Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Terri L. Elton

Terri L. Elton

Associate Professor of Leadership

Biography

Terri Martinson Elton began teaching at Luther Seminary as an adjunct instructor in 2004 before becoming the director of the Center for Children, Youth and Family Ministry in 2008. In addition to her continued work with the Center, Elton accepted the position of associate professor of Children, Youth and Family Ministry in 2010 and associate professor of Leadership in 2014.

Prior to her call to Luther Seminary, Elton served as an associate to the bishop in the Saint Paul Area Synod where her responsibilities included working with congregations, leadership development, First Call theological education and youth and family ministry.

Before her work in the synod, she served at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minn. for 16 years. While at Prince of Peace she worked in various roles within children, youth and family ministries, as well as served as the director of Changing Church Forum, an outreach ministry of Prince of Peace.  She also authored To Know, To Live, To Grow, a confirmation curriculum, and co-authored What Really Matters, a book for congregational leaders, with the Rev. Mike Foss.

Elton holds a B.A. degree in communications from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. (1986). She earned both her M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2007) degrees in Congregational Mission and Leadership from Luther Seminary.

Elton's research and teaching interests include: congregational leadership, leading in the midst of change and conflict, helping ministry leaders craft a missional ecclesiology with an eye toward the First Third of Life, awakening a vibrant theology of baptism and vocation and reimagining faith and mission practices for children, youth, young adults and their families.

Elton is a member of the Academy of Religious Leadership, the Association of Youth Ministry Educators, the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and the American Society of Missiology and is on the board for Real Resources. Elton spends much of her time working with congregations and congregational leaders and seeks out opportunities for enhancing ministry with those in the First Third of Life within the ELCA.

Featured Work

Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World

Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Nov. 2016)

Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World shares emerging practices for leading and organizing congregations and nonprofits in our increasingly networked lives. Drawing on studies of congregations across denominations, and nonprofits with historic ties to faith communities, Hayim Herring and Terri Elton share practical, research-based guidance for how these organizations can more deeply engage with their communities and advance their impact in a socially connected world.

Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World

Courses

CL 4550 01TRAVEL- MISSIONAL CHURCH IN CONTEXTFall Semester 2017-2018

The Missional Church in Context is a travel course that provides students an opportunity to spend concentrated time in a congregation that is seeking to be a missional church. Normally students will spend a week on-site in the congregation in addition to completing reading and writing assignments. FALL 2017: OCTOBER TRAVEL 10/11-13. NO PREREQUISITE REQUIRED FOR FALL 2017. STUDENT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TRAVEL COSTS. CONTACT INSTRUCTOR FOR DETAILS AND TO BE REGISTERED ON TENTATIVE LIST.

LD 0540 01INNOVATION WITHIN CONG AND OTHER Fall Semester 2017-2018

This course addresses the adaptive challenges congregations and nonprofits face with a missional imagination and a disciplined approach to innovation. Drawing from the disciplines of theology and the fields of innovation theories, change management, and design, students will develop capacities for discovering adaptive challenges, practice using design-thinking, gain capacities for leadership agility, and learn theories of innovation.

LD 0540 50INNOVATION WITHIN CONG AND OTHER Fall Semester 2017-2018

This course addresses the adaptive challenges congregations and nonprofits face with a missional imagination and a disciplined approach to innovation. Drawing from the disciplines of theology and the fields of innovation theories, change management, and design, students will develop capacities for discovering adaptive challenges, practice using design-thinking, gain capacities for leadership agility, and learn theories of innovation.

SG 0405 01LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION Fall Semester 2017-2018

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership.

SG 0501 50CHRISTIAN PUBLIC LDR I-WHO AM I AS Fall Semester 2017-2018

Each section of Christian Public Leader will focus on a particular topic. This section’s focus is: “Who am I as a Christian Public Leader?” In this course, we discover the ministry strengths and assets unique to one’s self, as well as the strengths and assets of one’s ministry context. The format for this course will include weekly engagement throughout the semester. While delivered in an online format, this course offers both synchronous and asynchronous monthly lectures, as well as both online and residential precept sessions. Pass/Fail Grading only. Fall 2017 - course meets 9/7, 10/5, 11/2, 12/7 at designated time/day - online

SG 0502 50CHRISTIAN PUBLIC LDR-II-ONLINE Summer Term 2016-2017

Each section of Christian Public Leader will focus on a particular topic as well as one’s vocational formation as a Christian public leader. This section’s focus is on: “discovering the broader implications of one’s intercultural competencies, as well as the church’s identity and voice in the public square.” The format for this course will include weekly engagement throughout the semester. While delivered in an online format, this course offers both synchronous and asynchronous monthly lectures, as well as both online and residential precept sessions. Pass/fail grading only. NOTES: Student must complete SG0501 or equivalent before taking SG0502. Internship and CPL cannot be taken concurrently. See course syllabus for complete schedule details.

CL 4525 50 F6THEO LDRSHP ADDRESS CHANGE AND CONFSpring Semester 2016-2017

A course that helps students develop a framework for engaging and addressing organizational change and conflict within congregations. Biblical and theological resources will be put into conversation with organizational theory literature and the behavioral sciences in an effort to clarify the leader’s role in leading change processes and developing effective strategies in addressing church conflict.

LD 0530 50MISSIONAL LDRSP IN PROF SET-ONLINE Spring Semester 2016-2017

This course serves as a final capstone course for the three MA degrees in the Leadership Division. Students will demonstrate their ability to integrate theology, theory and practice in the creation and defense of a capstone project centered on a current issue in their concentration area. Capstone projects might include a practical ministry project or an article for publication. In addition students will reflect on themselves as professional Christian leaders in light of their program learning, and prepare professional development plans for their first two years after the program. Prerequisite: LD0515 - Professional Vocation in Christian Leadership

SG 0502 50CHRISTIAN PUBLIC LDR-II-ONLINE Spring Semester 2016-2017

Each section of Christian Public Leader will focus on a particular topic as well as one’s vocational formation as a Christian public leader. This section’s focus is on: “discovering the broader implications of one’s intercultural competencies, as well as the church’s identity and voice in the public square.” The format for this course will include weekly engagement throughout the semester. While delivered in an online format, this course offers both synchronous and asynchronous monthly lectures, as well as both online and residential precept sessions. Pass/fail grading only. NOTES: Student must complete SG0501 or equivalent before taking SG0502. CPL and Internship cannot be taken concurrently.

CL 4550 01TRAVEL- MISSIONAL CHURCH IN CONTEXTFall Semester 2016-2017

The Missional Church in Context is a travel course that provides students an opportunity to spend concentrated time in a congregation that is seeking to be a missional church. Normally students will spend a week on-site in the congregation in addition to completing reading and writing assignments. FALL 2016: TRAVEL DATES - OCTOBER 12-14, 2016. FULFILLS MISSIONS (CM2410) CURRICULUM EQUIVALENCIES NOTE: The Learning Pastoral Imagination grant is providing funds for travel (from St. Paul to West Des Moines and back), hotel while attending the conference, and conference costs. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer this travel course experience without additional costs to the student. If you have questions or concerns about the course, please contact the professor, Terri Elton at telton@luthersem.edu.

FE 0523 50CHRISTIAN PUBLIC LEADER - MA Fall Semester 2016-2017

Each section of Christian Public Leader will focus on a particular topic as well as one's vocational formation as a Christian public leader. This section's focus is on: "systems and leading change." The format for this course will include weekly engagement throughout the semester. While delivered in an online format, this course offers both synchronous and asynchronous monthly lectures, as well as both online and residential precept sessions. Pass/Fail grading only. NOTE: CPL and Internship cannot be taken concurrently.

CL 7522 01MISSIONAL LEADERSHIP DMIN Session II - CML 2016-2017

This seminar helps students develop an understanding of leadership and organization in Christian faith communities in light of the triune God’s mission in all creation and the student’s particular context. Literature from the social sciences and Christian theology is used to help students construct a theologically-informed perspective on leadership and organization. Students are introduced to and practice quantitative research.

EL 4548 01PROACTIVE MINISTRY IN MEDIA CULTURESpring Semester 2015-2016

This course explores myriad challenges raised by media cultures for communities of faith. Questions of digital presence, communicative practices in digital cultures, constructive theological approaches to digital divides and other issues of justice, and positive use of diverse media in worship and mission are engaged.

LD 0530 50MISSIONAL LDRSP IN PROF SET-ONLINE Spring Semester 2015-2016

This course serves as a final capstone course for the three MA degrees in the Leadership Division. Students will demonstrate their ability to integrate theology, theory and practice in the creation and defense of a capstone project centered on a current issue in their concentration area. Capstone projects might include a practical ministry project or an article for publication. In addition students will reflect on themselves as professional Christian leaders in light of their program learning, and prepare professional development plans for their first two years after the program. Prerequisite: LD0515 - Professional Vocation in Christian Leadership or LD0515 Christian Public Leadership and Ministry.

CL 0520 01CHURCH ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP January Term 2015-2016

This course focuses on church organization, polity, and missional leadership. It explores theological and theoretical definitions of leadership, cultivating congregational identity and vision, gifts discernment in the body of Christ, leading teams, overseeing finances and facilities, leading change, addressing conflict, and creating a culture of leadership multiplication. Students engage in self-reflection on their own gifts and ongoing leadership development.

CL 4525 50 F6THEO LDRSHP ADDRESS CHANGE AND CONFFall Semester 2015-2016

A course that helps students develop a framework for engaging and addressing organizational change and conflict within congregations. Biblical and theological resources will be put into conversation with organizational theory literature and the behavioral sciences in an effort to clarify the leader’s role in leading change processes and developing effective strategies in addressing church conflict.

SG 0405 01LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION Fall Semester 2015-2016

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership. This course has a significant contextual component. Contact instructor for details.

WO 4518 01CONGREGATION AS CATECHETICAL COMM Fall Semester 2015-2016

Both post-modern secular culture and the growth of global Christianity have contributed to a renewal of historic patterns of catechesis (early-church and reformation) leading to the rites of initiation. Additionally, there has been renewal of various related rites of affirmation at particular stages of life including a common teenage affirmation of baptism ritual commonly titled “confirmation.” The course considers the importance of developing congregational apprenticeship processes for incorporation of those new to the community of faith and those renewing such incorporation into Christ. Specific focus will be placed on congregational practice, and attention paid to differences in theology of and ritual and catechetical processes for infants, youth, and adult baptism, as well as such rites for adults at various life-stages. This course includes assignments in context; students without contextual placements should register for FE0521-FE0525 Christian Public Leader according to their degree program.

WO 4518 99 RSCONGREGATION AS CATECHETICAL COMM Fall Semester 2015-2016

Both post-modern secular culture and the growth of global Christianity have contributed to a renewal of historic patterns of catechesis (early-church and reformation) leading to the rites of initiation. Additionally, there has been renewal of various related rites of affirmation at particular stages of life including a common teenage affirmation of baptism ritual commonly titled “confirmation.” The course considers the importance of developing congregational apprenticeship processes for incorporation of those new to the community of faith and those renewing such incorporation into Christ. Specific focus will be placed on congregational practice, and attention paid to differences in theology of and ritual and catechetical processes for infants, youth, and adult baptism, as well as such rites for adults at various life-stages. This course includes assignments in context; students without contextual placements should register for FE0521-FE0525 Christian Public Leader according to their degree program.

CL 7522 01MISSIONAL LEADERSHIP DMIN Session II - CML 2015-2016

This seminar helps students develop an understanding of leadership and organization in Christian faith communities in light of the triune God’s mission in all creation and the student’s particular context. Literature from the social sciences and Christian theology is used to help students construct a theologically-informed perspective on leadership and organization. Students are introduced to and practice quantitative research.

View new and notable publications from our faculty.

Faculty Publications