Thus says the Lord …
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Here at Luther Seminary we are blessed to live and work with the conviction that God is indeed “doing a new thing”—today, tomorrow, and always.
This year, we celebrated the close of our Listen! God is Calling campaign, through which more than 15,000 donors contributed $98.2 million for scholarships, innovation, and the sustaining fund. This incredible response surpassed the initial campaign goal of $95 million.
Along with a $594,000 budget surplus and a robust endowment valuation ($119 million as of June 30, 2022), the seminary’s financial position allows us to continue to lead faithful innovation for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ and face the economic realities that lie ahead.
In June, we graduated 128 of our nearly 500 students. I am thrilled to share that more than half of these graduates are able to continue following the Holy Spirit’s call without seminary debt. This transformational shift is a direct result of our donors’ investment in the full-tuition Jubilee Scholarship, which has reduced graduate indebtedness by more than one-third. In fact, only 13% of our students took out student loans last academic year, the lowest borrowing volume Luther Seminary has ever experienced.
The second cohort of the MDivX pilot, our accelerated Master of Divinity holy experiment, also graduated in June. A recent assessment showed that these students performed on par with their peers in our traditional M.Div. program across seven assessment areas, from Biblical interpretation to leadership for mission. These outcomes underscore the enormous potential of our work to help the church reimagine theological education for future generations.
More than ever, theological education isn’t just for those enrolled in a full-time degree program. We launched Faith+Lead in 2018 to help church leaders connect with God, tell the story of Jesus, cultivate community, practice justice, and shift ministry models for a rapidly changing world.
In a culture where most people do not go to church and struggle to love their neighbors, the demand for connection and innovation has only grown over the last six years. We have redesigned Faith+Lead’s leadership and staffing structure to respond to this need among even more audiences.
The response has been overwhelming. Today, 160,000 church leaders and ministry entrepreneurs use Faith+Lead, 200,000 everyday disciples and spiritual seekers use Enter the Bible, and 3 million church leaders rely on Working Preacher each year.
Throughout our seminary community, I see a powerful relationship at work between stewardship and innovation—a dynamic that connects our past, present, and future. Trusting that God makes a way, we plant seeds for a future full of hope.
As we watch and listen together for where God is calling us next, I give thanks for your prayerful support and faithful responses to the challenges facing the church and our world.
Peace and blessings,
Robin J. Steinke