Ministry in Context

Fall Cluster Meetings

Twin Cities West Metro: October 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Richfield. (Steve McKinley) 

Washington-Alaska-Montana Cluster: October 15-16 at Rainbow Lodge, North Bend, WA. (Julie Josund)

Southeastern Minnesota: October 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Rochester. (Steve McKinley) 

Northern Minnesota-North Dakota: October 22 at Peace Lutheran Church in Fargo. (Chris Scharen) 

Southwestern Minnesota: October 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the

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Wreck this Journal

My lovely wife gave me a gift for my birthday that is absolutely driving me nuts.

She knows very well that I love blank journals. Give me a Moleskine and I go to my happy place. And if a pen comes with it, all the better.  It is an article of faith for me that a person can never have too many journals or too many pens. 

So here’s this gift called “Wreck This Journal.” Every page has an instruction on it.  For example:

  • Figure Out A Way To Freeze This Page
  • Write

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Director's Word

This month I have a specific invitation to interns who will be returning to campus at Luther Seminary. Over the past few years we've developed a pattern of welcoming returning interns by listening to your stories (and inviting you to listen to each other's stories) about internship. This year we'll do this on Wednesday, September 4, from 1:30-5:00 p.m.

As we said in an email to you earlier this summer, we know the return to campus can be rough. We know you've grown in your leadership, and have lived

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Matching the Words and the Music

During a long car ride last week we popped in an old CD, and I heard a song from deep in my past that always makes me laugh.

When I was in high school the singer Bobby Darin had a short-term hit with a song called “Artificial Flowers.” What amuses me about the song is this: while the narrative is “tragic”/maudlin (a nine year old orphan girl freezes to death), the music that goes with it is relentlessly cheerful and upbeat. If you just heard the music, you’d want to

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Preparing the Pastors We Need: Part Three

This is the last in a series of posts drawing from a little book by George Mason titled Preparing the Pastors We Need: Reclaiming the Congregation’s Role in Training Clergy (Alban, 2012). The book could be described as practical guidance for congregations and clergy interested in supporting excellent "in context" learning for clergy in training. This applies to many contexts, not just the particular sort of pastoral residency Mason has led at Wilshire Baptist, the church he leads in Dallas. 

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When is Internship Over?

You in the back row…when is internship over?

When you give your last sermon in the internship congregation.

Wrong. Over by the windows, what do you think?

When the congregation has its farewell party.

Sorry. You in the front, sticking your hand up and jumping up and down.

When you move back to campus.

Wrong. Anybody else want to try?

I didn’t think so. Here is the correct answer. Internship is over when all of your evaluation forms have been returned to the Contextual Leadership

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Director's Word

As we turn to summer, and all the changes the turn of the seasons offer, this beautiful reflection by poet Mary Oliver encourages us to linger, to pay attention, and to wonder what God would have us do with our one wild and precious life!

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth

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Preparing the Pastors We Need II: Forming a Team

In May’s issue of Ministry of Context I began a series of articles drawing from a little book by George Mason titled Preparing the Pastors We Need: Reclaiming the Congregation’s Role in Training Clergy (Alban, 2012). Pr. Mason has led Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas since 1989. For the past 12 years, Wilshire has hosted a pastoral residency program focused on mentoring young pastors in their first years after graduation from seminary.

In the last post I discussed the crucial feature

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Learnings from the Road

I was more-or-less out of touch for a couple weeks in May. Pat and I were on a “Turbo Tour” of Europe, touching the soil of eleven different countries in the company of other Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders. Most of the Americans were contemporaries of ours, meaning folks who can remember when Dwight David Eisenhower was president and your television picture, if you were fortunate enough to have one of those new-fangled devices, came in two colors: black and white.

Pat and

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The Craft of Ministry

By Ingrid Arneson Rasmussen

I just got off the phone with my dad. He is on a vacationing in Grand Marais, MN. Each summer he gets in the car, drives the eight hours north, and plants himself on the shores of Lake Superior for several days. It’s his solo pilgrimage—one he takes with thousands of other Minnesotans. He didn’t describe the stops he made along the way; he didn’t need to. A donut at Tobies, gas in Duluth, smoked fish in Two Harbors, a soda in Silver Bay, and another

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