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Students at commencement

Ministry in Context

Contextualization Gives Theology Hands

As practical theologian Fernando Arzola (pictured) says in his book Toward a Prophetic Youth Ministry: Theory and Praxis in Urban Context, “Contextualization gives theology hands.” I am excited for the beginning of a new academic year, and I see the importance of us starting out right. My work in the Contextual Learning office has brought together various threads of work that will be strengthened through collaborative work that involves classroom, context, and communal life both on campus and out in communities of faith.

In particular, I am excited about the emergence of a new course entitled Christian Public Leader. For Master of Arts students (CML, CYF, and CCC) this will be a four semester series of courses guiding one in a rhythm of experience/reflection throughout their concentration of study. The fieldwork will be immersive and bring about learning that is not easily imparted in the classroom. We will be deeply connected to ministries and communities that are practicing their commitments of faith in the world that God so loves.

Master of Divinity students will also have opportunities to explore Christian Public Leader in a similar fashion through the leadership of my colleague April Winebrenner-Palo. For more about the Christian Public Leader offerings, visit out website at

As practical theologian Fernando Arzola says in his book "Toward a Prophetic Youth Ministry: Theory and Praxis in Urban Context," “Contextualization gives theology hands.”

With the new beginning before us, I hope that those MA students who are new to Luther this year will contact me soon with their interests and desires for contextual work. The sites we offer are many, and some of you will be bringing sites two me through your own exploration and interests. A starting point for anyone entering into this course will be to go to the website and begin by filling out the CPL preferences form.

This form, with your resume, will help me in assisting you in finding an ideal context to compliment your academic studies. Remembering Arzola's words, we are committed to such integrative work at Luther Seminary and look forward to starting out right with all of you! Blessings on your summer!

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