Synodically Authorized Minister (SAM) Process
What is the SAM program?
The Alaska Synod established, in 1997, a program of training and equipping qualified lay persons for congregational-based ministries of preaching, sacraments and worship leadership, and where appropriate, providing leadership for bible study, catechetical instruction, visitation and spiritual growth. The congregation's council send a letter of support to the synod office that accompanies the application of those interested. Out of care for the community, a background check is required. That request form is under Resources/Forms.
The ELCA recognizes that certain congregations are in situations where--by reason of geography or economics--they find it impossible to support the ministry of a full-time or part-time ordained pastor. Thus the church makes provision for training and approving "Synodically Authorized Ministers." In most instances these persons will already be members of the congregations to be served. But they also may be persons residing in areas adjacent to the communities where the ministry will be conducted. In either case, however, Synodically Authorized Ministers serve through the authorization of the bishop and are under the supervision of an ordained pastor.
In addition, the Alaska Synod encourages people to participate in the SAM training as preparation for lay preaching, teaching and leading.
Learning more about scripture, church history, and theology are part of maturing as Christians. These are resources that help us shape our daily lives of faith and how we perceive what God is up to in the world. Sometimes this happens individually, sometimes in group studies and classes. Some adults are asked by their congregations to pursue training to serve as Synodically Authorized Ministers. Some serve as lay preachers. Some engage in education for the simple joy of learning.
SELECT offers courses that congregations and individuals can purchase. SELECT courses cover the full spectrum of preparation for service as a Synodically Authorized Minister - www.selectlearning.org/content/synodically-authorized-ministry