The Work of the Candidacy Committee


“The ELCA candidacy process is meant to be a welcoming and joyful opportunity for people to discern how to serve in and through the church.”

What is the Candidacy Committee?
We are a group of 17 members, lay and clergy, who are tasked with meeting with candidates and discerning together how God is calling each of them into ministry. Each volunteer is identified because they “bring gifts for welcoming, forming, evaluating, and building relationships with candidates.” The Candidacy Committee serves as one of the primary discernment partners for those prayerfully considering ordained ministry. Together with the candidate, home congregation, and seminary, we form a team that surrounds each person in prayer and mentorship. We seek to advocate for healthy leaders who are called by the Holy Spirit to serve in a variety of contexts and roles, utilizing unique gifts for ministry.

How do I become a candidate for ministry?
As you pray about how God may be calling you into new and exciting roles in ministry, take some time to invite others in your life to pray for you and with you as well. Seek out your pastor or deacon for conversation over coffee. Check in with your family. Ask a few leaders in your congregation about their thoughts. Send an email to to let us know of your interest. It might seem intimidating to have these conversations, but we are confident that God’s Holy Spirit works in and through all of those around you as you discern God’s calling. From meaningful volunteer roles in your congregation to service as a Parish Ministry Associate to professional ordained ministry, there are so many ways to serve!

Who do I contact to get started?
Contact the committee at We will pray for you, answer any questions you may have, and direct you to resources you may need. We host a free, annual retreat for those engaged with the candidacy process, and those who are discerning a call to ministry are welcome whether formally in the candidacy process or not. The retreat is a low-key way to meet members of the committee and current seminary students, as well as a great chance to discuss the plethora of educational paths, places, and paces available for theological training.