Enrich and Transform

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.   Romans 12:2

Seminarian Gus Barnes Jr leading worship.  Photo by Emily Ann Garcia
Seminarian Gus Barnes Jr leading worship. Photo by Emily Ann Garcia

The Ministry Engagement Team of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) has been working on a new resource to be released this fall.  This guide, Enrich and Transform: Welcoming LGBTQ Candidates into the Call Process, is for congregational call committees.

This guide is being developed in response to congregations and synods who have asked for resources to help open their doors more widely to live into this new day of welcome and celebration of the gifts of LGBTQ leaders in our church.  The synod will provide guidance on the call process in general and we don’t want to duplicate that. This guide will serve as an additional resource for call committees during this process of discernment and exploration and an encouragement to be open to the full diversity of gifted and called candidates in our church, including LGBTQ candidates.

In addition to Ministry Engagement Team members working on this, we’ve collected wisdom and insights from members of call committees that have recently called an LGBTQ pastor.  Lynn Kriser served on a call committee at St Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church in Michigan where Proclaim member Rev. Laura Kuntz was recently called.  


Rev. Laura Kuntz.  Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.
Rev. Laura Kuntz. Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.

It was exciting that God provided and called a wonderfully gifted, strong Lutheran pastor to minister to our children, youth and young adults.  Just 5 years ago, this call wouldn’t have been possible.  We all (congregations as well as Pastor Laura) would have lost out on so much.  Now, as the mother of daughters, I’m excited that they have Pastor Laura as an example and a spiritual leader. – Lynn Kriser

Transformation is happening, and we are excited to be a part of it.  We hope many more congregations will open their doors to the gifts of LGBTQ leaders.  As Claire Hoyum, call committee member at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St Paul, MN where Rev. Bradley Schmeling was called in 2012 says:

Many gifted LGBTQ candidates have been waiting far too long for their gospel gifts to be recognized and invited into ministry.  Congregations should not constrain their access to those gifts by artificially limiting the pool of candidates they are willing to consider.

Thanks for your partnership and support as we seek to enrich and transform the whole church through the rich diversity of gospel gifts God has given us.

If you are currently serving on a call committee and would like to be considered to be part of our review team, please contact  Jen (programdirector (at) elm.org).


Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.
Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.


by Jen Rude.  Jen is the program director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and is honored to work with such fine, faithful, fabulous, and fun ELM volunteers and supporters.  Read more.