Students at commencement

Christian Public Leader (CPL)

Take part in God's work with ministry partners


The CPL program explores Christian Public Leadership by attending to leadership in the midst of particular communities and their distinct contextual realities. In this course, students will expand their leadership capacity by leading and being in dialogue with a particular ministry context. With this ministry context as their primary conversation partner, students will critically reflect on themselves as leaders, discover the communal nature of leadership, explore different spiritual practices, and develop their own leadership practices. Particular attention will be given to praxis, contextualization, and integrative approaches to ministry which will all be connected to student’s degree program or concentration of study. Students will examine assumptions about God, communities, and neighbor in their particular contexts.


There are four consecutive semesters of CPL. In partnership with the faculty, precept group leaders, and contextual site mentors, each of the four sections will focus on a particular topic:

  • Who am I as a Christian Public Leader? (SG0501)
  • Being Public Leaders in a Public Church (SG0502)
  • Systems and Leading Change (FE0523)
  • Lifelong Learners and Leaders (FE0524).

Who participates in CPL?


Beginning Fall 2016: All M.A. and M.Div. candidates must complete SG0501 and SG0502 as Signature courses consecutively in the first and second semester of their degree program. In order to accommodate varying student schedules, SG0501 is therefore offered both Fall and Spring term and SG0502 is offered both Spring and Summer term.

M.A. and M.Div. candidates in Leadership concentrations will go on to complete FE0523 and FE0524 as core components of their degree. All other M.A. and M.Div. candidates may complete FE0523 and FE0524 as electives. FE0523 and FE0524 are therefore offered in Fall and Spring terms respectively.

Pre-Fall 2016: FE 0521 - FE 0524 Christian Public Leader is required for four consecutive semesters for M.A. candidates with Leadership concentrations (Children Youth and Family, Congregational and Community Care, or Congregational Mission and Leadership) and M.Div. candidates in Children Youth and Family. All other M.A. and M.Div. students may take FE 0523 and FE 0524 as an elective course. Students should consult with their judicatory body (i.e., their candidacy committee) to determine contextual requirements.

Note: The CPL program assumes that, supported by the faculty and precept group leaders, a seminarian will participate in a contextual site at an average of five hours/week or twenty hours/month on a volunteer basis. If the seminarian participates at a greater number of hours per week or month, Christian Public Leader sites offer compensation. Contextual Learning recommended guidelines are $11.00 - $12.00 per hour.

How do I learn more about CPL?

  • Mentors: Visit the For Mentors page for details; please check with Contextual Learning for information about this semester’s placement process (contextuallearning@luthersem.edu).
  • Students: Visit the For Students page for details; please check with Contextual Learning and/or review your SG 0501, SG 0502, FE 0523, and/or FE 0524 coursepages for this semester’s placement process.