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How to Become a Lutheran Pastor Online

Dec 19, 2019

The Lutheran faith has different subsections and within this article, individuals who are looking to become a Lutheran pastor will learn what they do, and the steps to get there online.

Information about Lutheran Pastors

Lutheran pastors are the heads of their house of worship. They perform religious ceremonies and give religious guidance, helping to spread the word of the Bible. Many lead worships services on Sundays and offer guidance and counseling to members of the church. Depending on the denomination, the path to becoming a Lutheran pastor can be accomplished easily via online resources.

The following table details information for all clergy members or all those who help foster their particular faith in the community.

Required Skills Public Speaking, Self-Reflection, Public Relations, Guidance and Counseling, Meditation and Focus
Job Growth for Clergy Nationwide (2018-2028)* 4-6%
Median Salary(2018)* $48,990 (for all Clergy)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Lutheran Pastor Online

While there may be a few different ways to become a Lutheran pastor, we will detail the traditional path here. Most aspiring pastors will need to complete the following four steps, most of which can be completed online.

Step 1. Talk with Your Pastor

The first step to becoming a Lutheran pastor might be to speak with a pastor or elder within your denomination. This pastor can be used as a mentor for further conversations in the candidate's career path. You might speak with a pastor at your church or connect with a pastor or mentor through a Lutheran website or forum.

Step 2. Get a Bachelor's Degree

Individuals who would like to become a Lutheran pastor often need to complete a bachelor's degree in order to enter a seminary. Generally, the bachelor's degree can be in any field but some seminaries may prefer candidates with majors in history, religion or philosophy. Barring that, aspiring pastors may want to at least take courses in topics like theology, public service, psychology or philosophy. Many bachelor's programs that meet these requirements are offered completely online.

Step 3. Attend Seminary

Seminaries are higher education institutions or universities that focus on religion and aim to prepare students for leadership positions in the church. Some seminaries do offer tracks that allow students to complete both a bachelor's and a master's degree in as few as 5 years. Some Lutheran denominations don't require seminary, but they might require additional education courses like theology courses at any higher education institution. Some seminaries offer all required courses or the full program online, though many do have in-person residency requirements in which students get hands-on experience.

Step 4. Apply to the Organization in Charge of the Denomination

Once the applicant has completed any education requirements, the individual can apply to the organization that is in charge of the domination such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) or the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Requirements vary by denomination, but candidates typically must go through a rigorous process that includes background checks, personal essays, an in-person internship, an endorsement and multiple interviews. Some of these steps can be completed online and some require the candidate to be physically present.

Step 5. Finalize the Appointment

Once all other steps are completed and the application is approved, the religious organization will finalize the appointment of the Lutheran pastor. Sometimes it is via online and sometimes it is done via a religious ceremony in person if the individual did not have a ceremony prior through a seminary.

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