Pastor Journey

Goals

To understand the journey someone typically takes to become pastor, specifically in order to best develop the strategy and tactics to increase the number of future Lutheran pastors, by reaching and influencing more potential candidates

Early Findings


Pastors first typically earn a related bachelor’s degree, which can be in religious studies, religious education, or theology.

Following a degree, pastors must become ordained.

The ordination process typically requires a written and oral examination, as well as often requiring a set amount of time volunteering at the church or religious organization.

After the ordination, pastors will need to both gain additional experience, and typically complete additional graduate level coursework at a seminary.
The most common graduate degree for a pastor is the Master of Divinity (M.Div.), which lasts between 3 to 4 years, and is focused around religious practices, Bible study, congregational leadership practices.

For US based Lutheran pastors, there are two key seminaries that are typically attended, Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In addition to graduate level coursework, pastors typically need experience, and thus will begin as associate pastors, leading spiritual groups, conducting readings, and doing spiritual counseling alongside a pastor.
5 years experience is typically the minimum required before moving into a senior pastor role.
Finding an associate pastor role is usually via job posting or granted via a specific denominational governing organization, depending on the denomination.
Pastors typically receive ongoing education and career development through the church. Specific Lutheran organizations include the Preach the Word program, which is designed to support pastors in improving their preaching skills via collaboration with seminary professors and fellow preachers, and PALS (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support), a group for recent Lutheran seminary graduates to receive support in guidance.
The average cost to attend seminary for a pastor is $36,807.

Proposed next steps:

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