About the Global Mission Institute
The identity of the Global Mission Institute (GMI) is a result of a sense of commitment and relationship to the goals of the global church of Jesus Christ, to the ELCA and its predecessor bodies, and to Luther Seminary as it seeks to carry out its vision for theological education in the 21st Century. President Bliese has encapsulated well the identity of the GMI in his cover letter to the GMI Handbook (March 2008) as follows:
The GMI serves as an important center for global awareness, hospitality, and networking. The GMI facilitates experiences for faculty and students that undergird and enhance Luther Seminary's global vision for apostolic witness. As Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities in this twenty-first century of many cultures and religions, the GMI plays a fundamental role in fostering and understanding of mission and witness in a multicultural and religiously plural world.
The GMI Mission and Vision statements (see side bar) can be unpacked to highlight the following for goal-setting purposes by isolating the following key words and phrases:
Christians have been given the revelation of God's will in the Gospel and have been given the gift of participation in the whole mission of God (Missio Dei) through the work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit -- i.e., the forgiveness of sin that redeems us and makes us children of God and partakers together as God's one flock with one shepherd in a diverse and complicated world. That diversity means that we are now called upon to become aware of one another, and of the global church in all its diversity, with all its various opportunities and challenges. Awareness is the result of our listening. The GMI brings together people from all over the world to study and teach here, making us all aware of one another in a common setting. We also send students and teachers to research and teaching venues that will heighten their global awareness.
We connect with International Student Services, Cross-Cultural Education, and select faculty point persons to facilitate our international and student relations. The GMI also sponsors the annual Burgess Lecture on global mission, provides opportunity for the research and teaching by international scholars through the Schiotz fund, and provides opportunities for students and faculty to engage with other missional endeavors during the academic year (Mission & Ministry Forums, the Global Fair Trade Fair, and Taste of the Global Church).
The GMI is a receiving center, making it possible through hospitality and careful planning for international students, scholars and guests to reveal God's multiple blessings among us. Over 400 students from 66 different countries have blessed us with their presence here during the nearly 25 years of the GMI and its predecessors. These students have found support among themselves as they share their own diversity and experiences. Our goal is to help our international students and international scholars to thrive at Luther, and to welcome international guests appropriately.
The GMI also sends in order to receive the benefits of our partners in mission. Mutual teaching and learning, as well as cooperative ventures have resulted from GMI's expertise in facilitating opportunities for U.S. students and faculty to connect with other organizations and institutions through our newly developing International Partnerships. Developing this network is one of our key goals and has necessitated new staffing and the need for increased financing and donor participation for the future. We also have a vast array of international alumni in a variety of institutional and church body positions throughout the world. We continue to work to connect with them and support them in connecting with one another.
Awareness, hospitality, and facilitating networks result almost naturally in new understandings of the challenges faced by the church in the world. Mission now means working together, walking together, and praying together based on understanding the church in a challenging multi-cultural and religiously plural world. Understanding our Christian and non-Christian neighbors is now the basis for all mission, for the Gospel meets us where we are. When we listen, share, and act on mutual understanding, the Gospel is served.