St Stephen Lutheran Church of Waterdord MI

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SMP Frequently Asked Questions

How does the SMP student take classes? What happens in each class.

 The majority of classes are done online. The student has weekly readings, reflection and discussion with a mentor. He also submits critical reviews of readings to his seminary instructor and there is a weekly two hour class with the instructor. Each online class goes for eleven weeks.


There are also “intensive” classes that are week long at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Terry has just attended one the last week of June. There is a required intensive every January. The summer intensive can be online or residential. It is good to have the SMP student go to the seminary.


The curriculum is designed to create competencies in biblical and doctrinal knowledge as well practical congregational leadership. For example, the student writes an assortment of sermons to share with the congregation as well as leading as a liturgist in worship.


How long is an SMP Vicarage?

 A vicarage is a type of internship that lasts up to two years. In the case of pastoral preparation for a Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) The vicarage is concurrent to his course work.


What is the SMP Mentor / Supervisor?

 SMP students are required to have a mentor and a supervisor, which could be the same person. With the departure of Pastor Ben, Pastor Mark Schwichtenberg, from St. John, Rochester, serves as Terry’s mentor. The Michigan District assigned Pastor Mark as Terry’s mentor. Terry and his mentor meet once a week for a minimum of 2 hours. The time is dedicated to the course work and development of the pastor’s heart.


When Interim Pastor Dan arrived at St. Stephen, he assumed the role as Terry’s onsite supervisor. Pastor Dan’s role is to encourage the SMP in the other functions of the congregation. This could include congregational administration, develop of the annual budget as well as day-to-day operations of the congregation.


How does the ordination process work for an SMP?

 When the congregation voted to support Terry entering into the SMP program, St. Stephen agreed to encourage his growth as a pastor in the two year vicarage as well as release time for him to do his seminary classes. Now that the vicarage is nearing completion Terry is ready to receive a Call to our congregation. This is a normal part of the process that originated when the voter’s assembly approved his SMP status about two years ago.


On Monday evening, August 13 at 7pm, we will gather as a voter’s assembly to issue him a Call. This will change Terry’s status from a vicar to an ordained pastor.


Once we approve the Call, the congregation will submit the documentation to the seminary and the District. The first call is issued from the Council of Presidents of the LCMS. For the SMP candidate this call is given to the congregation where he received his training.


The paperwork is due to the seminary by August 31 so the call can be issued in a timely manner. This would happen in December 2018 when he has completed the classwork for this first phase. At this point, the congregation will have a service to ordain Terry and celebrate his entrance into the pastoral ministry.


How Does this change what Terry does for St. Stephen?

 Terry will still continue as the worship leader but now he will be Pastor Terry. He will do Word and Sacrament ministry and now he can officially do weddings.


The congregation has the liberty to redesign his job description so he serves in more of a pastoral role making hospital calls, pastoral counseling, designing a sermon series as well as the administrative structures of the congregation.


His ordination also permits him to serve as a sole pastor in a congregation but cannot supervise other pastors as a senior pastor. The designation also makes available for a call to other SMP congregations.


For St. Stephen, we will value his partnership as a pastor on staff serving primarily as our worship leader and his other pastoral responsibilities.


When is the program finished?

 At this time, Terry is considering his next steps. He does have the opportunity to do an additional two years of class work that will give him a Masters in Divinity.




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Adult Bible Study Sunday, February 17 @ 9:15 AM
Sunday School Sunday, February 17 @ 9:15 AM
Online Scrip Orders Due Sunday, February 17 @ 7:00 PM
Stephen Ministers at St. Trinity Monday, February 18 @ 1:00 PM
WinGS Meeting Monday, February 18 @ 7:00 PM


St Stephen Lutheran Church | 3795 Sashabaw Road Waterford, MI 48329
Phone Number: (248) 673-6621  |  Email:

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