- a graduate school that prepares leaders to equip congregations and other communities of faith to do God's work in the world together.

What is a seminary?

A Seminary is a graduate theological educational institution where students are introduced to a deep study of Scripture, tradition, Lutheran Confessions and the rich history of this church while encouraging humility of service and confidence in God’s power to reconcile and renew communities.

Students examine the complexities and questions of life, communities and the world so they can better communicate God’s living Word in contexts that are always changing. Most importantly, students and leaders are called to be teachers in word and action, inviting and equipping people to participate in listening to God, each other, and to the world so that together we can love and serve our neighbor with a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.

Who goes to seminary?

Seminary students are people who are:


People who are “called” have experienced an urging to serve others in Jesus’ name.


Seminarians are willing and committed to the process of leadership formation.


Seminarians are curious and dedicated. They study to deepen their knowledge of faith, the Bible, church, and society.

The Steps to Seminary


Perhaps it is something you hear directly.

Perhaps it is others speaking to you.

God is calling you:

  • listen with your head
  • listen with your heart
  • listen to your whole being


Seek conversation with friends, with your pastor or deacon, with your family.

Immerse yourself in the rich stories in scripture; seek the varied ways that God has called God’s servants before you. Pray.


Explore the various ways in which to serve in public ministry. (resource?)

Explore the Seminaries of the ELCA.

Visit one, or two, or all seven of the Seminaries.

Explore the strengths of each ELCA Seminary. There is one that will fit well for you.


Apply for Candidacy through your home Synod, start this at least 12 to 18 months before you intend to start seminary.

Apply to one, two, or all seven Seminaries of the ELCA.


Go begin your seminary studies. Begin your walk through the Candidacy Process.

Continue this journey that God is calling you on.

Continue to ListenTalk, and Dig into this wondrous call.


Trust that God continues to move and speak.

Trust that God is indeed moving in your call to serve in public ministry.

ELCA Candidacy Process

The ELCA is committed to identify and support you, to whom God has given the gift of missional imagination and the ability to provide leadership in the church.


Candidacy is a formalized, yet personally and relationally focused journey to help you discern your call to become a pastor or deacon in the church.

To begin the candidacy process you contact your synod. A synod staff person will ask you to complete the Candidacy Application Form, where you express your intent to enter candidacy.


Discernment is about being open, curious and attuned to what God is up to. Prior to entering candidacy, you have a sense that God is calling you, with your unique gifts and abilities, to serve as a pastor or deacon in the story of God’s love for the world.



Typically takes place before you begin your seminary studies, this is the first formal discernment by you and your Candidacy Committee of your readiness for candidacy.



The second major point of discernment in the candidacy process, candidacy partners recognize and affirm your demonstration of appropriate gifts and characteristics for a particular roster.



A significant milestone in your lifelong journey of discernment, you, your Candidacy Committee and your seminary discern your readiness to serve as a rostered minister.



The ELCA calls and sends you as a rostered minister to where you are needed in the life of the church and its participation in God’s mission in the world, whether it be to a familiar or unfamiliar place.

Find your place.

Explore all SEVEN seminaries of the ELCA.