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The process of candidacy is established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. If you feel God is calling you to rostered leadership in the church and are exploring the possibility of seeking candidacy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the initial steps you should follow to start the process are listed below:


As potential candidates move through the Discernment process within our Synod, many candidates are often interested in further information concerning potential Arizona and/or Nevada based first call and/or career assignments and the availability of staying in their ‘home’ state upon completion of their program of study. Please be aware that the probability of remaining in the Grand Canyon Synod or within your community of choice upon graduation is unlikely.

During the Application/Entrancing process, you might recall the question about being open to assignment within the greater or whole church. This question is asked because most new graduates relocate from their home synod to accept their first call assignment. While we realize this effects spousal/partner employment as well as dependent children’s education, it is a reality in terms of receiving a paid full-time call within the ELCA. We encourage all potential/current students to consider carefully if they (and their families) are truly open to relocation, not only for internship assignments, but also for first call and other assignments. An exception to this reality is the program leading to ordination called Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM). TEEM candidates are not self-identified, but are identified within an emerging, primarily ethnic community to which the Grand Canyon Synod Bishop has identified as a needed place for mission development.

Please note also, that the Lay School for Diakonia™ courses does not lead to the office/assignment of Lay Diaconal Minister.  This is a separate program and does not involve seminary candidacy or being ‘called’ into a Word and Service role upon completion of this course curriculum.

ELCA Scholarships

We encourage all pre-candidacy individuals to work diligently to design their economic decisions to include the opportunity for ELCA and other scholarship monies so that they will remain as debt free as possible by the end of their academic preparation and in readiness for their First Call to an assignment.

Beginning in 2018, all of the Fund for Leaders’ full-tuition scholarships will be awarded through a Direct Scholarship program. Any qualified candidate is invited to apply directly online for these scholarships at

Note that all eligible candidates must have an offer of admission and be planning to enroll full-time as a first-year student at one of the ELCA’s seven seminaries in the fall of 2018. In addition, candidates must be Entranced or in good standing with their synodical candidacy committee in a process leading to rostering as a pastor or deacon in the ELCA.

Application must be completed online by Feb. 16, when the application process will close. Secondly, all applicants (including those who have been Entranced) will be asked to send their Synods of candidacy a verification form so that Fund for Leaders can verify that these are students who are known to their synods and in the candidacy process.

Additional details about Fund for Leaders scholarships and the application process can be found at

One additional note on an upcoming process:  Please be aware that the Fund for Leaders scholarships for 2018 will be working this year with a new online program called ELCA GrantMaker for this process, which will ask Synods to nominate students who will then be asked by FFL to fill out an online form.

Candidacy Initial Steps

1. Talk with your pastor about your interest. Include in that conversation whether your home congregation has the financial capacity to support your academic preparation through the seminary that you chose as you move into the formal academic preparation.

2. Visit the Candidacy page on the ELCA website and read the selections entitled Called by God and The Candidacy Process in the ELCA. Review Appendix A - Guidelines for Discernment in the Candidacy Manual 2016 and identify questions or concerns this section may raise for you.

3. Contact Dr. Teri Traaen, Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy or 602.957.3223. Request an initial appointment by phone to review your thoughts after reading the Guidelines for Discernment.  Prepare for that telephone appointment by preparing a list of initial questions you might have about the candidacy process.

4. Continue to have dialogue with your pastor and leaders in your congregation about your interest in candidacy. You should also read the document Vision and Expectations for Ordained Ministers and Word & Service Roster (Associates in Ministry, Deaconesses and Diaconal Ministers).

5. Locate the Application for Entrance to Candidacy form on the ELCA's web site. While visiting this portion of the ELCA site, scroll to the top of the page and note the link to "Candidate Checklists." You will find this information helpful.

6. When your Application for Entrance to Candidacy, Entrance Information form, Entrance Essay and application fee (see below) are received in the Synod office, you will be sent further information entitled "Next Steps". This information will enable you to complete the following requirements for the Candidacy Pre-entrancing process:

  • Schedule and complete an initial on site interview with Dr. Traaen at the Grand Canyon Synod office (either in person or by SKYPE)..

  • Be scheduled with the ELCA-certified, licensed psychologist who will administer the Career Counseling and Psychological Testing process. You will be required to complete these assessment tests in person at the Phoenix location for this licensed practitioner.

  • Work with a third party administrator to complete the reference checking and background check details for your candidacy process.

  • In addition, work with your home congregation pastor and staff to complete the required registration form. Your congregation will have an opportunity to indicate the level of financial support they may be able to provide as you fulfill the education requirements for rostered leadership in the ELCA.

When the above steps have been completed you will be assigned a Mentor/Coach Pastor who will work with you for a period of 12 months during your Year of Discernment.  This 12 month period must be completed prior to your being entranced into the role of an ELCA student Candidate.  Completion of the required Entrance Essay and scheduling of a formal Entrance Interview with the Grand Canyon Synod Candidacy Committee follows the successful completion of the 12 month/Year of Discernment.  The assignment of a Mentor/Coach Pastor is completed through the Office of the Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod.  The Mentor//Coach Pastor will not be your home congregation ordained clergy member.

Candidacy Application Fee Including Psychological Evaluation

  • $1325.00 Full Fee

    • 250.00 Synod "In Kind" Scholarship

    • $1,075.00 Total due from Candidate at the time an application is submitted to the Grand Canyon Synod

    • $100.00 Background Investigation (entire cost paid by the Grand Canyon Synod)

Pursuing a seminary education necessitates resilience and ambition, as well as a strong commitment to providing for the required debt load/expenses to complete the final seminary degree. "Let's Talk About Debt" is an article recently published by the ELCA Research and Evaluation Unit that may be of help to you during your discernment and planning process to assist you and your family in planning for the required costs of this graduate academic effort.

7. While you are in the process of working through these initial steps, you may also explore seeking admission to seminary. The ELCA has eight seminaries; click here for more information.

8. It is important to remember that candidacy is a process and involves developing a relationship with the Candidacy Committee. Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy, Dr. Teri Traaen is available to help you through what may initially seem to be an involved and confusing process. Do not hesitate to make use of her knowledge and experience! Stay in touch with her when you have questions and as you move through the process.

God be with you as you begin and complete the various steps in this process. We welcome you to the Candidacy process for the ELCA.



El proceso de candidatura está establecido por la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en América (IELA, ELCA en inglés). Si usted siente que Dios lo llama para formar parte del grupo de líderes reconocidos oficialmente por la iglesia, y está contemplando la posibilidad de ser candidato en la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en America, los primeros pasos que usted debe seguir para iniciar el proceso se enumeran a continuación:

1. Hable con su pastor sobre su interés. En dicha conversación, hable también sobre las posibilidades económicas de su congregación para apoyar su preparación académica en el seminario que usted elija para su preparación académica formal. 

2. Visite la página de candidatura en la página web de la IELA (ELCA) y lea la sección titulada Called by God / Llamado por Dios y el Proceso de Candidatura de la ELCA. Revise el Appendix A / Apéndice A - Guía para el Discernimiento en el Manual de Candidatura 2016, e identifique preguntas o inquietudes que surjan al estar leyéndolo.

3. Comuníquese con la Dra. Teri Traaen, Asistente del Obispo para Candidatura, teléfono 602.957.3223. Haga una cita inicial por teléfono para aclarar cualquier duda que tenga después de haber leído la Guía para el Discernimiento. Prepárese para esa cita telefónica hacienda anticipadamente una lista de preguntas iniciales que usted tenga sobre el proceso de candidature.

4. Continúe dialogando con su pastor y con los líderes de su congregación sobre su interés en candidatura. También debe leer el documento Vision and Expectations for Ordained Pastors and Word & Service Roster (Associates in Ministry, Deaconesses and Diaconal Ministers) - Visión y Expectativas para Pastores Ordenados (Asociados en el Ministerio, Diaconisas y Ministerios Diaconales).

5. En el sitio web de la ILEA (ELCA), localice la forma Solicitud de Admisión a Candidatura / Application for Entrance to Candidacy. Al estar en esta sección del sitio de la ELCA, vaya a la parte superior de la página y observe el enlace “Candidate Checklists,” donde encontrará útil información sobre puntos que debe usted tomar muy en cuenta, y cumplir debidamente con lo que se le pide.

6. Una vez que su Solicitud de Admisión a Candidatura / Application for Entrance to Candidacy, el formulario de Información para Admisión / Entrance Information form, el Ensayo de Admisión / Entrance Essay (el nuevo disponible desde el 1o. de Mayo, 2015) y la cuota por la solicitud (véase abajo) son recibidos en la Oficina del Sínodo, se le enviará información adicional con el título "Pasos Siguientes" / “Next Steps.” Esta información le permitirá completar los siguientes requisitos del proceso de Pre admisión a candidatura:

  • Programe y complete una entrevista inicial con la Dra. Traaen en las oficinas del Sínodo del Gran Cañón (en persona o por SKYPE).

  • Prográmese con el psicólogo certificado por la ELCA quien le administrará todo lo relacionado con el proceso de Orientación Laboral y Pruebas Psicológicas. Se requiere que estas pruebas de evaluación se lleven a cabo en persona en Phoenix, y que sean administradas en las oficinas de la persona profesional autorizada para hacerlo.

  • Trabaje con un administrador externo para completar la verificación de referencias y de antecedentes para el proceso de candidatura.

  • Además, trabaje con el pastor de su congregación, y con el personal, para completar el formulario de inscripción que se requiere. Su congregación tendrá la oportunidad de dar a conocer el nivel de apoyo económico que puede brindar al cumplir usted con los requisitos de educación para líderes oficialmente reconocidos por la IELA (ELCA).

Cuando se hayan completado los pasos anteriores, se le asignará un Pastor Mentor/Guía quien trabajará con usted por un período de 12 meses durante su Año de Discernimiento. Este período de 12 meses debe completarse antes de que usted esté ya en el papel de Candidato para estudiante de la IELA (ELCA). La finalización del Ensayo de Admisión requerido y la programación de una Entrevista formal de Admisión con el Comité de Candidatura del Sínodo del Gran Cañón vienen después de haberse cumplido satisfactoriamente los 12 meses/Año de Discernimiento. La asignación de un Pastor Mentor/Guía se finaliza por el personal de la Oficina del Obispo del Sínodo del Gran Cañón. El Pastor Mentor/Guía no será miembro del clero de su congregación.

Costo de la Solicitud de Candidatura, incluyendo la Evaluación Psicológica

  • $1325.00, costo total

    • $250.00, beca del Sínodo

    • $1,075.00, cantidad que debe pagar el candidato al presentar su solicitud al Sínodo del Gran Cañón

    • $100.00, Investigación de Antecedentes (pagado por el Sínodo del Gran Cañón)

Aspirar a recibir una educación en el seminario requiere resistencia y ambición, y es un gran compromiso por los gastos y deudas que se contraen hasta llegar al final de los estudios, graduándose del seminario. “Let’s Talk About Debt” / "Hablemos de la Deuda" es un artículo recientemente publicado (en inglés) por la oficina de ELCA Research and Evaluation Unit, el cual le puede ser útil durante el proceso de discernimiento y planeación, y ayudarle a usted y a su familia a planear para los gastos necesarios durante este esfuerzo de educación avanzada.

7. Al estar usted trabajando en el proceso de los pasos iniciales, puede también empezar a indagar sobre admisión al seminario. La ELCA tiene ocho seminarios (visite la página web para mas información -en inglés- al respecto).

8. Es importante recordar que la candidatura es un proceso, e implica establecer una relación con el Comité de Candidatura. La Dra. Teri Traaen, Asistente del Obispo, Comité de Candidatura, está disponible y dispuesta a orientarle en el proceso, el cual puede parecer complicado y confuso al principio. No dude en comunicarse con ella para recibir la orientación adecuada gracias a sus conocimientos y experiencia en Candidatura. Comuníquese con ellacuando tenga preguntas durante el proceso.

Dios sea con usted al iniciar y completar los pasos de este proceso. Le damos la bienvenida al proceso de Candidatura de la ELCA.