Who is eligible to enroll?
Any WELS member can enroll in the program. People who are not interested in serving as congregational assistants might profit from the courses as well. However, if someone is interested in possibly serving as an assistant, he or she should officially enroll in the program.
How does someone get started?
A student can begin at any time of the year. Simply fill out an enrollment form (available on-line or from the administrative assistant). The pastor will fill out a recommendation form for the student (available on-line or from the administrative assistant). After receiving an official letter of acceptance, the local pastor can order the necessary course materials and begin teaching the courses.
How do we arrange for the Saturday courses to be offered in our area?
A pastor should contact the administrative assistant to schedule a guest instructor for one of the intensive courses. Host congregations are asked to contribute $300.00 for a seminar presentation. This cost may be met cooperatively with other area CAP congregations. Each participant is also asked to pay a $10.00 fee. The course will be scheduled at a time convenient to both the instructor and the host congregations. In the interest of good stewardship, the pastor is asked to invite his entire congregation and neighboring congregations to the course. The administrative assistant will supply promotional materials for the seminar.
How much of the pastor’s or called worker’s time will this take?
The longest courses are designed to be taught like other Bible studies in a congregation. The student does homework, however, so that the weekly meeting with the pastor can concentrate on the “meat” of the lesson. The pastor is also provided with a teacher’s guide so that he can prepare for the class as efficiently as possible. The practical courses, evangelism and teaching, are meant to be on-the-job training courses. These courses can be covered in conjunction with the congregation’s regular evangelism activity and Bible classes. Guest instructors are available to teach some of the remaining courses as intensive one-day seminars (usually on Saturday). Thus, the time commitment for pastors and other called workers need not be as great as one might expect. Three, four and five-year curriculum samples are available on the home page.
How can I find the time to Instruct my members?
This program can be offered to your entire congregation as a part of the congregation’s offerings for adult spiritual growth. You may also work together with other pastors and/or staff ministers in your area to share the work-load in training all of your students together.One of the strengths of this program is that students are able to serve while they are studying, and what is learned can immediately be applied in the local setting. As your students are trained they will be able to assist you in your many duties which will in turn free up your time to continue to instruct them.
What if I’m not sure whether this program is right for our people or congregation?
The basic courses for the program are profitable for all Christians, especially leaders in the church. Members need not be officially enrolled to take the courses with their local pastor. If a student does start to consider serving as an assistant, it is good for him or her to formally enroll, however. By doing so, the students will be apprised of any upcoming Saturday courses in their region and of the upcoming CAPstone Courses.
What if I can’t attend the two week CAPstone courses?
The CAPstone courses will be offered in the summer each year depending on the number of participants. The 10-day session is split between New Ulm, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Mequon, Wisconsin. Those who, for legitimate reasons, are unable to attend should contact the director so that some alternative arrangements can be made.
How is this program different from the WELS Staff Ministry Program?
The Congregational Assistant Program differs from the WELS Staff Ministry Program in a number of ways.Call: A person who completes the assistant program may receive a call to serve in a part-time or full-time capacity in his or her own congregation. A staff minister may be called or assigned to any congregation within our fellowship.
Training: The assistant program trains people for certification while they remain in their home congregation. The staff ministry program is made up of college level courses. Students pay tuition, and usually are required to have some residency at Martin Luther College in New Ulm Minnesota.
For further information on the staff ministry program, see the WELS Staff Ministry website.