Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP)

The Specific Ministry Pastor program of Concordia Seminary is a 4-year distance education program that prepares men for pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, established by the LCMS in 2007.

It is contextual in that the men receive their academic training in the setting where they will continue to serve following ordination.  They work with local pastor-mentors who support and guide them in the program and who provide day-to-day guidance, encouragement and prayer.

The courses of the Specific Ministry Pastor program are supported by state-of-the art technology which engages the students with their instructors and with fellow students while building an interactive learning community.  Each course includes a blend of internet-based instruction, mentor interaction, practical ministry application, and two hours each week of live instruction by the instructor and interaction with fellow students.

The SMP program is designed to meet the needs of the church for pastors in mission and ministry opportunities where a pastor with a seminary degree may not be available.  (And it is doing so in surprising ways.)

In order to be eligible for the SMP program men must be serving in a ministry of a Lutheran congregation which desires their service as a pastor.  They must be nominated for the program by their District President.  Based upon this nomination, and their previous ministry experiences, the men begin their academic work as concurrent-deferred Vicars.

After two years of vicarage, and nine classes they become eligible for ordination in the specific ministry where they are serving following certification by the faculty of Concordia Seminary.  They are then required to take two more years of classes in order to complete the basic Specific Ministry Pastor program.

Currently the total program enrollment is 137.

Fall 2014 Cohort

Completed applications for Fall 2014 enrollment will be due from the district offices to the Seminary’s Office of Admissions and Ministerial Recruitment by May 30, 2014.

Students who are accepted and will begin in the Fall of 2014, and their pastor/mentors, will be required to attend the Orientation Seminar on Concordia Seminary’s campus September 2-5, 2014.

The Application must be received by the Seminary by May 30All ELCE’s (Entry Level Competency Exams) must be passed by June 30, 2014.

 

2013-2014 SMP Program Costs

The SMP program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, consists of 16 courses which are taught sequentially, one per academic quarter — these courses are counted as 3 credit hour courses, and are billed as such. During the first two years of the program the student is also a vicar serving in the congregation which has asked him to prepare for the pastoral ministry — there is an administrative charge for this vicarage, it is a one-time charge but is billed over two years.

Courses: $1965 ($655/credit hour for the 2013-2014 School Year)
Vicarage: $579 (1/2 per year=$289.50)
Tech fee:  $50 per quarter

In addition you will need to purchase some books and there will be expenses associated with the Orientation Seminar (which both new students and their pastor/mentors are required to attend) and an annual Residential Seminar, as well as some field experiences. It is recommended that you budget between $8000 and $10,000 per year for the SMP program. These costs may be shared by the calling (sending) congregation, district, and student.

Additional information

SMP Curriculum
SMP Application Form
SMP Admissions Criteria
SMP Admissions Sequence
SMP Pastor Supervisor’s Position Description
SMP Partnership Covenant
Instructions to Congregations Applying for an SMP Concurrent Vicarage (the “Vicarage Application” is available through your district office. Please contact them for this form).

Read the Synodical resolution that established the SMP program (pdf).

For further information, contact Professor David W. Wollenburg, Director of SMP for Concordia Seminary (wollenburgd@csl.edu) or call 314-505-7764