General Pastor Certification (SMP-GPC) at Concordia Seminary

Specific Ministry Pastor to General Pastor Certification (GPC)

The SMP to General Pastor Certification Track is designed specifically for pastors who have completed the SMP program and desire to continue study in order to be eligible for roster as a General Pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. 

The track builds upon the academic foundation established through the 16 courses of the SMP program by augmenting them with additional course work, resulting in a program of studies that is equivalent to the Residential Alternate Route Certificate. Included in this augmentation is the acquisition of Greek for use in New Testament studies.

Admission to the SMP to GPC track is contingent upon the applicant’s current status on the roster of the LCMS as a Specific Ministry Pastor. Each applicant must have completed the SMP program and be actively serving in a ministry capacity as a Specific Ministry Pastor in good standing on the LCMS roster.

College Preparation

Applicants to the SMP to GPC track at Concordia Seminary ordinarily must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). The degree should represent a broad liberal arts background and must include courses in English composition, writing and speech.

It also should include courses in the humanities, psychology, social sciences, natural sciences, foreign languages (preferably German and/or Latin) and religion. Applicants also must possess a Specific Ministry Pastor Certificate of Completion from an LCMS seminary with a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher.

For more information, review the Academic Catalog and Entry Level Competency Exam requirements.

The curriculum for SMP to GPC requires 56 semester hours of credit distributed as outlined in the following section, with students taking no more than one course per term. Most of the courses are M.Div. residential courses that GPC students take online, and some courses are offered to GPC students on campus in an intensive format. Students will be advised academically by the director of the program and registered by the Registrar.

Because students in this track are already ordained, they are not required to complete Resident Field Education or a vicarage.

Completion of SMP program 32 hours
Initial courses* 12 hours
HIS507 Introduction to Historical Theology 3 hours
PRA514 Pastoral Care and the Word 3 hours
SYS513 Church and World 3 hours
PRA517 Pastoral Leadership and Theology 3 hours
Greek proficiency 0
Final courses 12 hours
EXE7XX English OT course 3 hours
HIS5XX History elective 1.5 hours
EXE522 Synoptic Gospels 1.5 hours
EXE525 Pauline Epistles 1.5 hours
PRA53X GPC preaching elective 1.5 hours
EXE528 John 1.5 hours
EXE5XX NT elective 1.5 hours
GPC program credit total 56 hours

*Students who pursue the SMP to M.A. degree are expected to complete the initial courses and pass the Practical Theology M.A. comprehensive examination.