The importance of the vicar year in training pastors can hardly be overestimated. It allows students a year to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom. By placing students in mission congregations or established congregations with a mission mindset, they see how integral outreach is to ministry. Because the mission spirit is more caught than taught, day in and day out vicars watch and learn from a man who has a gospel heart for members and for the lost.
However, it costs about $41,000 to fund a vicar, which most mission congregations are unable to afford. Through the Vicar in a Mission Setting program, the seminary and the Board for Home Missions partner to provide funding for this valuable training. This critical partnership allows us to prepare men for mission work in a mission setting or in established congregations. In seminaries without this kind of training, it takes pastors two years of ministry to gain the kind of experience our men get in one year. This allows them to go into the field, knowing what’s ahead, prepared and experienced.
As our synod invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in preparing a pastor, we also are committed to investing in those who already are pastors. Your gifts for Vicar in a Mission Setting allow us to respond to the synod’s need for graduates who have experience in mission work.
Pastor Justin Cloute is a supervising pastor for Vicar in a Mission Setting and has taken continuing education courses. He sees how his congregation has been blessed. “Vicar in a Mission Setting has opened our congregation’s eyes to the blessings of working together to prepare pastors,” he says. “Whether at Summer Quarter or in satellite or online courses, I have always taken something away from Grow in Grace that has been helpful. The congregation benefits from a pastor who has been recharged and is a little fresher in his preaching and teaching.”
“The classes I’ve taken on preaching have helped me to better coach vicars, and the work I’ve done in systematics always seems to have a real-life application in discussions on doctrine and practice,” says Cloute. “I hope that taking continuing education classes, thanks to congregational support, has sent the message to my vicars that lifelong learning is important.”
Through a partnership with the Board for Home Missions and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, we place our third-year students into mission-minded congregations. Through practical experience, these vicars gain a sense of what gospel ministry is. They see God’s power at work in people’s lives. They see a faithful pastor using law and gospel every day of the week. These experiences increase students’ joy as they witness the gospel’s impact in people’s lives. They deepen their commitment to share Jesus with everyone they meet.
For information about how to generously support our current and future pastors, contact the seminary at 262-242-8100 or visit our giving page. There you will be able to select Vicar in a Mission Setting from the dropdown menu.
If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a visit, contact WELS Ministry of Christian Giving at 1-800-827-5482.