The Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program exists to train pastoral leaders for specific, limited ministry and mission contexts. In particular, it is a means to provide ordained men to serve in ministry situations for which a residentially trained pastor cannot be supported. The SMP Program is not intended as the route by which men who desire to spend their full-time careers in the full range of ministry opportunities will prepare for pastoral service (Convention Resolution 5-04-B from the 2013 Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod [LCMS]).
SMP–Español/English (SMP–EsE) at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW)
The need is growing for pastors in the LCMS who speak Spanish and are equipped to serve in bilingual Español/English congregations. Hispanics/Latinos are the fastest growing people group in the United States. They are expected to double and make up 28% of the total U.S. population by 2060—over one hundred million who need to hear and be strengthened in the Gospel! It is also important that they be connected to the other members of the body of Christ in our LCMS congregations so that future generations also hear the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of those who might seek to serve the Church as bilingual pastors fit the criteria for the SMP Program.
To prepare for bilingual ministry requires time and hard work. We have designed the SMP–EsE classes to take 10–15 hours per week. That time, however, is put in at your convenience. Some online programs have set times at which they require you to be online for class, but we recognize that life and ministry are often hard to schedule. The CTSFW SMP–EsE Program is designed so that you can access the materials, turn in assignments and discuss them with your brothers and your mentors at any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world with just an internet connection.
Are You Ready?
The first step down the road to SMP–EsE is talking with your pastor about how you might serve Christ in the congregation. The SMP–EsE Program is designed around a particular ministry context, which means the congregation or mission agrees to use you as a vicar in the beginning and to call you as a pastor sometime after you’ve completed the second year of the program. There are different ways that can work. Maybe you’re in a small congregation without a pastor right now and want more training to serve God’s people more effectively. Perhaps your congregation needs extra pastoral help but isn’t quite able to afford a second (or third!) full-time pastor. Possibly your congregation is thinking about starting a new bilingual ministry and needs trained pastoral care to lead that new outreach. There are many possible SMP–Español/English contexts.
After talking with your pastor, the two of you then should speak to the staff at your district office. That office will be your central contact point for collecting your application materials and getting it all forwarded to CTSFW for admission. As always, though, remember that the staff at the Seminary is here to serve you and the Church, so feel free to call us with any questions, comments or concerns.