Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is proudly announcing its new MissionShift Institute (MSI), open to Seminary students, local pastors and laity, and the St. Louis community. Originating from Minneapolis, Minn., the Seminary has been working with the MissionShift organization to create a local branch of its MissionShift Institute in the St. Louis area.
The MissionShift Institute of Concordia Seminary is a network of local leaders brought together around a proven curriculum to equip Christians to build and lead culture-crossing ministries. It serves participating congregations with valuable training for their members in the theory and practice of starting and leading local, cultural-crossing ministries. MSI’s final project benefits the city of St. Louis by creating urban ministry plans that local congregations, non-profits, and organizations can act on. MSI enhances Concordia Seminary students’ residential field education through experiential and contextual training.
“One of the biggest challenges in ministry today is culture-crossing, finding ways to reach people whose worldview is different from our own,” commented Rev. Jeff Thormodson, director of Concordia Seminary’s MissionShift Institute. “This not only includes race and ethnic differences, but also generational and social orientation differences. America is 30 years away from becoming a nation where there is no majority ethnic group, and the church needs to be preparing now. The challenges faced by overseas missionaries are the same challenges pastors are beginning to face here. Our mission statement, ‘Equipping Christians to build and lead culture-crossing ministries,’ is designed to prepare students for ministry in a diverse context, and eventually lead congregations into the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic future on the horizon.”
“We’re excited to see the model expand,” MissionShift Institute Executive Director Rev. Roland Wells commented. “We have two goals. In one generation we’d like to see every world city have a branch of MissionShift Institute, and we want every congregation to have its own cross-cultural ministry. The new branch in St. Louis, working with this tremendous missional vision is very exciting for us.”