St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “Just as each of our bodies has several parts and each part has a separate function, so all of us, in union with Christ, form one body, and as parts of it we belong to each other. Our gifts differ according to the grace given us. If your gift is prophesy, then use it as your faith suggests; if administration, then use it for administration; if teaching, then use if for teaching. Let the preachers deliver sermons, the almsgivers give freely, the officials be diligent, and those who do works of mercy do them cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8)

Also, he writes, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives to everyone ability for particular service. The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person, for the good of all.” (I Cor. 12:4-7)

What do you wish? Do you want to be a servant? How do you want to serve? Whom do you wish to serve? And what will be your reward? What if you perish doing this? And what if you grow old? (Questions from Wilhelm Loehe)

These questions are central to the work of discernment every child of God struggles with when considering a vocation in the church. Candidacy in the ELCA is the churchwide process of preparation and formation leading to rostered ministry. It begins the creation of a pattern of lifelong learning, spiritual formation and leadership development.