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November 2017

God is calling us to lead faithful innovation

“The Holy Spirit Calls Luther Seminary to lead faithful innovation for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a rapidly changing world.” 

Our new vision statement emerged following months of deep conversation and engagement with the story in Acts 16:6-15 and with both internal and external constituencies. We have been wondering, thinking, praying and imagining as a community where God’s Holy Spirit is leading us to better serve the mission needs of the church. 

Faithful innovation means we need to listen and learn from others in new ways. One of the ways we continue to learn how God calling us to lead faithful innovation is learning from the places where our global students return to lead. As I write this I am in Tanzania preparing to speak at the Reformation gathering hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. They have rented the soccer stadium but there is some concern as it only seats 70,000 people. 4,000 young people will be confirmed. The church here is growing rapidly yet also faces challenges with a message from certain religious groups that says prosperity and God’s blessing can be yours if you pay a fee. The message of the Reformation that God’s liberating grace is free, no exceptions, is a word the Lutheran Church in Tanzania is working hard to share. 

I’ll have a chance to meet with a group of more than 200 Tanzanian pastors, deacons and lay evangelists to learn how they are responding to their contextual realities. Their leadership in evangelizing and sharing the Gospel with their neighbors will be an important learning which I will bring back to our context. I am already hearing from some of them how important our free resources - Working Preacher, Enter the Bible and God Pause - help them to engage the study of scripture each week as they prepare to lead bible studies and preach. There is a wide network of lay evangelists and deacons who are hungry for theological education. Our resources help address this hunger. Thank you for your support which keeps Working Preacher resources available to reach people in all corners of the world. 

Faithful innovation for the sake of Gospel of Jesus Christ also means that research really matters. In this issue you will be introduced to a new resource written by Prof. Matt Skinner, one of our faculty members who is a leader in research, writing and teaching. 

Faithful innovation comes in some unusual and very creative ways. We want to introduce you to a bread baking ministry and the ways that Dean Safe reached people who may not be engaged by a traditional ministry but are touched by God’s Holy Spirit through this ministry. 

This church year is coming to a close. We invite you to share in the advent devotionals which will be available in the coming weeks. Please use and share widely this free resource to strengthen your prayer life in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. 

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