology. Additional courses should include Practical
Students may be permitted to study at an Theology appropriate to the specialization. All
accredited theological school other than one of theological credits must be earned through
the ELCIC with the approval of their synod’s courses at an accredited college or seminary of
candidacy committee (CTEL/CCOM). A this church or through a course of study ap-
candidate who studies at another seminary is proved by the synod’s candidacy committee
required to complete a minimum one year (CTEL/CCOM) based on guidelines developed
residency at an ELCIC seminary for Lutheran by the Program Committee for Leadership for
formation. Ministry of the ELCIC.
All candidates for ordained ministry are Candidates are encouraged to consider a
expected to engage in spiritual formation Masters in Theological Studies offered at an
through regular worship, prayer and other ELCIC seminary.
spiritual disciplines. Candidates for diaconal ministry must
Candidates are required to complete one complete a required formational component in
quarter of supervised pastoral education in the preparation program for Lutheran diaconal
their degree and diploma programs. Such a ministry as defined by the ELCIC. Currently
course provides an opportunity to practice the this means the successful completion of a two-
art of pastoral care while converting week diaconal ministry formation event.
experience into learning. Candidates must also satisfactorily complete a
Candidates are also required to complete a one supervised field experience in their field of
year internship facilitates the integration of specialization designed in consultation with
academic study and theological education with and approved by the Candidacy Committee.
the practice of ministry. This field experience may include a 9-12
month full-time internship.
What about the church process? What about the church process?
Persons seeking ordination as pastors in the Persons seeking consecration as lay diaconal
ELCIC are expected to participate fully in all ministers in the ELCIC are expected to fully
steps of the candidacy process established by participate in all steps of the candidacy
the national church and administered by a process. The candidacy process is the shared
synod Candidacy Committee. The process responsibility of the candidate and the
consists of four phases described below. Candidacy Committee.
Registration involves initial contact by an Initial contact begins a process of discernment
individual with a synod bishop or candidacy which explores an individual’s potential for
committee, completion of the Registration rostered ministry and readiness to begin
application and forms including theological study and candidacy in the ELCIC
recommendations from a variety of sources, a The process includes registration, structured
structured interview and psychological testing interview and psychological and career
and career evaluation. evaluation through the synod CTEL/CCOM,
Initial Endorsement concludes the Registration and positive annual endorsement throughout
phase. Endorsement by the synod the candidacy.
CTEL/CCOM is required for ordination Final Evaluation combines a final evaluation
candidates before beginning theological report and recommendation by the
studies. CTEL/CCOM with self-evaluation by the
Annual Endorsement is required for candidate and reports from a variety of
continuation in studies and for internship. sources. A positive recommendation will bring
Reports of academic and contextual education the candidate to an Examination (Colloquy)
are required as well as successful completion consisting of a written examination and
of the annual Developmental Interview. interview by the synod Examining Committee.
Final Evaluation combines a final evaluation The Examining Committee may then
report and recommendation by the CTEL with recommend the candidate to Synod Council for
self-evaluation by the candidate and reports first call and consecration.
from a variety of sources. A positive
recommendation will bring the candidate to an
Examination (Colloquy) consisting of a written
examination and interview by the synod
Examining Committee. The Examining
Committee may then recommend the candidate
to Synod Council for first call and ordination.
Anything else? Anything else?
For more information you can refer to the
Candidacy Manual of the ELCIC, especially
the document “Standards for Diaconal
Ministry” which you can find on the ELCIC
website or contact your synod office.
Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod
201 3657 Roblin Blvd
Winnipeg, MB R3R 0E2