Appendix: Narratives of Explanation of Visions and Goals
Lifelong Learning for Leadership
The two teams that worked on “lay leadership development” and “continuing education” concurred that these two educational processes should be combined into one under the title of “Lifelong Learning for Leadership.” It was also agreed that the D.Min. program should be transferred to the area of academic theological leadership.
The concept of Lifelong Learning for Leadership is defined as follows:
Lifelong Learning for Leadership refers to a continual process of learning in non-degree modules that are available to all interested persons without regard to professional status or academic credentials. In this new era of mission, Lifelong Learning is about providing access to our greatest strength (our faculty), collaborating and creating new alliances with other providers, and bringing these resources together creatively, flexibly, and with theological and pedagogical integrity, for the sake of God’s mission.
The educational process of Lifelong Learning for Leadership represents a new platform for the delivery of educational services. We envision this process becoming our most public point of identity and our broadest means of access for how Luther Seminary represents and carries out its mission and vision within the ELCA and the whole church. While the other educational processes represent the core business of the seminary, Lifelong Learning for Leadership becomes a process for emphasizing the learnings of this core business to a much wider audience. It anticipates doing this in partnership with a wide range of other service providers.
Lifelong Learning for Leadership will provide access to theological education to a wide range of persons. This includes laity involved in service in their own congregations and those who seek to strengthen their Christian witness through their vocations and engage in theological reflection within their institutions. In addition, it will provide continuing educational resources to those engaged in professional ministry who have completed one or more advanced theological degrees.
Foundational to the development of the Lifelong Learning for Leadership educational process is to ensure that it is mission driven in designed courses and curriculum and a learner-driven pedagogy in its delivery of this education. It is critical that the staff that oversees this process has familiarity with and represents both lay ministry and professional ministry perspectives. It is also critical that the staff draws the entire faculty into developing and providing educational resources for this work
Note: For additional explanation of this educational process the reader is referred to the report of July 8, 1999 by planning team #5 – Lifelong Learning.
Specialized Minister Leadership
The planning team that worked in this area outlined some common guiding principles that need to shape the development of the M.A. and Certificate programs that comprise the specialized ministries for leadership educational process. These guiding principles are:
Team Work – Graduates are skilled in their specializations and highly competent to form partnerships with many people in engaging in mission and ministry.
Flexible Scheduling – The programs will be available in a variety of flexible scheduling formats to residential, commuter, and distance learners.
Full-Time Residential Faculty Who Lead – Regular faculty at Luther Seminary will serve as point persons in providing developmental leadership for each specialization.
Funding – These programs will bring significant numbers of students to Luther Seminary requiring creativity by point persons and the development office to secure sufficient funding.
Alliances and Partnerships – Working relationships will be established with multiple numbers of partners in the Twin Cities and around the world with the point persons responsible to develop lean organizational structures.
Technology and Library Acquisition – The M.A. and Certificate programs require excellent, accessible and sufficient library and technological resources.
Promotion and Development – There is a need to develop ongoing strategies for interpretation and promotion of all specializations, but especially those that have not been traditionally recognized or valued in the church or the academy.
Equipping the Laity – These specializations will all include a heavy concentration on the importance of equipping all God’s people for ministry and mission.
It was the intent of the planning team, that the future Work Group that is formed would utilize these principles for engaging in their further assessment and prioritization of the various M.A. and certificate programs.
The study done by the initial planning group in the summer of 1999 indicated that the opportunities are already present for doubling the M.A. program participants if we build the capacity to do so.
Missional Pastor Leadership
The M.Div. represents a primary way that Luther Seminary contributes to the shaping of leaders for the church. Over the past decade, the seminary has spent much time sharpening the focus of this program in preparing leaders for the missional church. This visioning process is helping us to continue this effort. There are several things which have become clearer in this work.
First, we are deeply committed to preparing missional pastors to serve in a new era of mission. These missional pastors will know how to read a context and to shape the ministry of a congregation to address its particular context. This work of contextualization will increasingly become a complementary part of the curriculum as we learn from congregations and partner more closely with them in the educational process.
Second, we recognize that many missional pastors are needed who know how to revitalize existing congregations. The theological foundations for this type of ministry and the skills and resources needed to carry it out will increasingly become part of the educational process.
Third, we acknowledge the strategic importance of educating a significant number of missional pastors who have the perspective, passion, and skills to start new congregations among populations that are largely unchurched. The theological foundations for this type of ministry and the skills and resources needed to carry it out will also increasingly become part of the educational process.
Graduate Theological Education Leadership
The academic graduate programs at Luther Seminary represent an important commitment to the seminary’s desire to be a place where quality academic work can be integrated with effective preparation for professional ministry in the church. The present programs have served to help the seminary begin to define what its commitment should be to academic theological education. The visioning process has helped to identify ways to focus these programs to serve the church more effectively in a new era of mission.
As the academic theological education planning team met, it became clear that now is the time for some rethinking of the design and the delivery of the graduate programs. Part of this redesign involves bringing the D.Min. under the responsibility of graduate studies. Another part involves designing and implementing concentrations in the fields of biblical preaching and worship, and congregational mission and leadership. A number of guiding principles emerged as the planning unfolded.
Academic theological education for leadership through our graduate programs is essential for our service to both the domestic church and the international church.
The academic theological education for leadership programs serve as a major stimulus for the professional development of our faculty.
The present design of the programs does not appear to be providing the educational impact that is desired and revisions appear to be in order.
The redesign of the programs should emphasize the importance of educating academic leadership to serve the church in a new era of mission.