Story Magazine

Winter, 2010

Moved by the Promise ... into specialized ministries

by Richard H. Bliese, President, Luther Seminary

"As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, we confess that the Holy Spirit is calling and sending the church of Jesus Christ into apostolic mission for the sake of God's world." So begins Luther Seminary's strategic plan. The heart of this strategic plan is Luther Seminary's mission statement--first formulated in 1995--that emphasizes the education of leaders for Christian ministry.

"Luther Seminary educates leaders for Christian communities, called and sent by the Holy Spirit to witness to salvation through Jesus Christ and to serve in God's world."

But who are these leaders? And what kinds of ministries do they perform after graduation? Herein lies a fascinating--and often untold--story of the diverse kinds of leadership being formed at Luther Seminary. The total number of students this year at Luther Seminary is 814; about half of these are preparing for pastoral ministry. The majority of the remaining students are being equipped for all sorts of diverse ministries. Here is an example of these specialized ministries:

ܦ Interim Ministers
ܦ Evangelists
ܦ Parish Nurses
ܦ Diaconal Ministers
ܦ Synodically Authorized Ministers
ܦ Children, Youth and Family Leaders
ܦ Music and Choir Leaders
ܦ Social Workers and Pastoral Ministers
ܦ Chaplains (Military & Hospital)
ܦ Associates in Ministry
ܦ Teachers, Professors
ܦ Catechists

In Ephesians 4: 7--13, the diversity of specialized ministries is lifted up in a powerful way.

"But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift... The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ."

Our mission isn't in recession. God's promise in Christ compels us! Yes, we are Moved by the Promise to go into ministry, and, as this report highlights, many of these ministries are special, requiring unique gifts and unique leaders. Keep these leaders in your prayers as they follow the Spirit into exciting arenas of God's work in the world.