By Monica Perin
Ken Weiss was a full-time youth and family director at Christ Lutheran in Brenham when then-Pastor Blair Lundborg asked him why he wasn’t considering a career in the ministry. He thought about it and realized it really was his calling. But with a full-time job and family to consider, going off to a distant four-year seminary program wasn’t an option.
“I kept hearing about TEEM, so I checked into it,” says Weiss. TEEM stands for “Theological Education for Emerging Ministries” and it provides an alternate route to ordination for candidates who are a bit older, and they are living and serving in a faith community where they are seen as a spiritual leader. It takes three years to complete the program, and then they can then be certified for ordination.
Thanks to increasing grants from the Park Place Fund, scholarships are now being made to candidates in the TEEM program through the synod’s Candidacy Committee, says Pastor Steve Quill. These grants are administered as part of the synod’s Mission Endowment Fund.
Weiss, who will be ordained and installed at Ebenezer Lutheran in Brenham on February 17, received scholarships through the TEEM program to take distance training plus several on-site stints at Wartburg Seminary in Iowa. Weiss completed the program in December.
The program and the scholarship “really were critical” in enabling Weiss to obtain certification for ordination, he says. “The scholarships were a tremendous blessing.”
Weiss, who has been married to wife Kathy for 37 years and has two grown sons, has been serving as pastor at Ebenezer for three years with special authorization from the synod bishop. The small rural congregation had been without a pastor for 18 months before that.