Help Needed to Fund Theological Education around the World — $250,000 matching gift available

By the Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver

Director of Church Relations—

Assistant to the President

Since the time of the Reformation and the early days of Wittenberg University, the Lutheran Church has been a church that excels at education, in particular theological education. Education is a vital part of our LCMS heritage and has blossomed to become a core competency of the LCMS. In fact, from its very beginning, the Missouri Synod emphasized the importance of Lutheran education with the founding of day schools, high schools, colleges, seminaries, and more recently, international schools such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hanoi. Around the world, both Christians and non-Christians alike associate education with the Missouri Synod. It is really no surprise, then, that a major missionary emphasis of the LCMS involves theological education.

Building on our strong tradition of education, President Harrison announced in May 2011 the establishing of a Global Theological Education Initiative, along with a generous matching offer of $250,000 from an anonymous donor. This initiative involves several components.

The first provides funds to both Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, to offer scholarships for international students from around the world who are considered to be future leaders of their church. This component of the initiative helps partner churches build capacity both in leadership and in their ability to provide theological education at their own institutions. A second component of this initiative provides support for the regional seminaries of LCMS partner churches. A third component provides funding for LCMS professors and pastors to travel to a partner or even a non-partner church and teach at one of their regional seminaries or theological education centers. Each year, the LCMS receives more requests than we can meet from partner churches to provide theological education.

In practical terms, the Global Theological Education Initiative will greatly assist our LCMS partner churches. Currently, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, has two professors from the seminary of our partner church in Argentina studying at the graduate school so that they can return to their country and better prepare pastors for Hispanic ministry in South America. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking Lutheran church. By assisting the Lutheran Church in Argentina, the LCMS maximizes its mission outreach in the region while at the same time building local capacity for the future.

In Papua, New Guinea, St. Timothy Seminary is in desperate need of renovated toilet, shower and dormitory facilities. Currently, this need hinders them from enrolling more students to study for the pastoral ministry. Elsewhere, the Lutheran Church in Nigeria (LCN) recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. At the celebration, Archbishop Ekong mentioned the need for visiting seminary professors from the LCMS at their seminary.

Recently, the Lutheran Church in South Africa (LCSA) requested that the LCMS send a professor who could teach the Small Catechism in a practical way so that students would know how to use the catechism in everyday ministry. We were able to fulfill this request by sending the Rev. Randy Asburry from Hope Lutheran Church, St. Louis. Each of these examples demonstrates the various needs that the Global Theological Education Initiative is designed to meet so that the Gospel of Jesus may be spread throughout the world. Part of our Life Together as a church is to respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters, both near and far.

Time is short for the matching grant opportunity. Please consider supporting the Global Theological Education Initiative by visiting http://lcms.org/projects.

Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations