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Ministry in Context

Welcome to Christian Public Leader 2.0!

As practical theologian Fernando Arzola writes, “Contextualization gives theology hands.” Here at Contextual Learning, we believe that everyone involved in theological education can grow in a real-life ministry context that helps shape their formation. Because of this commitment, we would like to share an update regarding our new-and-improved Christian Public Leader (CPL) program.

Beginning Fall 2016, we now expect all Luther Seminary incoming students to participate in this required program. It is exciting to think about the development of leaders that are all embedded in a context and participating in a regular process of action and reflection with their peers and mentors!

What is Christian Public Leader (CPL)?

There are four consecutive semesters of CPL. Each of the four sections will focus on a particular topic:

  1. Who am I as a Christian Public Leader? (SG0501)
  2. Being Public Leaders in a Public Church (SG0502)
  3. Systems and Leading Change (FE0523)
  4. Lifelong Learners and Leaders (FE0524)

For new students beginning Fall 2016, all M.A. and M.Div. candidates will complete SG0501 and SG0502 as Signature courses consecutively in the first and second semester of their degree program. M.A. and M.Div. candidates in Leadership concentrations will go on to complete FE0523 and FE0524 as core components of their degree. All other M.A. and M.Div. candidates may complete FE0523 and FE0524 as electives.

CPL has three core components:

Context: In the CPL program, the context is the primary text. This means that the student's involvement in their CPL site will be the most crucial component to their development as a leader. Selecting the right CPL mentor is important as well as taking the initiative to seek out their wisdom and guidance. We expect that students will serve in the CPL context 5 hours/week on a volunteer basis. If the student participates at a greater number of hours per week or month (for example, as a CYF Youth Director), CPL sites offer compensation. Contextual Learning recommended guidelines are $11.00 - $12.00 per hour.

Precept Group: Along with the student's CPL site and mentor, students will be assigned a precept group that will help them process their contextual experience with an experienced practitioner as well as share spiritual practices with peers.  The Precept Leader will be an experienced practitioner who will facilitate this reflection process with other peers twice per month.

Classroom: Once a month, students will connect with expert faculty members who will provide lectures and readings to support their theological contextual reflection. Faculty members will also provide feedback for students on reflection papers. This is taught both online and residentially.

Students, please circle your calendar for these important dates as you prepare for your involvement in CPL:

  • July 12: Summer registration opens by class status. Sign up for SG0501 for the Fall Semester along with a precept time.
  • August 1: Our online CPL Site List will be updated and live for Fall 2016. At this time, students who need a new context begin the process of selecting a CPL site. Are you planning to move to campus? Do you have a context imagined already? See me (CPL Coordinator Dave Scherer) for guidance.
  • September 9: CPL precept group and classtime begins. We will open with a special orientation program for you and your mentor, both here on-campus and livestreamed for online participants.
  • September 16: Learning Agreements are due from you and your CPL mentor. This covenant will help you clarify expectations and set goals.
  • Late November: Sign up for SG0502. DL students sign up for SG0501.

Mentors, we'll be in touch later this summer to help you join the program.

For more information on CPL, please contact me (CPL Coordinator Dave Scherer) at We’re excited to welcome you into this learning and imagination!

Grace and Peace,

David Scherer (Christian Public Leader Coordinator)

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