architectural detail from Bockman Hall on Luther Seminary campus

Approval and Assignment

For ELCA candidates

Approval, the third step in the candidacy process, typically occurs following successful completion of internship or field experience. Each student interviews with a team of seminary faculty which results in a recommendation to your candidacy committee. The candidacy committee then makes the final decision about approval toward consecration, commissioning, or ordination.  Students often need to travel for the approval interview with the synod.  The Approval Essay on topics shared by the ELCA annually is a core part of these interviews. 

"Such discernment is the culmination of an extensive process... now reaches a point of mutual affirmation and celebration of readiness for service as a rostered leader"  (Candidacy Manual 2016, p. 56)

After approval, you may choose to move into the assignment process.

Assignment occurs post-approval and when the candidate is ready to seek a first call in the ELCA. You, along with the seminary and your candidacy committee, must complete a series of forms in preparation for assignment to one of the 9 regions of the ELCA. Regional Assignment is followed shortly by a synodical assignment to one of the ELCA's 65 synods.

Forms for Approval and Assignment

Internship completion policy

Recommendation for Approval prior to the Completion of Internship

At times, it is necessary and important to consider action by the Luther Seminary faculty prior to the completion of internship, in order to facilitate synod approval and ELCA assignment in a timely manner for first call.  Interns will receive detailed instructions regarding steps to enter the approval process between 3-6 months after internship begins.

The three possible scenarios for approval prior to the completion of internship are:

1)    In the case of concurrent/part-time internships, the above expectation is modified in the following way.  When the first twelve months of the concurrent/part-time internship have been completed, a student may be considered by the faculty in the succeeding semester (the 1st semester of the 2nd year of internship). Prior to a vote in a faculty meeting, summary statements from the final internship evaluations must be submitted by the supervising pastor, the lay internship committee, and the intern. If faculty recommendation for approval is given, it will be contingent upon satisfactory completion of the internship.

 2)   Where any of the following circumstances apply, students may request approval prior to the completion of internship in writing to the Contextual Learning office:

  1. a)    a culminating internship,          
  2. b)    affiliated and have completed their “Lutheran year” prior to internship, or        
  3. c)    seniors needing to complete only one semester and a January term after internship.

3)    For a 2-year full-time “residency” internship, the first twelve months will meet the seminary and church requirement for internship. A resident intern may be considered by the faculty upon completion of the first twelve months of the residency and the submission of final internship evaluations from the supervisor, the lay internship committee and the resident intern. Final approval can be given to the student while the residency internship continues.

Faculty consideration for those students whose request for approval recommendation prior to the start of internship is granted will not occur until all three summary statements from the final evaluations have been submitted by the supervising pastor, the internship committee, and the intern; at least eight months of the internship have been completed; and all mid-point evaluations have been submitted and reviewed. If the request is granted, please note that: the faculty recommendation for approval will be contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the internship.