Responding to 21st Century ministry needs with an unchanging Gospel, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL), is revising its curriculum for training pastors. Congregations Matter© is excited about the revised curriculum that goes into effect at our St. Louis campus this fall. The revised curriculum will do an even better job of preparing pastors for our LCMS congregations. You may read about the curriculum here.
Why was the curriculum revised?
The last time the Seminary thoroughly revised its M.Div. curriculum was in 1958. Pastors graduating today are serving congregations in a world that is much different than it was more than two generations ago. A few changes in 1978 and 1995 added content, but this resulted in an unorganized curriculum.
21st century congregations need their pastors prepared with a well-designed, firm foundation of pastoral formation. The revised curriculum is designed as a whole and will do a better job of forming pastors for our congregations. It is designed to enhance the original language study of Scripture, weaves the Lutheran Confessions into all instruction, and grows the spiritual and social maturity of pastors by design.
Enhances the Original Language Study of Holy Scriptures
Most new M.Div. students will arrive this fall on our St. Louis campus with modest, if any, background in Greek and Hebrew. As before, they will receive intensive pre-work in the languages before their first fall semester begins. These intensive courses do a good job and will continue. The revised curriculum will then augment this initial language course by adding periodic three-week lab courses in Greek and Hebrew throughout the four-year M.Div. curriculum.
The revised curriculum also makes full use of new digital and computer-based learning tools. Graduates can take these digital tools with them into their congregations to keep their Greek and Hebrew skills sharp. The overall effect of the revised curriculum is that St. Louis Seminary MDIV students will graduate with their Greek and Hebrew skills at their highest point of competency, and that will benefit our congregations.
Deepens the Understanding of our Lutheran Confessions
The revised curriculum weaves our Lutheran Confessions into the fabric of the M.Div. curriculum. Rather than teaching our confessions and doctrine off to the side separately, the revised curriculum brings our Lutheran Confessions and doctrine into the very center of the coursework assigned to our M.Div. students.
By seeing how our confessions and doctrine guide and illumine our understanding and interpretation of all the coursework done in the M.Div. program, our congregations will call pastors with a far deeper commitment to, and understanding of our Confessions for the people in our congregations.
Forms pastors to effectively minister in our congregations
Enhanced pastoral formation will be a major benefit of the revised curriculum. In the past, and currently, when one of our pastors fails, a likely reason is that the pastor lacked the spiritual and social maturity for the demanding role of pastor. The revised curriculum addresses the reality of the essential ingredients of pastoral success which are largely personal. M.Div. students will be in regular and ongoing groups, led by the same faculty. This will facilitate their personal growth as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ and as social human beings destined to lead and serve our congregations relationally as well as spiritually. Better prepared and mature pastors matter to our congregations.
So, what’s the bottom line?
The revised curriculum recognizes the reality that congregations matter. Our Seminary graduates will receive Calls extended by congregations of God’s people, the Body of Christ. The revised curriculum will better fulfill our Synod’s responsibilities to do the best job possible of preparing pastors for our congregations.
Congregations Matter tips its hat to our St. Louis Seminary
Thank you, President Dale Meyer, faculty leaders and executives at our Concordia St. Louis Seminary for the years of hard work it took to craft this amazing and outstanding revised curriculum.
We Need to Pray
Jesus’ compassion for lost people was on clear display in Matthew Chapters 9 and 10. Can you hear the desire of His heart for us?
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38, NLT)
As congregations, please pray for the young men entering our St. Louis Seminary this fall. They will be the first class to experience an entire four years of formation and education under our revised curriculum. These men are our future pastors. We are excited to support them!
And pray that the Lord sends more pastors and lay folk into His harvest field. We are in this together.