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Midlife Masters

With the support of the College of Bishops, Australian Lutheran College (ALC) has developed 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 men-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?

Please enquire by emailing or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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.

What do I do if I know someone who might be interested?

Download this information as a flyer here.

Is the accelerated program not for you?

See other options below. 

About the Pastoral Studies Stream

The pathway to ordained ministry generally takes a minimum of four years which includes formal academic study, fieldwork completed in a local context, periodic formational reviews, reflection and online ALC community worship. It also generally includes a full-time vicarage placement. Students can complete the entire Pastoral Studies Program from anywhere. All associated classes are live-streamed.

Entry into the Pastoral Studies Stream at ALC

The first stage of the Pastoral Studies Stream is to complete Discover. Thereafter you’ll be able to start the application process for formal entry into the Pastoral Studies Stream. This includes consultation with your District Bishop, a psychological assessment and other church based processes. ALC will guide you through the steps.

If your application is successful, you are invited to join the Pastoral Studies Stream. If your initial application is not successful, contact your District Bishop if you wish to appeal that decision.


ALC’s Discover program has been developed to assist you with discerning God’s call, combining academic study, practical ministry and personal reflection in your congregational setting.

Completing Discover is the first step for all who are thinking of serving as pastors in the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ).

Contact the college for consultation and to start the application process: email or send an enquiry.  

Ordination in the LCANZ

ALC is entrusted with the task of preparing candidates for the pastoral ministry, however it is the LCANZ who is responsible for, and oversees, candidates’ readiness for ministry and the ordination process.

Ordination to the pastoral ministry of the LCANZ is dependent upon the offer of a public call to serve as pastor being issued by the church.

The church cannot guarantee that all students completing the vocational program for pastoral ministry will automatically receive a call to service and be ordained for ministry, although every effort is made to open up opportunities for service for all pastoral ministry graduates.

In accord with the teaching and policy of the LCANZ that men only can be called and ordained as pastors, applicants to the pastoral studies stream need to be male.