While participants brainstormed, President Tiede took notes.
In the past eight years Luther Seminary's mission to "educate leaders for Christian communities" has meant re-examining what these communities need in their leaders and initiating broad-sweeping curriculum changes to meet these needs. Did the changes work? Luther Seminary sought to find out.
In 1995, Luther Seminary President David Tiede visited seven congregations in the Midwestern and Western United States. He undertook it, he said, "as a Lenten journey by the seminary to listen more than speak, to learn more than teach."
In 1997, three-person teams of seminary faculty, students and staff visited congregations as part of a Lilly grant to evaluate Luther's effectiveness in meeting the needs of its graduates.
Now, five years later, the self-evaluation process continues with an initiative called "Focus on Leadership." Teams from Luther Seminary, led by Dr. Paul Berge, professor emeritus of New Testament, conducted focus groups in 12 congregations. It was a time to find out what the Spirit is saying to the church and also a time to reflect on ways in which Luther
Seminary is responding to the leadership needs of the next generation of church leaders.
On May 8, Luther Seminary invited members of the 12 participating congregations to an on-campus Focus on Leadership Summit. The participants heard a summary of findings, attended chapel and classes, and met in small groups to brainstorm ways Luther Seminary and congregations can work together to train future leaders for mission.
Summit participants had one driving concern for the seminary and the whole church: prayer. God's word is clear: "...ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
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