How pastors are prepared for ministry

What does the training involve?

  • In the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) the normal approved way of preparing pastors includes an integrated approach to study and vocational formation. This training usually happens over a period of five years of full-time study, both on campus and in the field. This presently means that SPT students need to be resident in Adelaide during that time. If you have already done some prior theological study please keep reading.
  • The usual academic qualification for the SPT is the Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Ministry [BTheol/BMin]. For further information contact the SPT Administrator at ALC.

What about my previous study?

  • Students who already have done some theological study may apply for credit transfer (see ALC credit transfer information). There is also opportunity to apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL).
  • In some cases, the school may also negotiate with prospective students in order to structure their academic training in accord with their prior degrees and training, and also their current learning needs.

Training in the field

  • Students for the pastoral ministry also engage in a program of field education. They undertake a number of formative vocational activities each year, which help them develop the understandings, insights and skills that pastors need. They work for an average of three hours a week under the guidance of an experienced pastor in a local church setting, gaining an inside knowledge of a pastor's work.
  • We seek to help the vocational development of our students in the SPT through a series of interviews over the course of their training. This helps them identify their strengths and growth areas, and enables them to engage in an ongoing process of action and reflection so that they can continue to grow and develop as pastors in the field.
  • At some stage in their final year of study students go on vicarage: a period of full-time supervised field experience in the local church community somewhere in the LCA. They work under the guidance of an experienced pastor and practise all the theological and pastoral skills they have been learning. This is a very exciting and helpful part of the SPT program, and it plays a significant role in preparing students for ministry.

Graduation for ordination

  • It is important to note that while our school is entrusted with the job of training future pastors, it is the church who approves our graduates for ordination and service as pastors of the church. This is overseen by the LCA College of Bishops. SPT graduates are considered for ordination on the basis that through their training and formation, they have developed the understandings, skills and attributes the church needs in its pastors.
  • In consultation with the graduate, the College of Bishops also oversees the initial placement of graduate pastors in their first call within the LCA.