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New accelerated program announced

There is currently much which is uncertain in the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand, however, there are three things of which we can be certain:

  • members are ageing.
  • the number of pastors serving congregations is decreasing.
  • the number of vacant parishes is increasing.

With the support of the College of Bishops, Australian Lutheran College (ALC) has responded to these circumstances by developing a one-off accelerated pathway to the ordained ministry that aims to prepare a cohort of candidates generally aged 40-55 for possible ordination as general ministry pastors in 2027.

Two years of intensive study and fieldwork scheduled over 48 weeks of each year, will be followed by a period of in-service transition. This transition may take the form of a traditional vicarage placement, but it could also be an internship, an appointment to a ministry team or another suitable, directly supervised position. District bishops will work with candidates to find the most appropriate and effective transition placement which enables them to commence pastoral work while finalising the portfolio of vocational competence which enables them to be ordained as graduate general ministry pastors.

How will it work?

The traditional academic year is only 32 weeks long. This program uses an extended academic year (in 2025: January 27 - December 31) enabling participants to complete a three-year Master of Divinity or Bachelor of Theology, in two years. During this time field work will be completed in the participant’s local congregation, and this congregation will provide mentoring, pastoral and prayer support to the participant. There will be some residential intensives, but most units are taught via synchronous online webinars. The program is not Adelaide based; the expectation is that participants will remain in their local area for the duration of the academic program. Unit fees are applicable. A small stipend will be available to those accepted as candidates for ordination.

Who are we seeking?

Participants in this accelerated program will generally be aged 40-55 and feel called to the ordained ministry. They will be people who are able to cope with the demands of two years of continuous study. They will be people whose family and friends can imagine them as pastors. Women are welcome to apply, and if the church moves to approve the ordination of women, participants will be people who are supportive of the female candidates studying along-side them, even if they themselves take a male-only position. Participants will be people for whom now is the right time to respond to God’s call.

Where can I obtain more information?

Visit our Midlife Masters page for more information or enquire by emailing

An extensive initial application process which includes, but may not be limited to, evidence of academic capacity, self-reflective writing, references from family, peers and a pastor, and one or more interviews, will result in offers of provisional places to those who meet the selection criteria. During the first six months of study, the church will work through the remainder of its standard candidate confirmation processes. This includes psychological assessment.