Most Christian traditions have a licensing process for their formal ministries. Many faith traditions also have processes for authorizing spiritual leadership.
Candidacy is the professional licensure process of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Other Christian traditions and many faith traditions have their own process. Check in with your denomination or faith tradition about their process.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) publishes a rich array of resources to advise and support potential and current LGBTQQIA+ candidates starting or continuing in the ELCA candidacy process. If you have questions, need advice, and/or require support, please do not hesitate to reach out to ELM staff; our PLTS ELM Seminary Advocate; and Student Affairs.
If you are called to be a licensed minister or spiritual leader, you will interact with a process in a variety of ways as part of your academic preparation and formation. These ways depend on the structuring of the process in the tradition in which you are seeking to be licensed or formally authorized.
Unlike processes in many other professions, the ELCA candidacy process, those of many Christian traditions, and those of many faith traditions interact with candidates at various points along the way in their academic program.
These interactions include several decision points. For the ELCA, these are Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval. These processes are designed to discern a candidate's call to licensed ministry and to evaluate a candidate's readiness for licensed ministry. This brief description of the ELCA candidacy process provides an overview of each decision point. This more detailed description of the ELCA candidacy process gives information about what is required for each decision point.
Most Christian traditions and faith traditions have a terminology for licensed ministry or authorized spiritual leadership. Licensed ministry in the ELCA is called rostered ministry.
If you are considering being rostered in the ELCA, contact your synod candidacy person early in the process, preferably about a year before you intend to begin seminary.
If you are considering ministry in another Christian tradition or spiritual leadership in faith tradition, be in contact with the adjudicatory body of your tradition early and often prior to beginning seminary.
If you are unsure about becoming a candidate for ministry or spiritual leadership, you are encouraged to be in contact with your synod or adjudicatory body anyway. You can always begin the process and discern later that this is not for you. It is more complicated to begin this process later in your seminary program.
For ELCA candidacy, the hope is for you to be Entranced into this process around the same time as you are applying to seminary.
For the processes of other Christian traditions or faith traditions, the hope is that you will have completed initial entrance into their process around the same time as you are applying to seminary.
If you are in the process of being entranced into ELCA candidacy or the licensure process of another Christian tradition or faith tradition, and this may not be completed until after the start of your program, please be in conversation with Student Affairs.
If you are seeking licensure, entrance into a process later than the December 1 of your first year of program may cause delays in completing your program in the regularly scheduled timeframe.
If you have or will be entranced, please have your synod or adjudicatory body send a copy of their decision to PLTS, attention Office of Student Affairs.
Seminary support of your candidacy process includes endorsement interview scheduling, faculty recommendation for approval interview scheduling, and assignment representation.