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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Let's invest in leaders

Assure the ELCA's healthy future

Compound interest works on the principle that a small investment now will yield great returns later—returns that can be reinvested and will produce even greater returns in the future.

Jesus spoke of something akin to this principle in his parables. Take the parable where seeds are cast broadly with those landing on good soil yielding thirty-, sixty- and even a hundredfold (Matthew 13:3-9). That principle is lacking in one important dimension of our life together in the church, and we need to begin applying it now.

Over the last five years ELCA funding for our seminaries has remained flat. In real terms this means a decline for our seminaries given the high rate of inflation for higher education. Aggregate funding for seminaries from synods and congregations has also declined.

In short we have been reducing our financial support for those institutions of our church responsible for training future ELCA leaders. Consequently, seminaries have had to cut programs and staff while increasing tuition. Higher tuition is an obstacle to many of those who seek to answer God’s call to public ministry; it has led to more students leaving seminary with greater debt, in some cases limiting how and where they can serve.


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August issue

AUGUST issue:

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