The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Continuing their education

Lay and clergy learn to move ministry from pastor-driven to mission-driven

A reformation is under way in Christian education as lay people and clergy strive to become lifelong learners—together.

Jan Lothe, a retired nurse and member of Immanuel Lutheran, Eau Claire, Wis., said graduates of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin’s Lay School of Ministry are among the congregation’s most involved leaders.

“You have an understanding of the theology behind worship and our mission,” said Lothe, who with her husband, Vic, recently completed the two-year lay school program. “You’re intellectually stimulated, but there’s a spirituality element too.”

“It strengthened my faith,” Vic Lothe said.

Increasingly lay people are eager to learn about how the Bible was written, to go deeper into Lutheran theology, and to explore spirituality as well as call in daily life. Pastors and rostered leaders find continuing education is a necessity for growth, not just a denominational requirement, and is as much about self-care and spiritual renewal as academic learning. Together, the movement is away from pastor-driven toward mission-driven—toward the ministry of the baptized.

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