For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Fiscal 2022–23 was a year of transition and transformation at Luther Seminary.
Transition: Across our educational programs, we are working to create sustainable new models so that learners can afford not just theological education, but life in Christian leadership.
Transformation: We continue to witness how the Jubilee Scholarship creates a path for students from all walks of life to answer God’s call to ministry. Since implementing this full-tuition scholarship model in 2018, student borrowing has dropped to its lowest level at the seminary in nearly 25 years. A remarkable 67% of our 2023 class graduated with zero student debt.
At the same time, we continue to expand the accessibility of theological education beyond our degree programs through Faith+Lead and digital media like Working Preacher, Enter the Bible, and God Pause. Combined visits to our digital properties and podcast downloads topped 5 million unique visitors in 2022–23, a 20% increase over the previous year.
Transition: With the close of the MDivX pilot program this spring, we are pivoting toward a permanent option for an accelerated M.Div. pathway.
Transformation: MDivX was a resounding success, demonstrating the effectiveness and appeal of a two-year model with simultaneous contextual learning. Retention in the pilot program was extraordinarily high, with 96% of participants graduating. Out of the 51 graduates from the first two cohorts, 47 are actively serving in ministry contexts at the time of this writing, with one in the process of becoming ordained.
The lessons from MDivX helped shape a larger curriculum refresh that reflects our students’ and the church’s needs. The faculty applied insights from MDivX, deep listening to the church, and assessment data in redesigning the curriculum last year for a Fall 2023 implementation. This curricular “refresh” strengthens course sequencing to support learning outcomes, creates natural cohorts through three defined pathways (full-time, part-time, and, in the future, accelerated), and reduces requirements without sacrificing depth or rigor.
Transition: We are in the midst of two budget years designed to support investments in our strategic plan priorities and key financial goals, including increasing Faith+Lead revenue and restructuring the academic programs for efficiency. Modest operating deficits planned for these two years are supported by the seminary’s strong cash position and robust $115 million endowment valuation as of June 30, 2023.
Transformation: I’m grateful to share with you this snapshot of the “good works” for which God has equipped Luther Seminary. And yet, we know that the true outcomes of the Holy Spirit’s action with and through us ripple out far beyond what can be quantified in any financial report.
Thank you for your prayerful support as we seek to faithfully steward the gifts and mission of this community for the future of Christ’s church.
Peace and blessings,
Robin J. Steinke
Winter 2023 Articles
- What does faithful innovation look like?
- Learning from a holy experiment
- Stepping into a new role
- I am what I am because of who we all are
- 2023 annual report
- Preparing a place for international students
- What visual art is spiritually meaningful to you?
- Jubilee Scholarship expands to graduate certificates
- Winter 2023: Alumni news
- Winter 2023: Faculty and staff notes
- Helping rural leaders grow
- Word & World launches new website
- ‘To be in right relationship’: Luther Seminary adopts land acknowledgement
- First Karvonen-Montgomery Preaching Fellowship awarded