Today they sit in classrooms at theological seminaries, studying church
history, doctrine and Scripture, learning how to preach and provide
pastoral care. For three years, plus a year of internship, they explore
the complex world of professional ministry.
|Sandra Burroughs began Tuesday, Feb. 20, by leading chapel at Wartburg Seminary,
Dubuque, Iowa. By the end of the day she and other graduating seniors
were told what region they’d be sent to for their first call. |
Then they step into our churches, taking what they have learned into
thousands of congregations. In many ways the men and women at the ELCA
eight seminaries are like previous generations of students. They feel
called by God to public ministry in the church as pastors, educators
and other types of workers. They are eager to proclaim the gospel,
teach and lead congregations in faithful worship and service.
But in significant ways today’s seminarians are unlike many pastors currently serving ELCA
parishes. Furthermore, many of the congregations they will serve are
nothing like the churches their predecessors entered just after their
ordination a generation ago. Seminaries today prepare different kinds
of leaders for different kinds of congregations.
“About 20 years ago most seminaries were just preacher factories,” said Richard H. Bliese, president of Luther Seminary
, St. Paul, Minn. “Since then the type of leadership the church wants has expanded.”
instance, congregations are looking for theologically trained parish
nurses, he said, and often seek professionally trained youth workers
rather than just asking the parents of teenagers to oversee the youth
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