Christian Scharen
Director of Contextual Learning and Assistant Professor of Worship

"Attending to contemporary culture seems to me at the heart of faithful and effective ministry today."

Feedback from fellow college and seminary students led Christian Scharen to a career in teaching. They affirmed his ability to take complex ideas and break them down to understandable and relevant concepts. "I get a sense of joy in making the connections that lead people to say, 'ah!'" he said.

According to Scharen, who felt called to teach at Luther Seminary, the school has a clear identity focused on God's mission of reconciliation through the church for the sake of the world. "It has clarity of purpose in preparing leaders for participation in God's mission," he said.

Scharen wants to engage in learning with students about "how to be faithful in a complex — and in many ways — an unprecedented time. Students come to seminary with a pretty deep understanding of the complexity of our age," he said. "Attending to contemporary culture seems to me at the heart of faithful and effective ministry today."

In educating students about worship, Scharen first invites them to consider themselves as worshippers, or "as beggars who stand before God's mercy with open hands. No one who has forgotten how to worship can be an effective leader of worship," he explained. He also invites students to be clear about what they are doing in worship. In addition, he asks students to engage in creative, practical, theological reflection regarding the contemporary crisis of worship and the historical and biblical resources available for thinking creatively and faithfully about that crisis. The crisis, according to Scharen, is the incredible multiplication of spiritual views and worship options in our society. He encourages students to think about ways to lead communities of faith in the midst of this crisis.

"Is worship just about 'what I like?'" he asked. "Try offering faithful worship nobody likes! Today's American church faces a very challenging moment!"