Res. 5-14A  - Task Force

Study Alternate Routes to Pastoral Ministry


In January 2012, Synod President Matthew Harrison established the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Task Force to provide a thorough evaluation of the SMP Program. The recommendations and report of that task force were included in the 2013 Convention Workbook (pp. 403-452). Based on that report, this resolution recommended to the convention that a study be conducted of the non-Master of Divinity routes to the Pastoral Office.

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The purpose of the task force is to study the following non-Master of Divinity routes to the Pastoral office:

  1. Alternate route — certification program for laymen and male ministers of religion—commissioned.
  2. Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) — distanced-based, specialized program of theological education for those involved in a ministry site.
  3. Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT) — specialized online education program of theological education and formation for pastoral leadership within immigrant-based churches.
  4. Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) — Seminary level pastoral and deaconess formation in the Spanish language through short-term intensive courses.
  5. Deaf Institute of Theology (DIT) — Alternate route to ordination for deaf and hard-of hearing LCMS members.
  6. Ethnic/Multi-Cultural Pastor Certification Program — Available through Concordia University Irvine for a Master of Arts degree for those seeking to working ethnic specific or cross-cultural specific contexts.
  7. Approval by Synod’s Colloquy Committee of licensed lay ministers having more than 10 years’ experience in preaching and sacrament ministry.

Report Due: The task force’s recommendations and report regarding the “appropriateness of each route” is due by the end of 2015.

Meeting Schedule: The first task force meeting was held March 4-5, 2014, in St. Louis. They will meet again in St. Louis in October 2014 and October 2015. The task force also meets regularly by teleconference between formal meetings.

For more information, please contact Rev. Bart Day at or 1-800-248-1930.

Related Story

Res. 5-14A Status Updates RSS Feed
Status Update - 6/2/15

During the June 2 conference call meeting, task force members continued their work to draft a report of their recommendations to the Synod, due December 2015. They will continue to complete their report at their next face-to-face meeting, Aug. 27-28.

Status Update - 3/30/15

Task force members met by conference call March 30 to discuss the first draft of the report to the Synod, due December 2015. Task Force members indicated that all present routes by which the church raises up pastors are needed to serve the variety of people/groups in need of the Gospel. To that end, the task force is working on recommendations to strengthen all of the current routes and thereby strengthen the ministerium of the Synod. Members of the task force were given assignments to refine various portions of the report. Members are also coordinating with the task force on Licensed Lay Deacons (2013 Resolution 4-06A).

Status Update - 1/13/2015

A conference call was held Jan. 13, 2015, to continue the work of the task force. Members reviewed the outline (developed in October) of issues to address, and related tasks and assignments were agreed upon for shared work of task force members. The next meeting is planned for the end of March 2015 by conference call.

Status Update - 10/20/2014

Rev. Herb. Mueller, LCMS first vice-president, chaired the task force in a meeting held in St. Louis, Oct. 20, 2014. After lengthy discussion, the task force created an outline of important points for the task force to address. Items to be addressed at future meetings are the strengths and weakness of the current multiple routes to ordination; an examination of the meaning of the call and ordination, including the relationship of ordination requirements and academic requirements; development of a means to ensure seminaries coordinate and collaborate; discussion of possible common core competencies for programs; and a review of continuing education requirements and the SMP Program. Task Force members recognized the need to coordinate efforts with other task forces addressing related issues.

Status Update - 8/15/2014

At the first meeting, the task force members clarified and defined their task and conducted conversations with program directors of various alternate-route programs. The task force established a timeline to complete its work and plans to finalize its report in October 2015 with submission of their report to the Synod President on or about Dec. 1, 2015. Over the next several months, task force members will use a problem-solving model to identify, analyze and compare possible recommendations regarding the non-Master of Divinity routes to the Pastoral Office in the LCMS.

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