The Initial SAM Ministry Agreement will begin on the date agreed to by the SAM and the congregation council and end the following December 31. If this agreement is entered into in October, November, or December, it will be up for renewal on December 31 of the following year. SAM Ministry Renewal Agreements are dated from January 1 to December 31.
In Holy Baptism we are called by the promise of God into a relationship of faith toward God and love toward one another. This relationship finds expression in our gathering as congregations of the church to hear God's Word, eat and drink at the Lord's Table, and minister to the needs of the community and God's world.
As Lutheran congregations, we set apart and equip persons to lead and assist us in our ministry: to preach, teach, comfort, and guide us in and with the love of God, and to oversee the events and activities of our life in Christ. Our Confessions identify those set apart for such service as ordained Ministers of Word and Sacrament.
The ELCA recognizes that in certain circumstances, leadership by an ordained pastor may not be a possibility. In such circumstances, it falls to the bishop to ensure that Word and Sacrament ministry is provided. This church provides for the appointment and authorization of properly prepared laypersons to provide this ministry as an extension of the bishop's office.
Certified Synod Authorized Ministers (SAMs) have been identified, instructed, and equipped for service in a congregation when full or part-time pastoral services are not available or where ministry needs exceed the resources of the present leadership. Assigned SAMs may be authorized for sacraments, funerals, and weddings—for their congregation(s) only—according to the policies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the North Carolina Synod. Sacramental authorization must be renewed annually.