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Richard Bliese is thrilled to be at Luther: "It's the place to be. It's as simple as that. There is so much innovation and energy here. Mission is essential to the seminary's strategic plan and is being put together with the Lutheran identity of confessing in new and exciting ways. The best missiologists are gathering here, and I'm honored to be part of that."
Bliese comes to Luther Seminary from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) where he was the Augustana Heritage Associate Professor of Global Mission and Evangelism.
While studying and teaching at LSTC, he also served as part-time pastor at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Glenwood, Ill. The pastoral position was an opportunity to directly apply his doctoral work in missiology to an American congregation.
Bliese spent 11 years as a missionary in Germany and Zaire, where he founded the Centre d'Accueil Protestant, an ecumenical center for education, research and technical assistance. But he emphasizes that even those who never leave their hometown will be called to a missionary existence. All leaders trained for ministry will have to work within a context of religious and ethnic diversity. In today's world, mission is "glocal"--both global and local.
"Our goal at Luther is to prepare leaders who are capable, ready and able to cross cultural and religious boundaries with the gospel," Bliese says. "Our focus is to constantly improve our 'sending' capacity. We are preparing leaders for true discipleship and their apostolic calls within a world that is rapidly changing. Therefore, we want to remain both faithful to our Lord and on the cutting edge of theological education and ministry."
In addition to his teaching duties, Bliese serves as Luther's academic dean. In this capacity, he works with the faculty to determine the nature and quality of theological education--to establish the ethos and direction of the school.
As dean, Bliese also works to ensure that the time students spend at Luther is dynamic and inspiring. "We are striving to provide a student-centered and mission-driven education for the future leaders of the church. I'm excited to be a part of that!"
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