Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Directory   Search  

Adobe Acrobat Reader

A free plug in for your browser is required to read .pdf files.
If you do not already have this plug in, you can obtain it from Adobe.
Home » Its Your Call » Steps to Ordination Send to a friend     print

Registration for Candidacy

A Summary of the Steps to Ordination or Consecration in the ELCIC

Prior to candidacy for rostered ministry, an individual, often with the assistance of a pastor, congregation, mentor or others and through prayer, discussion and reflection, discerns a personal call to explore the potential for service in the rostered ministries of the church.

The following steps describe the process set out by the ELCIC for preparation and formation leading to approval for ordained or consecrated ministry in the church.

  1. contact with the Synod Office to obtain a Registration Packet;
  2. submission of the completed Registration Packet to the synod Committee for Theological Education, including application, autobiographical essay, congregational recommendation and other letters of recommendation;
  3. completion of a Structured Interview;
  4. Psychological and Career Evaluation;
  5. endorsement for candidacy for a specific roster (ordained or lay diaconal) by CTEL;
  6. assignment of a CTEL relator to the candidate and initiation of regular contact and communication;
  7. application to seminary, acceptance and enrollment in a course of study leading to certification for ministry;
  8. annual Developmental Interview and Annual Endorsement by CTEL;
  9. completion of Supervised Pastoral Education and submission of final evaluation to CTEL;
  10. completion of Internship (ordained track) or Supervised Field Experience (diaconal track) and submission of final evaluation to CTEL;
  11. completion of Academic Requirements (diaconal track);
  12. completion of Formation Event (diaconal track);
  13. recommendation by CTEL to Examining Committee for examination interview;
  14. completion of Senior Dossier including written examination;
  15. examination interview and recommendation for call and ordination or consecration by the Examining Committee;
  16. approval by the Synod Council effective for one year, renewable no more than two times; and
  17. ordination or consecration by synod bishop upon receipt and acceptance of a call.


Registration is the first indication of a person's intention to prepare for a church occupation and the first official action of CTEL. It is a process which identifies an individual's intention and potential for rostered ministry in the ELCIC. Individuals begin the candidacy process by establishing contact with a synod CTEL. The synod may provide the individual with resources such as Do I Belong in Seminary? and other opportunities for discernment. Completion of the registration phase, including application, recommendations and interviews, leads to a decision on whether or not to endorse the candidate for preparation for ministry. Key components leading to endorsement are discernment and readiness.

Discernment and Readiness

The process of discernment is time for an individual to explore ministry as a baptized child of God and to reflect on the potential for service in public ministry as a lay diaconal minister or pastor. This process provides a means of engaging in the important work of assessing one's own gifts for mission and ministry. Conversations with pastors, rostered lay diaconal ministers, spiritual guides and other trusted persons are encouraged during an extended time of discernment prior to beginning the candidacy process.

This time of discernment may result in a clear sense of call for some individuals. For others the call to public ministry may be still uncertain and undefined. Such seekers shall not be discouraged from continuing in the process, but rather encouraged to engage in further discernment. For some who show clear potential for rostered ministry, the next logical step is to begin theological study while continuing in a process of discernment. Others may benefit from spending additional time exploring the various options in rostered ministry. At the time of Registration, a potential candidate need not have made a final decision regarding which form of rostered ministry to pursue. Registration determines ecclesial readiness to begin study and preparation for one of this church's rostered ministries as a pastor or lay diaconal minister.

For those considering a role of leadership in this church, the Registration process provides an opportunity to assess readiness to engage in a disciplined program of preparation and formation. The primary characteristics of readiness include faith in Jesus Christ, vocational focus, and a basic understanding of the nature of ministry. An individual should possess intellectual ability for critical and reflective thinking and a healthy self-awareness. A basic acquaintance with the Scriptures and the catechism are assumed as part of a minimum two-year active membership in an ELCIC congregation. It is also valuable to have a broad background in the liberal arts, including English, history, modern languages, philosophy, and the social sciences.

The welcome diversity among today's applicants makes it inevitable that there will be significant differences in academic readiness among applicants. Seminaries of the ELCIC may advise students of varying academic backgrounds how to come to an acceptable level of readiness within the program of studies.

Registration Components

Several steps must be completed for Registration with CTEL. An individual begins the candidacy process by establishing contact with a synod CTEL. The synod encourages and assists the individual in discernment. Information may be provided about retreats and discernment events. The applicant's file will reflect information about the following components:

  • use of discernment resources (for example, Do I Belong in Seminary?);
  • minimum two years active membership in an ELCIC congregation;
  • Application for Registration, including:
    • Application form
    • Autobiography
    • Statement of Pastor from Home Congregation
    • Recommendation from Congregational Council
    • Statement from Non-Relative
    • Statement from Physician
  • Child Abuse and Police Registry checks;
  • Psychological and Career Evaluation report;
  • Structured Interview; and
  • Initial Endorsement by synod CTEL.

Sample letters, application and registration forms are found in the Forms section of this manual.


In the autobiography the CTEL is interested to learn about the candidate's personal life story including significant life events and relationships. Particular attention should be given to factors that have led the candidate to consider a career in the church

Statement of Pastor from Home Congregation

The Letter of Call for ordained pastors includes the charge to seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel. The pastor's statement provides CTEL with an appraisal from one who is personally familiar with the candidate. The statement from the pastor assists the CTEL to evaluate the candidate's personal qualities for ministry.

Congregational Recommendation

Every candidate for rostered ministry in the ELCIC is expected to share in the life of a congregation through its Word and Sacrament ministry and the community of God's people. The congregation is an important partner in the candidacy process. A congregation is charged to identify potential leaders for the public ministries of this church. The congregational recommendation is a statement about the candidate's potential to serve in public ministry.

Statement from Non-Relative

Ministry requires strong interpersonal relational skills and other qualities that can be assessed through a variety of situations. The Non-Relative may be an employer, a campus pastor, a colleague, a neighbour or community member, or a friend.

Statement from a Physician

Ministry is a demanding vocation that requires personal reserves of health and well being. The statement from a physician will assist the CTEL to determine how a candidate might best be prepared for and serve in ordained or lay diaconal ministry.

Psychological and Career Evaluation

CTEL arranges a psychological and career evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to assist the committee in understanding the prospective candidate, and the candidate to develop better self-understanding, and to guide the candidate toward an occupation that makes the best use of the candidate's gifts, abilities and interests.

The clinician selected by CTEL administers tests and evaluation interviews in such areas as personality, interests, and intellectual ability. A written, signed summary is sent to the prospective candidate and, with her or his permission, to the synod CTEL. The clinician will discuss with the prospective candidate whether or not it is advisable to proceed without additional counselling or other assistance, in the clinician's opinion. This opinion will also be shared with CTEL. The clinician's report helps CTEL determine a candidate's probable suitability for rostered ministry.

Structured Interview

Each candidate meets with designated CTEL members or trained interviewers (recommend 2 persons) to discuss in a structured interview the individual's discernment of call, readiness for preparation, sense of vocation, personal involvement in the church, faith life experience and understanding of ministry. Preferably the interview is done before a candidate begins seminary. The Structured Interview Guide and Report Form are provided in the Forms section of this manual.

Rostered Candidates

Ordained or lay diaconal ministers already in good standing on a roster of the ELCIC who apply for candidacy on a different roster are normally not required to have a structured interview or psychological and career evaluation unless personal circumstances so indicate.

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada