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Vicarage Documents


The twelve-month vicarage provides students with the practical experience of working with people in a congregational setting under the direction of a pastoral supervisor.

Students are required by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to participate in a twelve-month, full-time vicarage, ordinarily completed during the third year of their theological education. Students are required to make application for a vicarage assignment through the Vicarage Office no later than three weeks into the quarter in which they expect to have accumulated 70 hours of academic credit. For most students, this means that application must be made during the first three weeks of the Seminary II year. Students are expected to monitor their own progress; late applicants may be assessed an additional late fee. It is mandatory that students leave for their vicarage assignment between the time they have earned 89 and 104 hours of credit. This will assure that they have a minimum of 30 hours of credit to complete during their Seminary IV year.

In extenuating circumstances, an extension of hours may be granted by making formal application to the Committee on Certification and Placement through the Vicarage Office; students still, however, must complete a minimum of two quarters of academic study on campus after returning from vicarage.

Requirements for Assignment

Successful completion of all academic requirements on the Pre-seminary, Seminary I and Seminary II levels is ordinarily considered a prerequisite for vicarage. Specifically, students must complete 89 hours of seminary work, including Lutheran Worship I, Lutheran Worship II, Homiletics I, Homiletics II, Catechetics, Pastoral Theology I, the Isagogical proficiency exams and all Field Education requirements. They must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPAof 2.00. Eligibility for vicarage assignment is determined by the Committee on Certification and Placement through the Registrar’s Office.

Each vicar must ordinarily have a valid driver’s license and a suitable motor vehicle before beginning his vicarage assignment.

All library books and materials must be returned and any outstanding fees or library fines must be paid before students are ready for vicarage.

Wives of vicars are to be members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Upon endorsement of the faculty, students are assigned a vicarage by the Council of Presidents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Modifications to the Vicarage Program

A modification to the regular vicarage program may be granted under certain conditions. Such exceptions shall be made on an individual basis with written application submitted to the Vicarage Office after one year of residence upon the attainment of Seminary II status and no later than six weeks after the beginning of the quarter in which he becomes eligible for consideration. Such written application must be supported by the student’s fieldwork pastor and approved by the Committee on Certification and Placement.

The consideration and final judgment for any modification shall be made according to the following criteria:
Scholastic Performance: Students will have demonstrated an academic achievement of 2.75 or better in their first academic year of residence.
Personal Suitability: Students will have shown an excellent rating in the personal qualifications for a functional ministry (responsible, resourceful, person-centered, service-centered, emotionally stable, secure, etc.). In applying, students will submit one or more ratings by a qualified supervisor according to the normal guidelines for evaluation of vicars. Pastoral Skills: Students will have demonstrated excellent performance both in quantity and quality in basic ministerial skills, preaching, pastoral evangelism, care and counseling, administration and leadership, and group work. In applying, students will submit one or more ratings by a qualified supervisor according to the normal guidelines for evaluation of vicars.

Lutheran Atmosphere: A recent convert to Lutheranism of less than four years prior to seminary admission will not be eligible for this modified program.

Exceptions can also be extended to the following two categories of students:

  1. Students belonging to a specific ethnic group for which the third year vicarage poses a cultural barrier to effective proclamation of the Gospel among the members of that special group. Designating such groups is the joint responsibility of the seminary and the appropriate board(s) of the Synod.
  2. Students who transfer from the Alternate Route program to the M.Div. program. In every case, however, a major deficiency in the area of personal suitability or a low level of professional competence or a lack of experience in more than one area of basic pastoral skills shall require a regular vicarage.
If the seminary decides to grant a vicarage modification to a student, the major alternative for meeting the vicarage requirement will be the delayed vicarage which places the vicarage program as the final year of seminary training. No summer vicarage nor program concurrent to an academic year of training will serve as an alternate program for a modified vicarage.
Academic Programs