One of the primary ministries for which synods are responsible is candidacy. Candidacy is the process of raising up, walking with, and preparing those who want to serve in public leadership roles in the ELCA. Public leadership roles include pastors and deacons. These leaders are often referred to as “rostered” ministers in the ELCA. 

Synods do this work primarily through candidacy committees. The Southeastern Synod Candidacy Committee meets three times a year over a three day period. A candidate is first granted entrance, which means the committee recognizes potential for rostered ministry. Endorsement follows about halfway through the candidacy process and is the point when the candidate specifies, and the committee and seminary faculty validate, a specific roster category. Approval is the last official decision a candidacy committee makes, affirming the candidate’s readiness for rostered ministry. The candidate then goes through the ELCA’s assignment process and is “assigned” a particular synod from which their first call will come.

Steps (in sequence) to enter candidacy:

  1. Contact Synod Office for information & checklist/contact ELCA seminary of choice.
  2. Schedule and complete Initial Discernment interview through the Candidacy Committee (some paperwork required).
  3. Schedule and complete Entrance interview through the Candidacy Committee (paperwork, background check, & psychological testing required).
  4. Enter ELCA Seminary.  If entering a non-ELCA seminary, it is critical that candidates affiliate with an ELCA seminary as early as possible in the candidacy process.

To begin the candidacy process, speak with Assistant to the Bishop Pastor Jill Henning in the Southeastern Synod Office, 404-589-1977, ext. 222.

Meet the Southeastern Synod Candidacy Committee

Candidacy Meetings

Candidacy Committee Meeting Highlights

Upcoming Southeastern Synod Candidacy Committee Meetings:

  • April 20-21, 2023 (materials deadline is February 15th)
  • August 10-11, 2023 (materials deadline is July 1)
  • November 9-10, 2023 (materials deadline is September 15)
  • April 11-12, 2024 (materials deadline is February 16th)
  • August 8-09, 2024 (materials deadline is July 1)
  • November 14-15, 2024 (materials deadline is September 15)

Candidacy Resources

Learn more about candidacy in the ELCA.

ELCA Definitions and Guidelines (revised March 2020).

Form acknowledging understanding of ELCA's Definitions and Guidelines.

Review the ELCA Candidacy Manual.

Spiritual Direction in the Southeastern Synod

Questions?  Contact Assistant to the Bishop Pastor Jill Henning in the Southeastern Synod Office, 404-589-1977, ext. 222.