Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ministries

Formation for vocation is comprehensive, involving the whole Christian life. As such, vocation and formation becomes a broad umbrella encompassing many synod and related ministries. People of all ages, walks of life and backgrounds are called to God’s work in the world.

  • Campus Ministry: a crucial ministry in both context and timing, because students identities are taking shape for adulthood.
  • Candidacy to prepare leaders for public ministries. As the quality of its leaders directly impacts the health, vitality and faithfulness of the church, candidacy as a ministry of leadership formation is significant.
  • Child Youth and Family Ministry: effective formation begins early in life, especially in the crucible of family relationships and other settings where young people gather.
  • Christian Education: Lutheran Association of Christian Educators (LACE) aims to connect educators and help provide resources and educational opportunities.
  • Continuing Education Opportunities: Faith and Wisdom offers a clearinghouse of lifelong learning programs and events for people of faith. For pastors and congregations considering a sabbatical experience, Wheat Ridge Ministries offers a an online Ministry Sabbatical Resource Center. There is also information about sabbatical resources from the Lilly Endowment's Clergy Renewal Project.
  • Deaconess Community: a roster of theologically trained, professionally prepared women, called to ministry and service in the ELCA
  • Diakonia: a long-standing program of adult discipleship education and formation that links mind and heart with practices of faith.
  • Discernment: What would God have us do in life and work in this world? Prayerful attention to God’s will for us is a basic spiritual discipline for all the baptized, not just those considering public ministry. Discernment is for individuals as well as communities, and focuses on vocation and mission. Invite the Assistant to the Bishop for Formation to share perspectives and tools.
  • Educational and Experiential Events are periodically sponsored by the synod, congregations and various agencies to build up the body of Christ for work in the world. Contact the Assistant to the Bishop for Formation about a number of topics to strengthen God’s people for mission and ministry. He also maintains a list of other resource persons who can lead events for synod members. Call 212-870-2374 for further information.
  • First Call Theological Education: formation for ordained ministry does not stop with seminary graduation and ordination. The synod offers new leaders continuing education for the first three years of ordained vocational life, focusing on an Institute for Congregational Ministry event for several days each January.
  • Fund for Leaders and financial aid for those in candidacy. Formation for public ministry is costly and labor-intensive. Please give generously to the ELCA Fund for Leaders program.
  • Healthy Leaders and Wellness Promotion: formation of leaders includes attention to the whole of life: our spiritual, intellectual, social, interpersonal, emotional, physical, financial and vocational well-being.
  • Leadership Development and Recruitment: identifying and nurturing potential new leaders is a top priority for our church. Faithful, effective leaders—lay and ordained—are key to the vitality of the church in mission. The Assistant to the Bishop for Formation can provide guidance for identifying people who have leadership potential.
  • Lutheran Schools Association: Lutheran schools and congregational early childhood learning centers contribute much to the intentional formation of disciples and good citizens.
  • Ministerium Meetings: synod pastors meet periodically for continuing education, inspiration, and discussions on matters of concern. These collegial gatherings contribute to their ongoing formation. The bishop and Assistant to the Bishop for Formation regularly schedule and plan these meetings.
  • Ministry with Young Adults: Here are three resources for communities inviting and welcoming young adults (18-30 year olds) into ministry together:
  • Project Connect hopes to find and nurture possible candidates for public ministries while students are in high school or college. However, their retreats and resources also welcome young adults who are just trying to discern what God wants them to do with their lives.
  • Spiritual Direction: the occasion for individuals and members of groups to attend more deeply to the presence of God in their lives as the Spirit continues to form them for the work God has called them to do. The Assistant to the Bishop for Formation can provide:
    • short-term spiritual guidance to those in public ministry in the synod; call 212-870-2374 for confidential consultations on faith and vocational discernment.
    • names of spiritual directors, for synod members seeking spiritual direction.
    • leadership for group spiritual guidance, and/or training in leading spiritual guidance groups.
  • Synod Office Chapel: Synod office staff members and visitors gather daily for prayer as the Spirit continues to form us through the means of grace. The chapel is also available for individuals or groups to use.
  • Synodical Deacons: The synod is well served by locally trained and consecrated deacons who carry out ministries of Word and Service in the synod.
  • Synodical Retreats: These are times set apart for refreshment, inspiration, prayer, creative visioning and planning for various synod leaders such as deans, synod staff, candidates for rostered ministries, pastors, and synod council members. Contact the Assistant to the Bishop for Formation for help with planning or leading these retreats.
  • Thinkministry.org: Developed by the ELCA's Youth Ministry Network, this site provides resources for high school students or college students thinking about ministry with children, youth and families (CYF). There are also resources for leaders who are helping young people discern a call into CYF ministry.
  • Trexler Grants: Limited funds are available to help pastors embark on study trips to enhance mission and ministry. Contact Jonathan Linman, Assistant to the Bishop for Formation
Faith Resources
 

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