Story Magazine

Fall, 2010

Ministry and Martial Arts

by Laura Kaslow, Communication Specialist

Miranda Hinrichs may be the only Luther Seminary student who can break three stacked bricks using only the palm of her hand. Like many of her classmates, Hinrichs is preparing for ordained ministry. But unlike any of her fellow students, she has competed in multiple national taekwondo championships. Most recently, Hinrichs won a gold medal at the 2010 U.S. Open, her first international victory; and her gold medal win at U.S. Nationals qualifies her to compete for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.

Beginning taekwondo at age 9, Hinrichs earned a black belt by age 15. She now trains at the World Taekwondo Academy in St. Paul, where she is known by her teammates as a "safe person" to talk to about God.

"I don't think everyone has that experience with Christians in their lives. That's a strong desire of mine while working in the church—for it to be a safe place for people to ask questions."

Entering her internship this fall, Hinrichs hopes to find ways to incorporate taekwondo into a church
community. "As I think about doing ministry, taekwondo has a lot to offer to children, youth and family and outreach ministries," she says.

Hinrichs recognizes that balancing her sport and her vocation will be challenging. "Taekwondo takes a lot of time. I often ask myself, 'How can I compete well at that level, as well as hold to the commitment of my call?'"

By facing this question, Hinrichs believes she'll be better prepared to help others understand their own
callings, whether that means playing a sport or serving on a church council.

"In whatever sphere--whether in our neighborhoods or on our sports teams—we are called to our faith," she says. "We are all called to serve God, whether we are pastors, working in ministry or wherever we find our place in life."