I have received several questions over the years regarding possible alternate routes into the Ministry. I usually have been quick to answer, “the Certificate Route.” Then the question that is likely to follow is, “what’s the difference?” Well, good question and here, in this blog post, I will provide a good answer (see also, http://www.csl.edu/admissions/academics/altrt/prcert/).
First, there is a difference in eligibility. To be eligible for this route one must be 35 years old and have 10 years of significant experience in a LCMS congregation. There is one exception, however. If an applicant is a commissioned minister and has served for at least 8 years, he too would be eligible for this route.
Second, there is a difference in the length of the program. The Certificate Route is a three year program- two years in residence and one year vicarage. The vicarage,as opposed to most vicarages, occurs during the last year of the program.
Third, there is a difference in the make-up of the academic program. Since the Cert. Route is shorter, one can imagine that there would be less classes. To give you the detail of these classes, I refer you to: http://www.csl.edu/resources/academics/registrar/academic-catalog-2011-2012/, pages 22-26. Note that Hebrew is not a requirement of the Certificate Route, so Old Testament work is done in English.
Finally, if you meet the points of eligibility and feel that you would like to explore this route a bit further, give us a call-1800-822-9545. We would enjoy working with you to help you decide which route is best for you.