Future Vision for Theological Education
In November 2009, Pastoral Ministry Summit participants gathered to begin the formation of a future vision of theological education in the LCMS for 2015 and beyond. Forty-eight Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) participants gathered on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. for this event.
A collaborative effort between the Office of LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick and the LCMS Board for Pastoral Education (BPE), the summit was designed to further an effort begun by the BPE in January 2009: the formation of a vision for the future of theological education in the LCMS for 2015 and beyond.
Summit participants were divided into eight vision formation groups, each of which was given considerable time to construct the components of their visions for the future of theological education. Groups were instructed to describe what they would observe (and not observe) in 2015 if theological education in the LCMS were operating in optimal fashion. While the groups were given latitude to include many components in their vision descriptions, they were asked to be certain that their visions contained details concerning the following items:
- Identifying, informing and encouraging (raising-up) appropriate candidates for pastoral ministry (who does it and how is it done – humanly speaking);
- A description of the seminaries(y) of the church;
- Desirable characteristics for seminary graduates (describe the most desirable characteristics of graduates);
- What will be observable in congregations where these graduates serve as a result of their formation?
- Supporting (financial) the formation of men for pastoral ministry;
- The accessibility of seminary formation by appropriate candidates;
- Residential (on campus) formation;
- Distance (in context) formation;
- The role of the church (congregations, districts) in pastoral formation;
- The role of the CUS schools-seminaries partnership in pastoral formation;
- Continuing education (formation) for pastors.
Vision for Theological Education narrative
This narrative provides a description of the future of theological education in 2015 and beyond, utilizing vision components that were noted by at least two of eight vision formation groups at the Summit.