Rick Foss
Interim President

"Hardly any pastor gets in trouble because he or she doesn't have a good enough sense of systematics or New Testament, but they do get in trouble if they don't know themselves and don't know how to relate to various people who are different from them."

Rick Foss will do what he most enjoys in his new role. "The bottom line is: I've gotten the most satisfaction and reward the last 16 years (as synod bishop) from coaching and helping young pastors and other leaders to fly," he said. Foss will lead the various programs in which students work and learn outside the classroom such as internship and clinical pastoral education.

Foss believes that nurturing strong leaders is one of the most important needs in the church. "I think what we want is for the gospel to flourish and for congregations and other expressions to flourish," he said. "The highest correlation to that is the health, well-being and effectiveness of the leaders - pastors and others," he said. "It's a very complex thing that we ask of them," acknowledged Foss.

Foss explained that transitioning from an academic environment to a parish role can be very challenging for some people. "Hardly any pastor gets in trouble because he or she doesn't have a good enough sense of systematics or New Testament, but they do get in trouble if they don't know themselves and don't know how to relate to various people who are different from them," he explained.

Foss hopes to help students more fully prepare for and integrate their experiences outside the classroom with internship and other positions. He believes that contextual leadership is important as part of a student's overall education. "I think, in some sense, all real education is contextual," he said. "If it's totally theory, you won't do well in the parish."

Foss said he is enthusiastic about working with both Luther Seminary and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in his new role. "If we can help servant leaders get started as best they can, it'll make a long-term difference. Nothing much has more long-term impact."