Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Alvin Luedke

Alvin Luedke

Professor of Rural Ministry; Leadership Division Chair

  • Ph.D. (Texas A&M University)
  • M.S. (Texas A&M University)
  • M.Div. (Trinity Lutheran Seminary)

Biography

Alvin Luedke joined the Luther Seminary faculty in July 2001.  Previously, he served as a research associate with the Strategic Policies Research Group and as an interim pastor in Texas since 1998.

Luedke earned a bachelor of science degree in agronomy (Magna Cum Laude) and a master of science degree in sociology from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 1978 and 1993 respectively.  He earned a master of divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, in 1982. In 2002 he completed his Ph.D. in sociology with specialties in rural sociology and demography/human ecology from Texas A & M.

Luedke's professional experience also includes serving as a research associate (1998-2001), an assistant research specialist (1996-1997) and a graduate research assistant (1988-1993, 1995-1996, 1997-1998) at Texas A&M.  He served as a pastor (1982-1988, 1993-1995) at two parishes and as assistant to the pastor (1988-1992) in a third parish, all in Texas. He also served as pastor at a parish in southwestern Minnesota (2001-2003).

He is a member of the Rural Sociological Society, the Rural Church Network in the United States and Canada, the Small Town and Rural (STaR) Ministry Alliance of the ELCA, and International Rural Church Association (IRCA). He is a member and former chair of the Northland Ministries Partnership of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools. He serves on the board of directors for Shalom Hill Farm, is the U.S. representative to the IRCA planning board, and is a former member of the board of directors of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center. He is a member of the Theological Education, Cooperative Ministries, and Leadership affinity groups of the STaR Ministry Alliance. 

Luedke has written or co-written numerous sociological studies. He has co-authored books, Teaching Reflectively in Theological Contexts: Promises and Contradictions, and Demographics: A Guide to Methods and Data Source for Media, Business, and Government. His recent articles include "Opportunities amidst Challenges: Denominations and Rural Ministry"; (Word and World, 2005), "Farm Financial Crisis-Challenges for Ministry among Small town and Rural Communities, Congregations, and Individuals" (Journal of Lutheran Ethics, 2003) and "Dynamic Population Change in Size and Diversity" (Texas Almanac, 2002-2003.) He also is a frequent speaker at Rural ministry conferences which include presentations such as "What is Rural? Why Does it Matter?" (Glendive and Sidney, MT, February 2008), "Rural Ministry in Region 3" (Region 3 Bishops' and Staff Retreat, November 2007), "The Celebration and Challenge of Doing Ministry in Rural Contexts" (NW Wisconsin Synod, March 2004) and " Rural Congregations and Mission: The Nations at Our Doors" (Lutheran Mission Conference, March 2003).

Courses

RM 4575 01LDRSP FOR HOPE IN STAR MINISTRIES Summer Term 2017-2018

Students use best practice model from the book Discovering Hope: Building Vitality in Rural Congregations to explore STaR ministry. Special emphases are placed on the context of STaR communities and congregations, effective congregational and community leadership in the STaR context, and the role of the laity in STaR ministries.

RM 4550 01 S6LEADERSHIP IN MULTI-POINT PARISHES Spring Semester 2017-2018

This course studies the changing patterns of small town and rural (STaR) ministry and the formation of multi-point parishes. It addresses the challenges and opportunities for ministry in these settings. Leadership, administrative, and planning aspects for ministry are explored.

RM 4515 01MINISTRY IN SMALL TOWN AND RURAL January Term 2017-2018

Students, together with clergy and lay persons from small town and rural congregations, study issues affecting America’s small town and rural (STaR) communities. Clergy and lay persons from STaR congregations and communities are engaged as part of the course. Contexts include southwestern Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. Implications for ministry and leadership in these contexts are explored. Because contexts change, course may be repeated for credit. Course may fulfill cross-cultural requirement. MEETS TWO WEEKS OFF SITE IN SOUTHWESTERN MINNESOTA AND WESTERN NORTH DAKOTA ORIENTATION SESSION - DEC. 8, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM AND DEBRIEFING SESSION FOLLOWING - TBA JAN. 8-14 SHALOM HILL FARM; JAN. 14-22 WESTERN ND

RM 4510 01EXPL SMALL TOWN AND RURAL MINISTRY Fall Semester 2017-2018

The course introduces students to small town and rural (STaR) communities and congregations, with the goal of students reflecting on implications for leadership in the Church within STaR communities. Emphasis is placed on economic, population/ethnic/cultural, and environmental transitions that are affecting communities and congregations in small town and rural America. Course may fulfill cross-cultural requirement.

CL 7532 01THEOL FOUNDATIONS CONG VIT PART II DMIN Session II - CML 2017-2018

This seminar helps participants implement the thesis proposal that was developed in the previous seminar, a thesis proposal that incorporates a theologically-informed use of social science research. Participants are also guided through the writing process of drafting the first four chapters of their eventual thesis—introduction, literature review and theoretical perspectives, biblical and theological perspectives, and research methodology.

CL 7542 01PROGRAM REVIEW AND THESIS PROPOSAL DMIN Session II - CML 2017-2018

This seminar provides students with a structured process to implement the research design of their approved research proposal and to incorporate their findings into their final thesis. The seminar meets for a work session to help participants finalize their research and process their results. Full course

RM 4545 01 S6SMALL TOWN AND RURAL CHURCH ORG Spring Semester 2016-2017

This course studies the organizational structure of rural congregations and explores models of leadership within them. A theology of church administration and the administrative skills necessary for effective leadership in small town and rural (STaR) congregations are addressed

RM 4515 01MINISTRY IN SMALL TOWN AND RURAL January Term 2016-2017

Students, together with clergy and lay persons from small town and rural congregations, study issues affecting America’s small town and rural (STaR) communities. Clergy and lay persons from STaR congregations and communities are engaged as part of the course. Contexts include southwestern Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. Implications for ministry and leadership in these contexts are explored. Because contexts change, course may be repeated for credit. A $100 non-refundable deposit may be required. TWO WEEK IMMERSION; FULFILLS CROSS-CULTURAL CURRIC EQUIVALENCIES JANUARY 9-15, 2017 AT SHALOM HILL FARMS JANUARY 16-22, 2017 AT RED WILLOW BIBLE CAMP, EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA ORIENTATION DATE - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 11 AM - 12:30 PM; MTG IN NW 210E

RM 4535 01CHANGING POP AND ECON OF STAR COMM Fall Semester 2016-2017

This course explores the development, structure, and maintenance of small town and rural (STaR) communities. The role of the church in community and the effects of change in population, agriculture, economy, and community are explored. Future challenges for leaders of STaR congregations are addressed. FALL 2016: WILL MEET FIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS AND SATURDAY DAYS

CL 7532 01THEOL FOUNDATIONS CONG VIT PART II DMIN Session II - CML 2016-2017

This seminar helps participants implement the thesis proposal that was developed in the previous seminar, a thesis proposal that incorporates a theologically-informed use of social science research. Participants are also guided through the writing process of drafting the first four chapters of their eventual thesis—introduction, literature review and theoretical perspectives, biblical and theological perspectives, and research methodology.

CL 7531 01THEOL FOUNDATIONS FOR CONG VIT-PT 1DMIN Session I - CML 2016-2017

This seminar engages the difference missional theology makes for the renewal of congregational life and practices in relationship with neighbors and the common good. Particular attention is given to helping participants understand an action research design that employs a mixed-method strategy in leading a congregation through a change process. The project for this seminar is a thesis proposal that serves as the framework for guiding the implementation of students’ planned research and the development of their thesis. COURSE MEETS JULY 10-14, 2017

CL 7541 01INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS DMIN Session I - CML 2016-2017

This yearlong seminar provides students with a structured process to implement the research design of their approved research proposal and to incorporate their findings into their final thesis. The seminar meets during the year (in person or virtually) for three work sessions in helping all participants finalize the chapters of their theses. Two full courses. COURSE MEETS JUNE 27-29 AND NOVEMBER 13-15, 2017

CD 1675 01ENVIRON AND REL IN NORTH APPALACHIASummer Term 2015-2016

Northern Appalachia is home to deeply-rooted local cultures in a beautiful landscape. Conflicts defined by environmental and economic issues are fierce for both communities and churches. This seminar will give students an inside look and an opportunity to strategize for dealing with conflict in and around ministry. The environmental history of the landscape’s use and abuse, the shape of human cultures expressed by people of different traditions, and the history of tightly held religious patterns, will frame discussions with religious, environmental and industrial leaders from the region. The course meets at Lutherlyn in Butler, PA, and makes day trips in the region. Sponsored by the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center (AMERC) of Berea, Kentucky, which offsets some of the expenses for housing, meals and travel. Joint offering between Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and Luther Seminary. Use ELCA Reciprocity Course Registration Form found on MLN / Registration / Forms.

RM 4575 S6LDRSP FOR HOPE IN STAR MINISTRIES Spring Semester 2015-2016

Students use best practice model from the book Discovering Hope: Building Vitality in Rural Congregations to explore STaR ministry. Special emphases are placed on the context of STaR communities and congregations, effective congregational and community leadership in the STaR context, and the role of the laity in STaR ministries.

SG 0601 50 C5VOCATIONAL FORMATION-LEARNING LDR ISpring Semester 2015-2016

COHORT 5 FOR SG0601-50.

RM 4515 01MINISTRY IN SMALL TOWN AND RURAL January Term 2015-2016

Students, together with clergy and lay persons from small town and rural congregations, study issues affecting America’s small town and rural (STaR) communities. Clergy and lay persons from STaR congregations and communities are engaged as part of the course. Contexts include southwestern Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. Implications for ministry and leadership in these contexts are explored. Because contexts change, course may be repeated for credit. A $100 non-refundable deposit may be required. Course may fulfill cross-cultural requirement. PRE-WORK REQUIREMENTS. ORIENTATION SESSION FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2015, 11:30 AM -12:30 PM; MUST REGISTER BY DECEMBER 4 WILL MEET AT SHALOM HILL FARM JANUARY 11-17 AND EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA JANUARY 18-24 ELCA RECIPROCITY COURSE

RM 4510 01EXPL SMALL TOWN AND RURAL MINISTRY Fall Semester 2015-2016

The Northland Partnership is part of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools. For several years, the Partnership has sponsored courses related to ministry in small town and rural (STaR) communities. The courses have featured topics of concern to those planning to engage in STaR pastoral ministry. The intent of the course is to suggest ways to engage in effective pastoral ministry taking into account how ministry is influenced by STaR culture and community, new immigrant peoples, economic challenges, and by challenges to the natural environment. Course may fulfill cross-cultural requirement. SEPTEMBER 18 - ORIENTATION MEETING OCTOBER 2-4, OCTOBER 16-18, NOVEMBER 13-15, 2015, MEETS AT SHALOM FILL FARM THREE WEEKENDS FRIDAY NOON - SUNDAY 6:00 PM FINAL CLASS MEETING - TBD

CL 7531 01THEOL FOUNDATIONS FOR CONG VIT-PT 1DMIN Session I - CML 2015-2016

This seminar engages the difference missional theology makes for the renewal of congregational life and practices in relationship with neighbors and the common good. Particular attention is given to helping participants understand an action research design that employs a mixed-method strategy in leading a congregation through a change process. The project for this seminar is a thesis proposal that serves as the framework for guiding the implementation of students’ planned research and the development of their thesis. COURSE MEETS JULY 18-22, 2016

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