The ELCA Fund for Leaders provides scholarships to seminary students who are preparing for rostered leadership in this church, but the impact goes far beyond those who receive scholarship support.
In the history of the ELCA and its predecessors, there were many years when attending seminary cost very little, if anything, because of support from congregations and synods. As support decreased and the cost of seminary increased, the burden of paying for seminary transferred to the candidates.
Excellent leaders positively impact the whole church. The ELCA Fund for Leaders is our commitment that these leaders should be supported in their decision to follow a vocation of service to this church and the world. Like any successful organization, the church demands the very best leaders to take us into the future, and the ELCA Fund for Leaders helps these outstanding leaders answer the call.
The ELCA Fund for Leaders was created by an action of the 1997 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, and provided its first scholarships in 2000. Since then, the program has supported over 1,000 qualified candidates with more than $25 million in scholarship support.
Our “alums” — past recipients of scholarships — are now serving congregations and organizations across the ELCA and around the world. These pastors and deacons were able to accept calls where they were needed most, free from the concern of paying burdensome student loans.
The long-range goal for the ELCA Fund for Leaders is to provide full-tuition support for every candidate at an ELCA seminary. Achieving this goal will not only have an impact on those who receive scholarships, it will help the whole church because excellent leaders will be able to follow the call to rostered ministry and will positively impact those they serve. We are a church that believes Jesus is God’s “yes” to us. Our lives can be a “yes” to others.