In the LCMS, there are two types of Divine Calls: Minister of Religion-Ordained and Minister of Religion-Commissioned. Ordained Ministers are Pastors who have completed their education and training through an LCMS Seminary. Commissioned Ministers are Principals, Teachers, Directors of Christian Education, Directors of Parish Music, etc who have successfully completed a degree program and have the approval of a
college/university of the Synod for ministry.
The calling and placing of Ministers of Religion in the church involves the whole church. The Holy Spirit guides and directs the process of calling workers in His kingdom through people, on behalf of calling entities (e.g. a congregation, educational institution, etc.), according to their constitutional processes (e.g. church governance and bylaws). Each step of the process will always include prayer that God’s will be done and that the Holy Spirit guide the process and decisions.
A Call comes from God through the calling entity and is extended by God to the Called person. Thus, congregations, district officials, synodical officials, and college/university placement directors in the Concordia University System of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod work together cooperatively to provide the calling entity with ministers who are qualified and capable of carrying out the mission and ministry that the Lord has entrusted to His church.
When a church extends a Call to a Minister of Religion, the Called person receives a Call Document, called a Diploma of Vocation, which outlines the details of the Call. A sample Diploma of Vocation can be downloaded below.
The basic process of calling a Commissioned Minister is as follows:
- Formulate position or job description
- Collect names of eligible Commissioned Ministers
- Inform and seek advice from District officials
- Call committee narrows down list of candidates through interviews
- Candidates may visit church/school
- Congregation votes to extend a Call to chosen candidate
- Candidate accepts/declines Call
- If the candidate accepts, they are installed as a Commissioned Minister