A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary
Global Vision - Fall 2009
View more articles in the Fall 2009 issue.
GMI Member Profile
Joyce A. Thompsen
by Laura Kaslow, Communication Specialist
Joyce Thompsen with husband
John Wright, Canary Islands
Early in Joyce Thompsen's career, she came to a crossroads where she wanted to decide how to best use her gifts for the sake of spreading the Gospel message. While she considered attending seminary, Thompsen ultimately realized that she was better equipped to use her gifts in the everyday work world rather than from behind the pulpit.
Thompsen has a heart for working with others and helping them understand the world on a global scale and how they can work together to achieve positive, measurable outcomes. As an executive consultant, she has spent the last 20 years working with organizations large and small across the world. She has also led graduate students on structured study trips, often in Third World countries, in order to help them investigate and become better participants in the global economy.
Reaching out to Business Leaders
Thompsen regularly meets with executive and leadership-level employees who also seek her consultation in how to infuse their personal values into their work in order to best meet their organization's business goals.
"I can tell you quite honestly that I've run into people who, after we've had a number of conversations, will share with me that they are Christians and want to do God's will in their work, but struggle with that due to a number of restraints, often which are self-imposed," she says.
"They don't know how to translate the words, the values and their faith into the work in their everyday life. These are people sitting at the highest levels of organizations with thousands of employees ... traveling, criss-crossing the world ... and here they are wanting in their hearts to appropriately witness their faith in Christ. [However,] they don't feel equipped, don't know what or how to start a conversation about it and don't know the cultural differences well enough to take on that witness."
Thompsen has often found herself carrying the responsibility of helping people gauge their need to combine this desire with the mission of their business. "I was connecting what I was paid to do from a professional point of view to private connections with leaders in unexpected places," she says.
A Call to Witness through Luther Seminary
While Thompsen regularly acts as a Christian witness in her professional life, her calling has also brought her to Luther Seminary. However, rather than becoming a student, Thompsen, along with her husband John Wright, chose to share their gifts as donors. And, in 2008, Thompsen was called to serve as a member of the Luther Seminary Board of Trustees.
Thompsen built her donor relationship with Luther Seminary after hearing David Preus guest preach at her church while he was serving as the GMI director in the early 1990s. After the service, Thompsen says, "the angels poked me and told me to have a conversation with this man." Following this, she began
to give gifts to the GMI as she was able.
While she began giving small gifts to the GMI, Thompsen continually increased her support. Eventually, the time came that she wanted to bring her giving for the sake of the global church to the next level and found that place in Luther Seminary.
"I wanted to find an organization that could help prepare leaders of faith and put it to work, much like the example of people I've met around the world," Thompsen says.
She found that place in Luther Seminary, which she chose to make the key beneficiary of her will. Along with this gift, Thompsen promised that she would continue to give loyally to the seminary. For more than ten years now, Thompsen has been an interested donor, both to the seminary and to the Global Mission Institute.
At work is a heart dedicated to preparing church and lay leaders who bring hope to our world that Thompsen gives. "When the world is struggling and seems to have lost hope, we are in a highly leveragable position to prepare people to find a new way through Christ and to stop looking for only