The Holy Spirit calls Luther Seminary to lead faithful innovation for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a rapidly changing world.
The world has changed dramatically and is in a period of heightened global disruption. Like many before us, Luther Seminary called to watch for what God is doing in the midst of the disruption and to discover how we are being called to cultivate the new life God is bringing forth.
Luther Seminary students are well-prepared to lead congregations in navigating this new world through their study of Scripture, preaching, and leadership that adapts to the needs of a given context, community, or culture.
Accelerated 24-month Master of Divinity program
- Year-round classes
- Concurrent part-time congregational internships
- Full-tuition scholarships and paid internships
- The new Faith+Lead platform launched at just the right time to help leaders and churches adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- More than 180,000 church leaders from around the globe are using Faith+Lead, allowing them to connect and learn new ways of being the church in a changing cultural landscape.
- Faith+Lead provides courses, breakthrough practices, conferences, learning communities, coaching, and a private social network for pastors and lay leaders.
Helping people discover the differences Jesus makes in everyday life
- The Seeds Project is a 12-month fellowship pilot program created to accompany some of the most innovative leaders from ecumenical faith communities in their ministry experiments.
- The project will gather the findings of those experiments, and experiments happening in other faith communities, and share the results through a newly developed Seeds app to spark conversations across the broader church.
- Read more about John Wright and Joyce Thompsen, Ph.D.’s support of innovation at Luther Seminary.×
John Wright and Joyce Thompsen, Ph.D.
Luther Seminary is in the leadership business, and that is exactly what attracted Dr. Joyce Thompsen. Joyce’s professional vocation has been all about developing leaders so they can manage organizations and make decisions well.
Active in her church, she had been investing in Luther’s mission for some years when she met John. She says, “I was actively asking the Holy Spirit for a personal companion who shared my faith…and also my strong passion for wanting to do something meaningful to help spread the Gospel. I was looking for the most efficient and effective way to do that…and it became very clear that Luther Seminary was in the best position to be able to provide that point of leverage.” John agreed!
In their support of Luther Seminary, Joyce and John combine their professional and personal passions. Because of Joyce’s years on Luther’s Board, including a term as Chair, they have seen the mission from the inside, “under the hood,” as Joyce says. That has only inspired them more.
Joyce and John have been listening and they have heard God’s call. They intend to extend their commitment to Luther’s mission well into the future.
Their gift is a personal stretch, a stretch that matches their commitment to a healthy church, both near- and long-term. They say, “We’re looking for a Return on Holy Investment (ROHI) and we continue to be very convinced that Luther is the right place to invest for the future of the church.”
- Learn why Jim and Anne Eidsvold decided to support innovation at Luther Seminary.×
Jim and Anne Eidsvold
For many years, Jim and Anne Eidsvold gave modestly to Luther Seminary. Anne’s father, Kermit Graves, was a 1942 Luther graduate, and Jim’s grandfather was a Lutheran pastor. The Eidsvolds said they believe in Luther’s mission.
In September 2019, they met with Luther Seminary President Robin Steinke and Dwight Zscheile ’08 Ph.D., vice president of Innovation, to learn about the seminary’sListen! God is Calling campaign. “Our hearts were stirred,” Anne said, as they learned about the campaign’s three priorities: the Jubilee Scholarship, innovation, and the Sustaining Fund.
After the meeting, the Eidsvolds pledged a major gift to support the campaign’s $30 million investment in bold, innovative work to form Christian communities that are relevant and responsive in an ever-changing, global world. An example of that work is the Faith+Lead online community, Luther’s digital hub for church leaders. Since its 2018 launch, the site has welcomed 380,000 unique visitors and nearly 20,000 participants in at least one paid course, event, or workshop.
“The meeting was an ah-ha moment for me,” Anne said. “We could see the seminary is developing new ways to reach and connect with people in meaningful ways. They demonstrated to us that they are being innovative while also being practical.”
“It’s not every day we make a gift like this,” Jim added, “but we felt so good about its potential. Luther is a thoughtful steward of donors’ investments. Look at all they’ve already done related to innovation. We can’t wait to see how they continue to build on that work, fueled by our gift and the generosity of others.”
The Eidsvolds said they want to invest in the future of the church because they want others to experience the joy, hope, and purpose they have found in their faith community. As newlyweds, the two taught Sunday School together, and Anne directed a youth church choir for 40 years. The two have served on many committees at Lutheran congregations in Alexandria and Morris, Minnesota.
“Church has always been a happy place for us,” Anne said. “A place of warmth and learning about God and Jesus with good friends and people who care about you. We want others to experience that comfort and community of faith, but we know the world has changed, and people want and need different things out of the church.”
“Luther has proven it is the best place to invest in the inspiring work of imagining and supporting the church of the future,” added Jim, a third-generation owner and manager of Henry’s Foods in Alexandria, Minnesota. “We are proud and excited to contribute to this vital work to imagine a faith-filled future for our world.”
- Discover Donald Bottemiller’s motivation to contribute to the innovative efforts at Luther Seminary.×
Donald Bottemiller believes that Luther Seminary’s dedication to innovation is crucial if the church is to continue to thrive in the 21st century.
“I grew up in rural Minnesota with three television channels and no Internet. Church was a social hub without much competition” says the 82-year-old lifelong Lutheran. “These days, we need to graduate pastors who can come up with creative and engaging ways to lift people’s faces up from their phones and remind people of the need for community and hope.”
Don, who has no family ties to Luther, is not only a donor but an advocate for the seminary, meeting regularly with donors to talk about its strategy and initiatives. An innovator himself—he is a retired business leader with several patents to his name—he served on the seminary’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2018.