Among the 190 congregations of the North Carolina Synod are small congregations that are unable to call a pastor because of financial or geographical limitations. Recognizing the significance of these congregations to their members and communities, the synod is launching a program for the formation and placement of Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAM). Synodically authorized ministry is intended to assist the ELCA and the NC Synod to respond pastorally and effectively to emerging opportunities in Christ’s mission where it is not possible to provide a Minister of Word and Sacrament.
What are SAMs?
Synodically Authorized Ministers (SAMs) are identified and equipped persons for service in congregations as described by the ELCA constitution (7.31.09) and administered by the ELCA Conference of Bishops.
SAMs may be invited by the Office of the Bishop
Congregations and SAMs
A Synodically Authorized Minister may be right for your congregation if:
- You're a small congregation are unable to fund a full or part-time pastor.
- You're located in a geographic area where there aren't ordained people who can serve as a supply or interim pastor.
If one or both of these situations describe you, then having a SAM may be a good solution for you.
Process for becoming a SAM
SAMs must be:
• Invited by the NC Synod bishop or designee.
• Nominated in writing by their pastor and congregation council (or just the council if there is not a pastor serving their church).
• An individual who discerns a call to SAM ministry and initiates a conversation with their pastor and congregation council or contacts the chair of the SAM Leadership Team directly.
Deacons may be appointed to serve as SAMs with sacramental privileges that are bound by location and time.