Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Carla M. Dahl

Carla M. Dahl

Professor of Congregational and Community Care Leadership


Carla M. Dahl joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 2011 as professor of congregational and community care leadership. Dahl previously served as professor of formation, lead faculty for the Marriage and Family Therapy Program and dean of the Center for Spiritual Formation at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, Minn. for 16 years. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and a therapist and consultant in private practice.

Dahl brings to Luther Seminary years of teaching and research experience having served a number of academic institutions throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Among her many positions of leadership and teaching in the areas of counseling and family, Dahl served the University of Minnesota, Saint Mary's University and Bethel College. She developed Bethel Seminary's marriage and family therapy program and has served as the vice president for the religion and family section of the National Council on Family Relations.

Dahl is co-author of Becoming Whole and Holy: An Integrative Conversation About Christian Formation and has authored articles and chapters in areas such as families and spirituality, phenomenological research methods, fundamentalism as a system process, spiritual and personal formation and the training of clergy and marriage and family therapists.

Dahl's research has been funded by the Association of Theological Schools, the Lilly Endowment and the University of Minnesota. Her areas of specialization as a practitioner include individual and couples therapy, leadership consultation and coaching and program development and design.

Dahl received a B.A. degree from Bethel College in Saint Paul, Minn. (1976), a M.A. degree from Saint Thomas University in Saint Paul, Minn. (1982) and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (1994).


CG 3513 01SINGLENESS MARRIAGE AND FAMILY Spring Semester 2015-2016

Informed by biblical, theological, and scientific approaches to personhood and relationships, frameworks are provided for congregational and pastoral care ministries with persons who are single, divorced, preparing for marriage, married, and in families. Students learn enrichment, crisis counseling, conflict resolution, and community support skills. Special attention is paid to challenges that arise in parenting, immigration, situations of unemployment, and abuse.

CG 3544 01PRINCIPLE AND PRACT OF PAST COUNSELSpring Semester 2015-2016

This course integrates biblical, theological, theoretical, and neurobiological understandings of therapeutic and pastoral prevention, enrichment, and intervention. Protocols are examined and basic counseling skills are practiced for common pastoral counseling situations, such as premarriage and remarriage counseling, uncomplicated grief, couple conflict, and parent-child interaction. Students explore the development of interventions and healing rituals for congregational and community crises. Particular attention is given to ethical issues, intercultural dynamics, and capacity for reflective practice. It is recommended that students take CG525 or CG530 prior to this course.

CG 0530 01FOUNDATIONS OF CONG AND COMM CARE January Term 2015-2016

An investigation of the resources, methodologies, and approaches to pastoral care ministry on the basis and theological understanding of God and human experience. Pastoral care issues are addressed in relationship to the multiplicity of contexts in which ministry occurs.


This course introduces students to concepts and practices in the care and formation of persons, families, and congregations with attention to diversity within cultures, ecclesial traditions, and generations. Attention will be given to paradigm shifts in the practice of ministry from classical models to clinical/professional models, and now to communal and contextual models of care and formation, so that students have historical frameworks to develop a holistic vision for ministry. Integrating theological and social scientific resources and engaging contemporary issues and challenges in the world, this course will offer students a framework for care and formation that involves listening (to God, to neighbor, and to self) interpreting pressing challenges in care and formation, and developing effective responses for leading ministries of care and formation in a variety of settings.

LD 0515 01PROFESSIONAL VOCATION IN CHR LDRSP Fall Semester 2015-2016

This course introduces students in the MA professional degree track to a variety of understandings of church, the nature of Christian leadership and ministry concentrations within their programs. Students will reflect on and cultivate their own ecclesiology based on core theological commitments and their ministry concentration, be introduced to a missiological understanding of the church's identity, and be challenged to examine leadership theologically and theoretically.

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Faculty Publications