A denomination with the strongest and most highly respected Lutheran seminary training system in North America
Component Lead: President Eric Riesen (NALS Board of Regents, NALC Executive Council and Bishop Dan Selbo)
Goal: Upgrade the structure, program and recruitment of our seminary over the next three years
Structure: We will solidify the center in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, with learning hubs/extension centers in other locations, and clarify the relationship between, and the authority and responsibilities of, the Candidacy Committee, Board of Regents, seminary president, Executive Council and NALS. The NALS “banner” will represent all NALC-approved pastoral training options. We will build relationships with other confessional Lutheran seminaries and undergraduate institutions, exploring ways to cooperate in theological education. We will also join with our ecumenical partners to foster orthodox theological education. We will work with visiting faculty to expand both residential- and distance-learning opportunities. Internship sites will be identified in each mission district.
Program: A disciple-making emphasis will be incorporated into seminary training and first-call support, with consideration given to an outcome-based approach to seminary training. We will increase distance-learning options while maintaining confessional, orthodox teaching. We will incorporate theological education with pastoral training in congregations, and work with undergraduate institutions to develop bachelor’s degrees in which seminary level courses are offered and qualify for seminary requirements, also considering ministry experience in lieu of internship requirement.
Recruitment: We will add NALS staff for the recruitment of new seminarians by 2021. We will increase scholarship support for all NALC candidacy-approved seminary students and challenge each mission district/congregation to raise up/plant seeds for potential seminary candidates (students, young adults, second career). We will work with NEXUS to encourage students to consider a pastoral ministry vocation. Overall, we will work to double the number of seminary students by 2023, prepare 300 pastors for the ordained ministry in the next 10 years, and provide funding to train seminary professors to serve at the NALS.
The Rev. Dr. Eric Riesen
President, North American Lutheran Seminary