Are You Called to Public Leadership in the Church?

As Lutheran Christians we believe that all the baptized are called to serve God in the church and the world. God blesses each of us with gifts and calls us to serve in a wonderful variety of ways.

Some of the baptized sense that God is calling them to a vocation of public leadership in the church. If you want to explore such a calling, or have sensed a nudging to explore the possibility, we are here to walk with you. First, please contact Peg Ihinger to schedule a conversation.

We also invite you to explore the ELCA resources on vocational discernment.

Candidacy Timeline

Entrance begins a journey of discernment to explore an individual’s potential for rostered ministry and readiness to start the process of theological study and candidacy in the ELCA.
Endorsement encourages and affirms those who clearly demonstrate gifts and qualities for a specific form of ministry in the ELCA, as well as identifies areas for growth and development.
Supervised internship facilitates the integration of academic study and theological education with the practice of ministry. This learning experience provides candidates with the opportunity to give attention to contextualization, reflection, integration, and evaluation. The internship year must be scheduled through an ELCA seminary in consultation with the Candidacy Committee.
Approval is a time in the journey when the candidate articulates the call to ministry and demonstrates readiness to assume a leadership role as a rostered minister in the ELCA.
Assignment is a churchwide process for approved candidates in which they are assigned to a synod based on ministry needs. They are then available for a Letter of Call for service in the ELCA.

The above timeline reflects the experience of someone called to Word & Sacrament ministry.

Starting the Process

Meet with your pastor to express interest in becoming a pastor or rostered leader. Clarify your intentions, ask questions, and determine how your congregation can offer support.
Call Peg Ihinger at the Minneapolis Area Synod to arrange a conversation about becoming a candidate: 612-230-3308. The conversation will take about an hour. You may also contact her via email at with any other questions.
Applicants are encouraged to begin exploring the eight ELCA seminaries as early as possible. The admissions process occurs concurrent with Entrance process, and students must receive a positive Entrance decision prior to being fully admitted to an ELCA seminary. (Those interested in attending a different ATS accredited seminary, please contact Peg Ihinger.)

Candidacy in the ELCA

The ELCA candidacy process includes three basic steps: Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval. It is important to begin the Entrance process between 6 and 12 months before the date you hope to begin theological study. Additional information and access to online forms and a helpful infographic are available.

Many questions may arise in this process. Varying life situations require counsel and flexibility. Therefore, we are eager to talk with you as you begin this journey of discernment and vocational formation. Contact Peg Ihinger.

Candidacy Committee Members:

  • Deacon Sandy Aslaksen, Chair

  • Mr. Adam Krueger, Vice Chair
  • Bishop Ann Svennungsen
  • Sr. Krista Anderson, ELCA Region 3
  • Rev. John Hulden, Assistant to the Bishop
  • Ms. Anne Boone

  • Rev. Paul Galchutt
  • Rev. Angela Khabeb

  • Mr. Paul Mikelson
  • Deacon Lauren Morse-Wendt

  • Ms. Linda Ojeda

  • Rev. Erik Strand

  • Ms. Leann Thompson
  • Rev. Dr. Beverly Wallace

  • Mr. Paul Wogen