MSM grad Sara Birkeland, '02, conducted the Luther Seminary Choir last year. Chris Nelson, '04, accompanied on the piano.
Dennis serves a Colorado congregation as minister of worship and music. Brant is a school social worker in Minnesota. Amy is a director of family ministries at a North Carolina church. Francis runs a foundation in Hong Kong. What they have in common is they do what they love with the gifts God gave them, and they are alumni/ae of Luther Seminary's Master of Arts (M.A.)/Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.) programs.
M.A./M.S.M. students receive exemplary, biblically based theological training right alongside Luther's Master of Divinity (M.Div.) students. In addition, they take courses and learn skills that are applicable to the work they do or plan to do.
Can a theological education help non-ordained professionals in their work? Yes, now more than ever.
Luther Seminary recognizes that an increasing number of positions in congregations and other Christian communities are being filled by gifted laypersons. In addition, many people express interest in pursuing theological education in order to strengthen their Christian witness in their everyday life and work.
In its five-year strategic plan, Serving the Promise of Our Mission, Luther Seminary shared its vision to prepare leaders to enter into and serve a variety of callings within the church and community.
The plan lays out specific goals to be achieved by 2005. These include:
So far the results have been promising. The M.A. degree programs are the fastest-growing programs at Luther Seminary, and have already exceeded the seminary's goal to double the number of students in these programs, from approximately 90 students in 1994 to 214 in 2003.
This growth is due in part to the refinement and addition of concentrations that offer an amazing breadth of specialization, take advantage of faculty strengths and expertise, and match many of Luther's strategic initiatives.
"Our various concentrations both fulfill our core value of continuing our excellent offerings in the classical disciplines as well as match Luther Seminary's strategic initiatives," said Diane Jacobson, associate dean, M.A./M.S.M. degrees, and professor of Old Testament. "They are designed to meet leadership needs in congregations and within diverse ecumenical, ethnic and economic populations."
Some noteworthy concentrations include:
History and Theology
Mission and World Christianity (beginning in 2004-2005)
Cross Cultural Ministries
Congregational and Community Care
Youth and Family (offered both residentially and through a distributive learning program)
Congregational Ministries and Leadership
In addition are the M.S.M. and the M.A. or M.Div. and Master of Social Work dual degree, in association with four nearby educational institutions: the colleges of St. Olaf, Augsburg, St. Catherine's and the University of St. Thomas.
Youth and Family M.A. student Ingelaurie Lisher (right) with two church youth.
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