The LCMS is blessed with excellent seminaries that form students for service as faithful, compassionate servants of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. In the tradition of Luther, the Synod affirms that formation for ministry extends beyond seminary graduation. It is a life-long process of growth and development.
The early years of parish ministry are critical for a pastor as he looks forward to decades of service. During these early years:
- Practices and habits are established that will likely continue for many years to come;
- Pastors and their wives can encounter situations and circumstances they did not anticipate during the seminary years of formation; and,
- The need for a pastor’s continued growth and support is probably more acute than at any other time in a pastor’s entire life of service.
PALS provides an excellent source of continuing education and support for new pastors and wives during the first three years of parish life. Throughout the Synod, facilitating pastors gather groups of 4-12 new pastors and wives for a series of meetings that include worship, study, discussion and fellowship. Wives meet together with their husbands for most of each PALS gathering, but also meet separately to study and discuss topics that are most helpful to them. Since its inception in 1998, PALS has assisted hundreds of new pastors and wives during the transition from seminary to congregation.
Recognizing the importance and effectiveness of the PALS program, the 2013 LCMS Convention passed Res. 5-02A, “To Support and Encourage Participation in Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support Initiative,” by a vote of 994 t0 49. A video recording of the overwhelmingly positive discussion of PALS during the time this resolution was considered can be viewed by clicking on this link.
"Perhaps most important, PALS provides a healthy and safe place for pastors and their spouses to seek support and assistance in navigating the sometimes choppy waters of parish life."
Rev. Terry Beltz, Facilitating Pastor, 2014
Taking advantage of these opportunities benefits pastor, family, parish, district, Synod, and above all, the effective proclamation of the Gospel.