Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Alvin Luedke

Alvin Luedke

Professor of Rural Ministry

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


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).



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.

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


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 guiding 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 7551 01THESIS PROJECT DMIN Session II - CML 2015-2016

This year long 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 for three two-day work sessions in helping all participants finalize the chapters of their theses. Course will be registered as 0.5 course in both CL terms.

View new and notable publications from our faculty.

Faculty Publications