What is "colloquy"?

Michael Schutz, our Director of Worship and Discipleship, is currently in a program called colloquy, which is a series of classes leading to him being able to serve as an ordained pastor. The congregation has voted to have him do this, and for those who are interested, he's written a bit about what this colloquy thing is all about.

For those who may not be really familiar with our church's system, I wanted to take a minute to give you some details about what the process entails.

Right now I'm officially known as a deacon. I graduated from our church's university (Concordia University College of Alberta, in Edmonton) with a Bachelor of Arts, did a one-year internship, and am what is known as a Director of Parish Services. So I'm an officially "rostered' worker in our church, but not a pastor. I'm what we call consecrated as a worker, but not ordained as a pastor. Though much of my work involves working with pastors, my work is done under the supervision of the pastor(s) I work with. Men who are pastors serve in the pastoral office and my office is that of a deacon, which we call an auxiliary office, which is a support and help to the pastoral office.

Recently, however, I've been feeling that God may be leading me into that pastoral office. As I've prayerfully considered things with my family, my pastor, and our congregation, they have confirmed things for me. Our national church has a process called colloquy where men with certain qualifications can apply for an specific route to becoming an ordained pastor in our church. Colloquy (pronounced CALL-o-quee) comes from the Latin word colloquium basically meaning "conversation" (it's also where we get the word colloquial). It's where men with a good amount of ministry experience are examined, and then ordained after meeting our church's requirements. It includes pastors from other church bodies who want to serve in our Lutheran church, and in includes men like me who have served in an auxiliary office for at least 10 years who wish to become ordained.

In our church, a man applies for colloquy through his District President, who does the initial screening. The application is then given to a committee of pastors, called the colloquy committee. This committee is made up of three pastors: one of the vice-presidents in our national synod, and the two seminary presidents. This committee evaluates the candidate, then works with an advisor who's a member of the seminary faculty to propose a list of courses that they believe the candidate needs to take before becoming ordained. Once the candidate agrees to this proposal, he becomes officially accepted into the process.

The committee and seminary have been excellent for us, developing a "win-win-win" program. It's a win for our congregation and for me, as it allows me to take one course at a time while still working full-time. (Classes are taken either through distance ed or by 2-week short-term intensives.) It's also a win for our national church body, as it allows them to prepare a student using new ways of delivering education, and prepares another pastor that wouldn't be able to become one otherwise (since it's just not feasible to move my family three times in the next four years to do a full residential program, nor is the full program needed with my background and experience).

According to the developed plan, I will stay full-time working at Concordia during the process, and (Assuming I pass all my classes) will be eligible for ordination in May of 2013. This is an exciting and humbling time for me, my family, and our congregation. We are excited at the possibilities that lay ahead, and will seek to follow God's direction. Please keep us in your prayers as things continue to progress. We are confident in the mercy and grace of God, shown so richly in Jesus. He is most certainly with us, and we're looking forward to where He is taking us!