Continuing Education

The Saint Paul Area Synod strives to provide affordable continuing education for leaders in all stages of their ministry. This includes annual, periodic and ongoing programming so that every rostered minister and deacon is always learning new skills and perspectives for serving the church. We draw on the rich, local resources of our metropolitan area as well as nationally recognized leaders and experts.

Bishop’s Theological Conference

The Bishop’s Theological Conference is typically held in early to mid-October outside of the Twin Cities as a time for active rostered leaders to connect, relax and learn. Outside speakers lead us in topical and text studies for this multi-day event.



The synod offers both spring and fall ministeriums for rostered leaders to gather for education and worship. Click here to view photos from our 2022 Spring Ministerium, held at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Roseville. The fall ministerium is typically held in conjunction with the Minneapolis Area Synod. Click here for photos from our 2022 Fall Ministerium at Luther Seminary.

First Call Theological Education

For rostered leaders in the ELCA, First Call Theological Education (FCTE) is mandatory for the first three years. Our program seeks to encourage a balance between the development of peer and mentor relationships, a life of engagement in the synod and wider church, and a habit of lifelong learning. Participants, ministry sites and the synod sign a covenant to demonstrate our mutual commitment to your becoming a healthy, sustainable leader in the ELCA. Hear how FCTC has impacted the ministry of one recent participant. 


Lilly Grant Cohorts

In 2019, the synod applied for and was awarded a $375,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative. Our grant, “From the Center Outward,” is based on the idea that the healthiest, most sustainable ministry starts within. The grant will support new learning opportunities for the next five years. These cohorts include:

  • Second Act Cohort – for rostered ministers in years four through 10 of public ministry
  • Kubernesis Seminar – for rostered ministers who have gifts or interest in senior/executive leadership
  • Leaders of Color Cohort – for rostered ministers who are persons of color

Learn more.

Boundary Training

Boundary education is required for all rostered ministers in the Saint Paul Area Synod at least once every five years. You can meet this requirement by participating in one of three learning options. View the offerings here.

Learning Cohorts for Rostered Ministers

As a metro area synod, we have many opportunities to gather, and we do so often. But, however valuable a one-day workshop can be, a life in ministry is also replete with questions and demanded skills that need more time to develop. To help address this need, we offer several sustained small group studies of a critical question or aspect of ministry, designed to teach us and help us live further into our callings. The topics change frequently and we strive to offer opportunities for our leaders to learn with and from one another under the guidance of exceptional facilitators. Many of our learning cohorts are subsidized by the synod, a reflection of our commitment to providing ongoing access to the wealth of experience and resources already present in the Twin Cities.


Past cohort topics have included pastoral care for mental health, becoming an effective supervisor, stewardship, contemplative practices, reading women theologians, conflict and resilience, consensus building and more.

Pamoja: A Congregational Leadership Summit

Building on the strong history of our Bega Kwa Bega relationship, a cohort of rostered ministers from across the synod was formed for a Congregational Leadership Summit in Iringa in February 2020 with 14 of our peers from across the diocese and other partners in mission. In each of our contexts, God’s church is continuing to change and congregational leaders face significant challenges. Whether it be rapid growth and maturation in the ELCT or the necessity of re-engaging one’s community and neighbors in the ELCA, now – perhaps more than ever – we need each other and the wisdom and witness that one another brings. Over the course of a week, through mutual teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer, we found ourselves on The Way together.



With questions or comments about any of these learning opportunities (including a suggestion for a topic or facilitator), contact Leslie Ortiz, executive assistant to the Bishop, at