Every candidate in the ELCA is a candidate for the whole church. Candidates are considered for service in the ELCA according to churchwide expectations, requirements and standards, and by means of common processes and procedures. While specific application of churchwide policy may vary among the synods, a consistent candidacy process is provided throughout the ELCA. These churchwide standards and procedures are developed by the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit in consultation with the synods and seminaries of the ELCA.
Candidates approved by a synod candidacy committee are recognized and available for a first call to one of the four rosters of public ministry in the ELCA. Assignment for the first calls to ordained or rostered lay ministry is determined on a churchwide basis. It is the clear expectation of this church that candidates are willing to serve in response to the need of this church. There is a commitment to respond with understanding and compassion to the unique circumstances of individual candidates and their families. At the same time restrictions which limit a candidate’s ability to serve may delay or prevent the receipt of a call to service in the ELCA. Candidates are expected to make every effort to be able to respond to the leadership needs of this church.
The synods of the ELCA, through a candidacy committee, act on behalf of the ELCA in the candidacy process. Candidacy committees are responsible for determining the readiness of persons to enter the candidacy process and to begin theological education, for endorsing candidates for a specific roster of this church, and in the approval process for determining an individual’s qualifications and readiness to serve in rostered ministry.
The Congregational and Synodical Mission unit, through its central and deployed staff, provides counsel to the synods regarding implementation of the churchwide process and upon request may review the decision of a candidacy committee to determine whether the process was followed in an appropriate manner.
Interdependence within the ELCA means that there is a sharing of responsibility in the candidacy process. Each partner in the candidacy process participates in cooperation with the other partners. Candidates, congregations, synod candidacy committees, seminaries, the Conference of Bishops, and the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit all work together to provide for the ELCA those gifted men and women who are called by God to serve in the rostered ministries of this church.
For further information about the Candidacy Process, or for an application packet, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the synod office at 507-280-9457.