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Recertification: Inactive for Five or More Years

  Re-Entry Process for WELS Teachers Who Have Been Inactive for

More Than Five Years (and have not taught anywhere during that time)


Teachers in this category are no longer certified and must follow the steps below in order to become recertified and re-enter active ministry.


Step 1

The applicant contacts the district president of the district in which he or she last served to inform the district president of his or her desire to re-enter WELS ministry. The applicant includes a letter of reference from his or her current pastor, and if applicable, a professional resume, including employment outside of WELS schools.

Step 2

The district president or his designated representative interviews the returning teacher. The interview covers the following areas:  1) church membership status, 2) reasons for leaving the ministry, 3) reasons for desiring to return to the teaching ministry, 4) concerns the teacher may have about returning to the classroom, and 5) matters of doctrine and practice.


Step 3

A total of three semester credits of course work selected from offerings in education and/or religion, as approved by Martin Luther College, is required. This course work can be done on campus or through MLC satellite or online courses. Local college courses may also be acceptable. If the applicant is serving in a provisional Call, the MLC Director of Synod Certification consults with the principal regarding what coursework is in the best interest of the applicant and the school. Formal verification of course completion must be forwarded to the Director of Synod Certification at Martin Luther College. A cover letter is included with the documentation.


Step 4

A period of observation and teaching to be determined by the Martin Luther College Director of Synod Certification is required. This observation and teaching must take place in the classroom of a WELS school taught by a certified WELS teacher who has at least five years of teaching experience. The school principal completes and submits a form to the Director of Synod Certification at Martin Luther College verifying the satisfactory completion of this requirement. A cover letter should be included with the documentation. When this is completed, Martin Luther College informs the appropriate district president that the applicant has satisfactorily fulfilled the required coursework and observation/teaching.


Step 5

When steps 1-4 are satisfactorily completed, the district president declares the teacher recertified and forwards the appropriate documentation to the Commission on Lutheran Schools. Note: The teacher who has not fulfilled all of the recertification conditions above but is in the process of doing so may be approved for use on call lists at the discretion of the district president, but will not be declared recertified until all the requirements have been met. If the teacher has received a provisional call, the observation and teaching requirement in step 4 may take place in the teacher’s own classroom.


Step 6

The applicant contacts the office of the Commission on Lutheran Schools to inform them of his or her desire to re-enter WELS ministry and to update his or her Inactive Teacher Inventory Form.


Step 7

Where appropriate, the teacher’s name is used by the Commission on Lutheran Schools and the district president on Divine Call lists. Teachers who have not been recertified are only eligible for a provisional Divine Call which must be reissued annually. A teacher holding a provisional call commits him/herself to completing the recertification requirements as soon as possible but no later than three years. The calling body and the school principal monitor the teacher’s progress toward meeting the requirements and keep the district president informed of that progress.