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Associate Professor of Leadership
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.
CPL is designed to provide short-term contextual education placements in which students can explore academic and theological questions in a real-world environment. CPL therefore partners effectively with other tagged courses that require a contextual/immersion experience in a congregation- or community-based organization. Additionally, with this context as their primary conversation partner students will critically reflect on themselves as leaders, discover the communal nature of leadership, and develop their own leadership practices. Throughout the semester, students will work with their mentor (both independently and in cohorts) to develop learning goals, achieve those goals through participation in the life of the organization, and assess their progress at the conclusion of the course. FE0521-FE0524 Christian Public Leader (0.5 credit course) is required for four semesters for MA students.
This course serves as an integrative and reflective course for students in Leadership concentrations. In this course, students will refine the ecclesiology and theology of leadership developed in Christian Public Leadership and Ministry. Students will also reflect on themselves as Christian Public Leaders in light of their learning in the programs.
Vocational formation encompasses four dimensions: theological formation, faith formation, character formation, and interpersonal formation. This course introduces students to the concept of vocational formation at Luther Seminary and in ministry contexts. Students will learn how to think theologically about their seminary education and to critically reflect on their own faith and educational program as they relate to their lifelong learning as a Christian public leader. This course will provide forums for examining assumptions about God, communities and neighbor, give students the opportunity to engage in ongoing self-assessment in community throughout their seminary career, and instill habits that encourage lifelong learning. Part I - Taken in the first term of study (0.5 course). Part II - Taken in the final term of study (0.5 course).
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