A Congregational Assistant is a called worker who works within his or her own congregation assisting the congregation and its pastor in various areas of service.
There are many areas of service to which an assistant can be called. The work an assistant may do mainly depends on the needs of the congregation and the talents of the worker. Some of the areas of service that assistants have been called to include outreach and evangelism, senior ministry, youth and family ministry, adult spiritual growth, assimilation, visitation ministry, and mentoring and coordinating volunteers.
An assistant call could take the form of a volunteer position, a part-time salaried position, or a full-time salaried position. Because calling bodies may find needs for assistants of either gender, the program is open to men and women alike.
One strength of the program is that students are able to serve while they are studying, and what is learned can immediately be applied in the local setting.
The mission of the Congregational Assistant Program, under the guidance of Martin Luther College, is to assist pastors and staff ministers in training qualified and confident leaders in their Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) congregations. CAP provides a range of biblical and practical courses available to all WELS members to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. CAP also encourages and supports WELS members as they discover and develop their God-given talents and abilities to serve others and to glorify God in the church, community, and the world.
The final component of the program, the only element that is not offered locally, is a 10-day CAPstone Session split between New Ulm, Minnesota and Milwaukee and Mequon, Wisconsin. Students typically participate in CAPstone after completing the other program requirements over a three or four year period.
The assistant courses do not earn credit toward any other form of synod certification except the Pastoral Studies Institute of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
For the two-week CAPstone Session there is a minimal fee for the courses taught, a fee for room and board, and whatever the student's transportation costs might be.
Hosting a one-day seminar requires a $300.00 fee from the host congregation and $10.00 from each participant. Congregations may work together and co-host a seminar and share the $300.00 fee.