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Interested in Candidacy?

“Candidacy” is the process of preparation and formation leading to the ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament, the consecrated ministry of diaconal minister or deaconess, or the commissioned ministry of associate in ministry. If you have any questions about candidacy, please contact Susan Marone, AIM, Associate to the Bishop at 605/274-4022 or Crystal McCormick, Candidacy and Mobility Office Coordinator at 605/274-4024.


Introduction to Candidacy in the ELCA

Candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the churchwide process of preparation and formation leading to approval for the public ministries of this church: commissioned associate in ministry, consecrated deaconess or diaconal minister, or ordained pastor. Candidacy invites an active partnership of candidate, congregation, synod, seminary, and the Division for Ministry.  The South Dakota Synod and the Candidacy Committee will walk beside you during your journey through Candidacy.

How To Get Started:


There are three rosters in the ELCA:

  • Associate in Ministry (AIM)
    Associates in Ministry are called to provide leadership and support for the ministries of the whole people of God. Associates in Ministry serve on an officially recognized roster for lay ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Associates in Ministry work in partnership with laity, pastors, bishops, diaconal ministers, and deaconesses to serve the mission and ministry needs of this church as they carry out responsibilities in congregations, agencies, or institutions of or related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Through this service Associates in Ministry provide care and nurture of the people of God, equipping them in the Christian faith.Persons seeking commissioning as Associates in Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are expected to participate fully in all steps of the Candidacy Process: Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval. The candidate has a responsibility to fulfill all of the requirements and expectations of the Candidacy Committee.
  • Diaconal and Deaconess Ministry
    Diaconal Ministry is a form of rostered leadership ministry that helps enable the ELCA to effectively fulfill its mission of service in the world. Diaconal Ministers are called by this church to positions that exemplify the servant life and seek to equip and motivate others to live it. Diaconal ministers shall seek in a variety of ways to empower, equip, and support the baptized people of God in the ministry of Jesus Christ and the mission of God in the world.The Deaconess Community of the ELCA is an outgrowth of the revival of the New Testament diaconate that began in Germany during the 19th century. The movement came to America in that century and had an impact on many of the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies.“The Deaconess Community has been formed in order that skilled and committed women acting in community may complement the ministry of Word and Sacrament as well as the ministry of the whole people of God. This ministry is exercised within the context of the church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel, to relate the Gospel to human need in every situation, and to extend the ministry of the Gospel to all the world.”  (Bylaws of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA, 3.1)
  • Ordained Ministry
    Pastors are baptized persons whom the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) calls and ordains to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. On behalf of this church, pastors give leadership and vision to Christian communities of faith. Pastors are called to provide faithful preaching, teaching, and witness to the Scriptures and the doctrinal teaching of the ELCA. They work in close partnership with other rostered ministers, with lay leaders in congregations and synods, with synod and churchwide staff, and with ecumenical partners in common mission.In preparation for service, candidates for ordained ministry complete a Master of Divinity degree as well as a year of supervised internship and a unit of supervised clinical ministry. The M.Div. is normally completed at a seminary of the ELCA. A candidate for ordained ministry must be approved by a Candidacy Committee and is considered a candidate for service to this whole church. Exceptional persons who are identified for ministry in a specific context may complete theological education through Theological Education for Emerging Ministries.Persons seeking ordination as pastors in the ELCA are expected to participate fully in all steps of the Candidacy Process. The candidate has a responsibility to fulfill all the requirements and expectations of the Candidacy Process.

TEEM Candidates

Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) is a program by which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America responds to the missional needs of the church.  The program takes into consideration the leadership gifts, ministry skills, cultural learning styles/experiences and/or age of a candidate when establishing expectations and requirements for preparation as an ordained minister in this church.

If you are interested in the TEEM Process, please contact Susan Marone, AIM or Crystal McCormick in the synod office, visit the ELCA Candidacy website, or visit the TEEM website for more information.


Vision and Expectations

Vision and Expectations—Ordained Ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a document that informs candidates for ordained ministry, seminaries, congregations, and candidacy committees regarding the ELCA’s vision for ordained ministry and the high expectations it places on those who serve in this way.

Vision and Expectations (pdf)
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