Each ELCI congregation is led by a Church Council and a pastor. The pastor, male or female, is elected by the Assembly of the congregation for a period of six years with the possibility of extension. As a rule, pastors are sent on a mission to serve a congregation in Italy from the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Women pastors started to be ordained in the Evangelical churches in Germany from the 1960s, thus there are several female pastors serving the ELCI congregations today. Pastors may get married. In some cases, pastor couples, husband and wife both serving as pastors, may share their pastorate with a congregation.
The duties of a pastor include to proclaim the Gospel (preaching), administer sacraments, teach catechism to young people and adults, provide pastoral care and officiate at weddings and funerals. In addition, pastors also carry out administrative tasks and activities with the groups in the congregations and much more.
To become a pastor, the first step is to study theology at an Evangelical faculty and earn a degree in Protestant theology. The next step is to do a two-year practical training course, the so-called vicariate. The vicariate is concluded with a further exam. The theologian can now be ordained as a pastor and start his/ her activity in a congregation.