Indiana-Kentucky Synod Candidacy Process

The Indiana-Kentucky Synod’s Candidacy Process follows the guidelines and procedures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In the ELCA, Candidacy is a journey of discernment and formation that moves in two directions: the candidate discerns their own call to rostered ministry, and at the same time the community of the Church discerns its relationship with and endorsement of the candidate.

Candidates for Rostered Ministry journey through a process of Entrance, Endorsement, and Approval, which takes place in conjunction with academic coursework, ministry formation experiences, internship, and other requirements.

Below you will find information that will assist you in this journey of discernment and formation. We encourage you to begin by having a conversation with your pastor or another spiritual mentor about your sense of calling, and then when you are ready to learn more about the steps of Candidacy contact the Indiana-Kentucky Synod Director of Candidacy: Pastor Dan Forehand, [email protected].

Listen, God is calling! Through the Word inviting… (ELW hymn 513)

I assume you have clicked your way to the candidacy page of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod’s website because you have sensed the Spirit of God stirring in you, perhaps calling you to another form of ministry in the church.

If that is not the case, perhaps stumbling onto this page is part of the mysterious work of the Spirit for you or someone you know! At any rate, below are a few things you need to know about the candidacy process in the ELCA and the ways that it is administered in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod.

If you are wondering about whether God is calling you to public ministry in the ELCA, one of the first stops probably ought to be your pastor or deacon’s office. Your home congregation’s leadership is and will continue to be an important companion on the journey of discernment.

The second stop is my email box or phone line. As Director of Candidacy for the I-K Synod, I am able to help you move deeply and prayerfully into discernment while also filling you in on all the nitty-gritty details of entering the candidacy process. Some of those details include the following:

  • The I-K Synod collaborates on regional discernment retreats twice a year. These gatherings, held in either northern Indiana, northern Ohio or southern Michigan, are designed to provide space for questions and contemplation about what God may be calling you to in life and time to examine your own faith story. The event also provides time to get to know others who are also discerning a call to public ministry, hear an overview of the Candidacy process, and ask questions about seminary and other related aspects of the journey of Candidacy in the ELCA.
  • To request an application for candidacy send me a letter or email at the address below. This will initiate a series of events and processes essential to your candidacy. While the application forms are available on-line, there is a good bit of information you need to receive from me before filling them out. I will schedule a time for us to meet so that we can begin to explore the ways you are feeling called to ministry and walk through the ELCA’s Candidacy process, so you know what to expect.
  • A positive entrance decision from the synod’s candidacy committee is required before beginning seminary or other coursework for candidacy. The entrance process takes about 4-6 months from the time you first inquire, so it is crucial to start the application process as early as possible.
  • The entrance process involves a series of interviews and assessments, culminating in a decision by the I-K Synod Candidacy Committee at one of its three meetings each year (usually April/May, August, and November).
  • To explore candidacy for public ministry in the ELCA is to move deeply into the spiritual process of discernment and formation. The I-K Synod Candidacy Committee and I can be helpful companions with you along the way, so please do not hesitate to call.

May God’s peace keep and guide you.

Rev. Dan Forehand
Director of Candidacy
Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA
911 E. 86th St., Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46240

Questions? Contact: Rev. Dan Forehand
[email protected]

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Financial Assistance for Candidates for Rostered Ministry
Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA

Thanks to the generosity and forethought of God’s people, the Indiana-Kentucky Synod has endowment funds designated for the financial support of its candidates for rostered ministry in the ELCA. Under policies and procedures established by the Finance Committee and Synod Council the annual draw from the growth of these funds provides funding to be distributed among candidates in any given fiscal year.

The Director of Candidacy works with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod Candidacy Committee Financial Aid Team to determine scholarship dispersals. This team consists of four to five members and we seek to include at least one individual that has professional/vocational experience with financial aid in higher education. Other team members are closely connected to the synod Candidacy Committee as current or former members. This team reviews applications and requests for financial assistance and makes decisions about dispersals of the Beyond Basics Scholarships, the Indiana-Kentucky Fund for Leaders Scholarship and Emergency/Discretionary Funds.

Typically, the Financial Aid Team meets in May of each year to make decisions about scholarships for the coming academic year. Two primary concerns guide this Team’s decision making:

  • Demonstrated need rooted in limited access to other funding resources
  • The accumulation of significant educational debt or high-interest, unsubsidized, or “instant interest” debt

For more information about the specific financial aid available through the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, click on the links below.  You may also contact the Director of Candidacy, Rev. Dan Forehandl:; 317-253-3522 ext. 303.

There may be other scholarships and financial aid available from your home congregation, the seminary you choose or the ELCA Churchwide organization, such as the ELCA Fund for Leaders program,