Equipping Leaders for Mission and Ministry (ELMM) a three-year program to encourage and lift up lay leaders in the congregations throughout the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Through ELMM, lay leaders are equipped for mission and ministry though 12 retreats focused on biblical instruction and a variety of ministry topics including training as a Lutheran Bible Study Leader, Stewardship Specialist, Assisting Minister, and Community Catalyst. These sessions are led by seminary professors, often from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and leaders in the North/West Lower Michigan Synod and full communion partners. 

The textbook,Witnesses to the Word, written by Trinity Lutheran Seminary faculty, provides an overview of the Bible and covers a wide variety of topics. The retreats are supplemented with sessions on church practices and other topics relevant to ministry in our congregations and communities. Some instructors may ask participants to do advance reading and/or written assignments in preparation for a skill day or retreat. Participants might be invited to do reading and/or written assignments as a follow-up after a skill day or retreat​

See a sample curriculum. 


By the end of the program, participants should expect to:

     - Discern their baptismal vocation

     - Experience spiritual growth and faith formation 

     - Develop foundational knowledge of the Scriptures from the Lutheran perspective

     - Cultivate critical thinking skills 

     - Acquire confidence in public speaking

Participants will receive a certificate upon completion and be recognized by the Bishop and Synod Assembly. Although the certificate grants no particular privileges, leaders who complete the program may be commissioned by their home congregations for particular areas of ministry. Note that no congregation is under obligation to commission one who completes the program.