A fact I love to share is that “seminary” comes from the Latin for “seed bed.” The metaphor is perhaps particularly appropriate in this season of green abundance here in Minnesota, but it has deep roots.
Jesus knew a thing or two about seeds and used them often in his parables. I love this connection to our work at the seminary, where we have the privilege of seeing our students take root in new contexts and grow into confident leaders. It’s also a powerful reminder that as with all growing things, it’s not our effort but God’s abundance that calls forth life.
Yet, different seeds need different conditions to flourish: some need more water, some brighter sun, some different soil. As we celebrate the rich diversity of life experiences our students bring to their studies, we recognize that more and more, tomorrow’s leaders need options for theological education that fit their unique circumstances and the places they will serve.
Across Luther Seminary, we are working to ensure that our offerings are accessible to all those whom the Spirit calls and appropriate to the varied contexts they will serve. The new full- and part-time pathways in our M.Div. and M.A. programs, developed as part of our recent curriculum refresh, reflect this reality. A newly redesigned M.A. in Lutheran Ministries offers a clear path for those called to service as deacons and chaplains in the ELCA. For those who don’t need or aren’t ready for a full degree program, Faith+Lead offers resources, learning communities to share with colleagues in similar situations, and opportunities to deepen and grow in faith (like the aptly named Seeds Project).
We’re clear on our mission to educate leaders for Christian communities. But how God will use those leaders is always unfolding! Just as the Spirit calls students to Luther Seminary from every corner of the globe, God sends out our graduates to serve in myriad ways: to start church plants, to work for justice, to return to a beloved home congregation newly equipped for the challenges of leadership. And so much more.
One thing is for sure: the Holy Spirit is on the loose and at work cultivating the next generation of leaders among us. Thanks be to God!
Robin J. Steinke