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Deferment or Declining

Occasionally students may request that assignment into the Christian ministry be deferred for a year. The most common reasons that students wish to defer are to pursue further study or to serve in the world mission fields through various agencies of WELS. Some students may decline an assignment for various reasons. The following information and procedures should be noted.


Deferring Assignment

Candidates in this category are requesting that their assignment be deferred to a later date (e.g., those who wish to serve through Friends of China, those who wish to pursue an advanced degree before teaching in our WELS educational system).  This means

  • that a graduate is asking not to be considered for assignment to a call for the upcoming school year.
  • that the time of deferment is understood to be one year but may be extended at the request of a graduate made to the Assignment Committee.
  • that the graduate plans to return to the Assignment Committee the following year.
  • that the graduate is not eligible to be called during the time of deferment.
  • that if the graduate wants to withdraw his/her request, that desire is to be expressed to the president of the district in which the graduate currently resides.
  • that after the completion of a third year of deferral, in order to be eligible for assignment, a candidate will be required to commit to the recertification process.

Declining assignment

Candidates in this category are declining to be assigned at this time.  This means that the graduate does not wish to and therefore

  • will not be considered or approved for call lists presented to calling bodies by the District Presidents.
  • will not be eligible to be assigned by the Assignment Committee. If, at a time three or more years after graduation, candidates wish to become eligible for a call from the field, they will be required to speak with the district president of the district in which they reside. If candidates should change their minds within three years of graduation, they should request to be made available for assignment.

Important Information

  • Approval of requests for deferment of assignment/declining assignment is granted by the Synodical Assignment Committee, not by the Martin Luther College faculty. Note: Requests may be denied by the Synodical Assignment Committee.
  • The MLC faculty is informed of such requests and serves in an advisory capacity to the Assignment Committee.


  1. Discuss your plans with your advisor or with anyone else who may assist you.
  2. A letter of request for deferment or declining assignment should be addressed to the President of WELS, who serves as the chair of the Assignment Committee.  The letter can either be mailed to President of WELS, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188 or emailed as an attachment to            
    • State specifically the reason for the request. If you are deferring for further study, an area of study should be identified and specific college or university indicated. If you are planning to serve in Friends of China, state so. Indicate the period of time requested for deferment and when you intend to be ready for assignment. An example of a letter requesting deferment is provided on the next page.
    • If you are declining, state the reason why (family reasons, pursuing a different career, etc.).
  3. May graduates - Requests for deferment of/declining assignment should be submitted by March 15. The Assignment Committee considers these requests at their quarterly meetings.
  4. Copies of your letter should be submitted to the President of MLC ( and to the Director of Clinical Experiences (             
  5. December graduates - Requests for deferment of/declining assignment should be submitted by November 15.
  6. If the request letter is not submitted by the time the Assignment Committee meets to consider the request, it will be considered a declining candidate.