Martin Luther has taught us that every baptized Christian is a priest, not by consecration or ordination, but because Christ has so proclaimed and given birth to each in baptism. The daily work of your hands, be it accounting, child care, or whatever, is your sacrifice given up to God. You are, by your baptism, a part of a royal priesthood. This does not mean that any of us can preach, teach, or administer in an assembly of believers. Some are chosen from this great priesthood for specific work within the church. They are selected by God and by the church and are set apart for service in the church
(For more information, see Rostered Ministers of the ELCA.)
When it enters your mind that you should be a rostered minister in the church begin talking to your pastor and the other staff and leaders in your home congregation. Pray and ask others to pray for you. This begins the process of discernment of the authenticity of your call by God and the most appropriate form of ministry considering your gifts and talents.
(For more information, see Beginning the Candidacy Process)
You are never alone in your desire to serve in the church. You, your congregation, your synod, the seminary and the Domestic Mission Unit of the ELCA share responsibility as you begin your preparation. The Candidacy Committee of the Lower Susquehanna Synod, in consultation with you and your seminary, acts on behalf of the ELCA to supervise, nurture and evaluate your candidacy process.
(For more information, see Steps in the Candidacy Process)
If you attend a non-ELCA seminary you may be asked to fulfill a “Lutheran Year” requirement at an ELCA seminary. No matter what seminary you choose to attend, the seminary admissions process is separate from the synodical candidacy process and should be engaged in concurrently. However, final seminary admission to a degree program is contingent upon a positive entrance decision from the Candidacy Committee.
(For more information, see ELCA Seminaries)
Talk to all of the pastors and deacons that you can. Discuss your concerns with the synodical director for candidacy and your relator on the candidacy committee. Pray for direction and guidance.
(For more information, see Suggested Readings for Candidates.)