Persons interested in serving as diaconal ministers who have not completed the necessary academic requirement of the bachelor's degree may in some cases be considered for candidacy. This exception is reserved for those persons who for reason of age and prior experience may find it not appropriate to complete a bachelor's degree. Such persons may apply for consideration upon evaluation of gifts for ministry, the needs of the church, and the demonstrated abilities of the individual. Age alone is not an acceptable criterion for consideration under this provision.
The ELCIC National Office will evaluate all requests for consideration under this provision. Following evaluation a recommendation will be made to the appropriate CTEL for an alternative course of study and/or the granting of equivalencies. Evaluations will be based upon experience in non-degree studies and in demonstrated work performance comparable to that expected of a person holding a bachelor's degree. A candidate granted equivalency to academic credentials will not have credentials with which to study at the seminary and will need to complete their theological education at the bachelor level through an accredited college.
The basic theological education requirement may not be met by equivalency. The basic requirement is one course each in Old Testament, New Testament, Lutheran and/or Canadian Church History, Lutheran Confessions and Christian Ethics.
The following is an outline of the procedure to be followed by those wishing consideration under this provision.
- Applicant completes all requirements for registration.
- Applicant submits a written request and rationale for consideration under this provision. Based on this request and all materials submitted, CTEL will determine whether the applicant should proceed under this provision.
Upon determination of appropriateness for consideration, CTEL shall request a review and recommendation by the national committee for leadership. This request should be forwarded to the staff person for Leadership and include all of the following material:
- a copy of the application for registration;
- a copy of the written request and rationale for consideration;
- a detailed listing of the applicant's work experience, including relevant volunteer experience;
- a detailed listing of all education completed including related continuing education. All available transcripts should be included;
- a current position description if in the employment of a church or church-related institution;
- three letters of recommendation from persons well acquainted with the candidate's background and work. Letters of recommendation should include more than character references, and should include knowledge and illustration of the person's demonstrated ability. References should include one's pastor, a congregational leader familiar with the applicant's demonstrated leadership ability and gifts for ministry, and a person with competence and knowledge consistent with the candidate's area of specialization.
- The staff person shall forward the recommendation and documentation to CTEL.
Having received the evaluation and recommendation of the national committee for leadership, the final decision regarding equivalency or alternative study rests with the appropriate CTEL. Following a decision regarding equivalency or alternative study eligibility, CTELs shall proceed with endorsement, oversee the designated course of study and appropriate supervised field education, and provide at least one annual endorsement before the final evaluation and approval of the candidate for consecration.