Becoming an LCMC Pastor 101
Becoming an LCMC Pastor 101
So…you’re interested in serving in a clergy role within LCMC? We appreciate your interest in finding out more about pastoral ministry in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). We thank the Lord for calling men and women to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. As you consider certification as a LCMC pastor, we pray that our gracious God will bless you with wisdom and discernment. We encourage your prayerful consideration of the Lord’s calling on your life and ministry.
First up, you should know that in LCMC we have intentionally chosen to live on the freedom side of the organizational continuum rather than the control side. Being “rostered” in LCMC means something different than in most mainline denominations. The process for calling a pastor or a pastor receiving a call is carried out entirely between the congregation and the candidates. No third party controls the process. We have chosen the path of freedom and open processes that are based more on trust than mistrust.
Before doing anything else, please take the time to read about who we are, what we believe, and review our pastoral admonition document.
There are a few different ways to serve as a pastor in LCMC, as outlined below. More detailed information on certification can be found in our Pastoral Certification in LCMC document.
Pastors may be “certified” for call when they have met the LCMC requirements for pastoral certification. Certified pastors will have earned an M.Div. degree from an accredited theological school or its equivalent demonstrated proficient understanding of Lutheran theology, history, and practice; successfully completed a certification interview; and subscribed to the LCMC Statement of Faith and Pastoral Admonition, including the characteristic practices of the sacraments in the Lutheran tradition. Certified pastors are available for call in any LCMC congregation. The LCMC Ministry Board oversees the certification process for LCMC pastors. Certain variances or equivalencies may be applied on an individual, per-case basis. Certified pastors are strongly encouraged to be engaged in continuing education in order to enrich pastoral ministry.
LCMC respects the freedom of each congregation to call pastors they discern are most appropriate for their ministry. If a congregation wishes to call a pastor who does not meet the full requirements for pastoral certification in LCMC, they may enter into a contract call arrangement with any person who will subscribe to the LCMC Statement of Faith and Pastoral Admonition, including the characteristic practices of the sacraments in the Lutheran tradition.
Contract call pastors may serve in the same capacity in their congregations as certified call pastors except that their call is limited to one particular congregation. Contract call pastors are not certified, do not appear on the LCMC list of pastors, and are not listed as “available for call” in other LCMC congregations.
In order that their service to the church of Christ be most fruitful, contract pastors are strongly encouraged to be in an ongoing mentoring relationship with another certified LCMC pastor and to receive basic training and continuing education for pastoral ministry. Many of our partnering educational institutions provide certificate programs specifically designed to aid contract call pastors in their ministry context. We gratefully celebrate this partnership in ministry to the congregations of LCMC and the Kingdom of God. Contract pastors are strongly encouraged to advance their education and consider working toward certification.
Seminarians interested in going directly into a chaplaincy ministry could be called and deployed as a chaplain by an LCMC congregation. LCMC as an association of congregations does not ordain, congregations do. Therefore, the student is called and ordained in a congregation, then deployed by that congregation to the chaplaincy role. This "deployed" relationship need have no financial or other obligation by the congregation except that the congregation consider the person to be doing ministry in partnership with them, and that the chaplain report to the congregation about the ministry in an agreed upon manner. Those pastors who already have been ordained and served in ministry can use this "called and deployed" arrangement if they are hired for a chaplaincy position. Those seeking endorsement for military chaplaincy should check the "LCMC Staff" page on the our website for the LCMC Military Endorser and contact that individual.
If you have any questions regarding pastoral certification in LCMC, please contact the Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry (See: Staff Page).
Once you have finished reviewing the above documents, it’s time to consider your education and training options and to ask any questions you might have about the seminary process and certification in LCMC.
For the sake of communication and collaboration, seminarians are encouraged to identify themselves on our list of seminarians by contacting the seminarian liaison on the Ministry Board. For more information, questions regarding the seminary process, any seminary requirements which require LCMC endorsement, or to add or update your status on the seminarian directory, contact the Ministry Board Liaison for Seminarians. You may contact the LCMC Military Endorser regarding military endorsement. (See: Ministry Board Page and Staff Page)
There are no “LCMC seminaries”, however we do offer a list of schools [link] with which we have a working relationship. Early in the seminary process, you should notify your seminary that you are in the LCMC candidacy process. Keep all records of your seminary, CPE, internship, or other education documentation and references for you personal presentation when interviewing for call with a congregation.
It is recommended to connect with the Ministry Board Liaison for Seminarians early in the process to ask any questions you may have. Approximately six (6) months prior to your graduation and ordination, contact the LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry to arrange your certification interview. (See: Ministry Board Page and Staff Page)
It is the responsibility of the congregations to raise seminarians for future ministry in the life of the church. LCMC seminarians are encouraged to seek mentorship and learning opportunities through other LCMC congregations and pastors. The most valuable support for seminarians comes from their congregations and districts. In addition to spiritual and practical support, districts may help students through seminary applications and necessary endorsement paperwork, mentorship and internship, and applying for first call. (See: District Directory)
For those seeking to be certified pastors in our association, LCMC requires a one year, full time internship or its equivalent. More details on internships in LCMC can be found here.
Once you have completed the requirements necessary for certification, it’s time to begin the certification process.
If you are currently a seminarian, contact the LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry to arrange your certification interview (see LCMC Staff) approximately six (6) months prior to your graduation and ordination.
Steps to become certified for ministry within LCMC:
- Familiarize yourself with the LCMC Statement of Faith (LCMC Constitution, Article 2), Ministry Standards, and LCMC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). You may also wish to familiarize yourself with the LCMC Retirement Plan and Benefits Programs.
- For retirement plan information, contact Tom Luing at firstname.lastname@example.org or (952) 746-1111.
- For Benefits contact Gayle McCann at email@example.com or (800) 497-3424.
- If you have questions that are not addressed, then you may contact the Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry.
- Contact LCMC's Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, Perry Fruhling (firstname.lastname@example.org), for initial conversation. He will electronically send the certification process form.
- The applying pastor will complete the Certification Form, attach a copy of their MDiv and ordination certificate, and electronically return the paperwork to the Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry.
- Upon receipt of the certification form, the Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry will arrange the certification interview geographically.
- An interview is conducted that gives both the candidate and the representatives of LCMC an opportunity to share their histories and values, as well as ask pertinent questions.
- Upon completion of the interview, the candidate will be recommended to the Ministry Board for acceptance, denial, or deferral.
- District coordinators also will receive the list of those recommended for acceptance.
- Notification of acceptance will be forwarded to the LCMC office.
- The LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry will send notification to the candidate of acceptance onto appropriate list, and name will be added to website.
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ recognizes the authority and responsibility of congregations of LCMC to call their pastors. Thorough background checks are the responsibility of the congregations or calling agencies. The process for calling a pastor or a pastor receiving a call is carried out entirely between the congregation and the candidates. No third party controls or assists the process. We have chosen the path of freedom and open processes that are based more on trust than mistrust.
LCMC maintains a list of pastors who are available for call, which can be found in our online directories. Upon approval by the LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, the candidate’s name will be added to this list. (If you are currently on LCMC’s list of pastors and would like to change your status to available for call, please complete the Information Update Form for Clergy.)
The best way to gain an understanding of how the call process typically works and what to expect along the way is to review our Call Packet. While navigating the call process, it may also be helpful to check out our Transitions in Pastoral Ministry document as a guide.
It is the responsibility of the pastors to seek opportunities to serve in ministry. The LCMC website allows its congregations to submit postings when they are seeking a new pastor. To view the current list of available positions, click here.
For a chance to network with congregations and other pastors in LCMC, also be sure to check out some of our national and regional events.
It is the responsibility of the pastor to contact the LCMC Staff with any updates to your LCMC directory profile. The best way to do that is to complete our Information Update Form for Clergy.
It is the responsibility of the congregation to ensure that its records are up-to-date, and the best way to notify our staff that the congregation has called a new pastor is to complete our Statistical Update Form for Congregations.