Candidacy Leadership Development

Candidacy Leadership Development

Candidacy Leadership Development

In March 2022 the Candidacy Leadership Development Working Group (CLDWG) convened. This group gathers diverse leaders from across the ELCA. Team members were selected to represent the great variety of stakeholders in the formation of rostered ministers. A richly diverse group was selected: with only 12 people, this team comprises ministers of both rosters, seminary leaders, bishops, Church Council members, non-rostered members, and candidacy experts, and represents a variety of demographic variations.

At the initial meeting, the team discerned its purpose, values, and vision. We also identified initial projects to evaluate the candidacy process and experience from all stakeholders. The timeline below documents key actions taken by the team.

All stakeholders in the ELCA’s candidacy process are invited to online hearings to receive the initial report of the team sharing the results of the initial listening session to describe what rostered ministers need to do, know, and be. An executive summary of the listening sessions can be found here.

Hearings will be held:

  • June 20 - 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT
  • June 22 - 1pm ET/12pm CT/11am MT/10am PT
  • June 26 - 2pm ET/1pm CT/12pm MT/11am PT
  • June 28 - 10pm ET/9pm CT/8pm MT/7pm PT

         Join a hearing on Zoom


Candidacy Resources

Email comments about candidacy process to:

Reference Documents:

Looking to Apply for Candidacy? Click here.

The Purpose of this Team

Recognizing that candidacy is a process of accompaniment and ongoing discernment that forms and prepares rostered ministers for public leadership, the candidacy leadership development working group will adapt the candidacy process of the ELCA to serve the needs of the current and future church.

To guide our work and the future of the candidacy process, we have discerned these values:

  1. For the sake of the gospel through a Lutheran lens for the sake of the world.
  2. Openness and humility (within the boundaries of #1).
  3. Relationships.
  4. Mutual accountability.

Our Vision

Our vision is to recommend a process for candidacy that forms and supports rostered leaders for the current and future church.



  • Spring/Summer/Fall 2022


    • Listening sessions made available
    • Concluded unified application process as not doable (shared best practices unintended and positive outcome)
    • Curated best practices from ecumenical partners
    • Better defined how to utilize coaching in candidacy
    • Executed survey to excluded populations


  • November 2022


    • Second in-person meeting
    • Reviewed initial feedback from the ELCA-wide listening sessions
    • Drafted initial report that was shared with Church Council
    • Began to discern what various pathways to rostered ministry might become
    • Noted the characteristics desired for rostered leadership are not strikingly different from current defined characteristics
    • Further study needed to discern process and outcome pain points


  • Winter 2023


    • Continued study of challenges and opportunities in current process
    • Tested multiple pathways to rostered leadership with increased authority and responsibility
    • Identified synod authorized ministers/parish lay ministers as a category of study
    • Finalized and analyzed survey to excluded populations


  • February 2023


    • Third in-person meeting
    • Reviewed and documented governing documents that guide candidacy in order to identify a timeline for recommended changes
    • Reviewed challenges and opportunities from listening sessions
    • Heard report from excluded populations survey
    • Shared updates with Conference of Bishops and Church Council CCL Committee
    • Identified ongoing work
      • Identify and clarify core competencies
      • Create lay minister recommendations in conjunction with synod authorized minister guidelines
      • Recommend new, streamlined learning pathways
      • Reimagine internship and contextual education


  • June 2023


    • Hold four listening sessions to share summary reports
    • Sessions available to all ELCA members



Working Group Roster

Team members were selected to create the diversity (of age, roster status, institutional representation, geographic representation, formation process, ethnicity and gender identity) we intend to build into the candidacy process.

Name Representing State
Bishop Susan Candea, chair Conference of Bishops (CoB), CoB Leadership Committee, Central States Synod Mo.
Rev. Dr. Phil Hirsch Churchwide Organization (CWO) Staff: Executive for Christian Community and Leadership (CCL) Ill.
Rev. Sara Cutter CWO Staff: Senior Director Operational Effectiveness for CCL N.C.
Deacon Krista Anderson CWO Staff: Candidacy Leadership Manager, Region 3; Minister of Word and Service Minn.
Rev. Cherlyne Beck CWO Staff: Director, Candidacy Leadership Managers, and Region 6 Manager Ill.
Rev. Irma Banales DEM, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Texas
Bishop Christopher deForest Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Church Council Pa.
Rev Dr. Terri Elton Professor of Leadership at Luther Seminary, Seminary Representative Minn.
Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin President, United Lutheran Seminary, Seminary Representative Pa.
Rev. Tim Feiertag Pastor, Trinity Lutheran in Everett, Wash. Wash.
Mr. David Lenz Church Council Member Ohio
Rev. Jacqui Pagel Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy, Grand Canyon Synod Ariz.