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Thank you for your prayers as we prepare for the second phase of our pastoral summit. The first phase was held at Grand View University in Des Moines last June. For that phase we gathered a number of leaders from four different Lutheran church bodies – ELCA, Missouri Synod, LCMC, and NALC – to discuss what can be done to raise up a whole new generation of Lutheran pastors who believe that the Bible is the Word of God and who are passionately committed to reaching people for Jesus Christ. A list of some of the main topics that were covered, as well as written copies and audio recordings of several of the presentations, can be found under the pastoral formation tab on the home page of our website,

The second phase will be held at a hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare airport on April 11. For this second phase we are gathering a number of leaders who are doing something unique and/or particularly effective to raise up leaders, including future pastors, in their ministry context. Four will be present in person, while two others will be presenting by skype.

The four who will be presenting in person are –

Scott Grorud, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minnesota (LCMC). Scott will tell about what he is doing to raise up leaders within his ministry context, including what he is doing to raise up young people to be future leaders.

Brian Hughes, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Columbia, Maryland (ELCA). Brian will describe what it means to be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-denominational church, and how he is raising up leaders in his ministry setting.

Gary Pecuch, director of youth ministries at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grove City, Ohio (NALC). Along with his wife, Gary leads the Faith Webinar seminars for the NALC and offers similar seminars for the ELCA’s Southern Ohio Synod. Gary will describe what the future church will look like (and not look like) for millennials and centennials; what the role of pastor will be in the future; what seminary education might look like in the future; and the kind of training he is offering young people and people who work with young people, in light of the above.

Julie Smith, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Minnesota (LCMC); member of the LCMC board of trustees; and dean of students of Saint Paul Lutheran Seminary. Julie will tell about the vision that led to the founding of the seminary and also about their various programs – their more traditional programs as well as the ways in which they are making theological education more affordable, accessible, and available.

The two who will be presenting by skype are –

Jeff Christopherson, vice president of the Send Network, which is part of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jeff will tell about his work of identifying, training, supporting, equipping, and sending out church planters who will focus on new believers, disciple-making, community transformation, and multiplication.

Jari Rankinen, general secretary of the Theological Institute of Finland. This institute gives support to orthodox seminarians and provides orthodox Lutheran teaching as a supplement to the education seminarians are receiving through the state university system. One of the presenters at the first phase of the pastoral summit, Gene Veith, told us about the mission societies in Scandinavia, who are keeping orthodoxy alive in an environment that is very hostile to orthodoxy. We are very grateful to Gene for putting us in touch with the leader of one of these institutions, so that we can learn more.

Also as part of our pastoral formation project, we are featuring in our bi-monthly newsletter, CORE Voice, different organizations that are training the next generation of Lutheran pastors. We are also working on putting together a workshop that could be presented at different church gatherings and convocations, involving the people who would be attending those events. A long-term goal is to be able to put together an event that would be open to all, would be inspirational in nature, and would be based upon the words of Jesus in Matthew 9 – “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to raise up laborers for His harvest.”

We are very grateful to all of our friends for their prayers for our pastoral formation project. We also want to say “Thank you” to all who have given a gift in support of these efforts to raise up pastors and other church leaders for the future.

Please continue to pray with us and for us as we continue to work with others to raise up the next generation of Lutheran pastors.

Blessings in Christ,
Dennis D. Nelson
President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE