Preparing persons to be faithful in the constant tension of being a missional leader in the church and as a servant leader to individuals and communities in a particular call is the goal of my teaching.
Alvin Luedke wants his students to remember that theirs is not the only call in the congregation. "We who are ordained into the public ministry of Word and Sacrament need to understand that the people of God are also called. Whether they belong to an inner city, suburban or rural congregation, they are called to be there in that place at that time. Our job is to build them up in faith so they can fulfill their baptismal calling, which is to be engaged with those that they touch," he says.
Luedke, who grew up on a farm in south Texas, holds a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from Texas A & M University and a master of divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He served for a decade as pastor in three Texas parishes, while earning master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in sociology from Texas A & M, and was a synod interim pastor for four years.
He points out that applied sociology is deeply rooted in religious concerns. One early sociologist, for example, was an English pastor who studied mortality records to find specific geographic areas where sick and dying people needed help.
A knowledge of sociology allows today's pastors to understand the past and present contexts of their congregation, and to help people to look ahead and anticipate the future context. "That's where sociology intersects with our understanding of God's Word and our call to be a community in Christ," Luedke says.
Luedke believes that training pastors for faithful ministry in the parish context is of primary importance for his teaching. "My experience in parish ministry has both enriched and challenged my teaching. As a seminary professor I constantly think about how the content of my courses will be useful for students who will one day be pastors and leaders in the church, particularly in rural communities. Prepapring persons to be faithful in the constant tension of being a missional leader in the church and as a servant leader to individuals and communities in a particular call is the goal of my teaching."