Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and the Board for Mission Services of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) are initiating a joint-effort to provide a missionary track for Seminary students who desire to serve as missionaries following seminary graduation.
“The missionary track will follow the basic outlines of the general curriculum and would not vary from the required courses in place for all students,” said Dr. Robert Kolb, Mission Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary and Director of the Seminary’s Institute for Mission Studies. “The new missionary track would, however, concentrate students’ elective courses to provide the type of learning particularly suitable for the mission field into which the LCMS Board for Mission Services would like to send them.”
In addition, the vicarage (internship) experience for students in the missionary track would be deferred until the final year of seminary preparation. Normally, students return to campus for a final year of course work following the one-year vicarage experience. In the missionary track, all course work would be completed first, and then the vicarage would take place. “In this way, students can continue in the field of work to which they had been sent without interruption and the accompanying loss of language learning and cultural adaptation,” added Kolb.
The deferred vicarage will be conducted under the supervision of a veteran missionary or parish pastor and will involve work in established ministries as well as work in a new mission situation. Overseas vicarages will be two years in duration, and North American vicarages will be one or two years in duration.
Beginning in the third academic quarter of a missionary track student’s program, curricular and extracurricular learning activities will be combined to help prepare students for their vicarages and subsequent Calls. Some pastors in cross-cultural outreach in the field will be involved in intensive off-campus experiences in which skills in translating the Gospel into the “tongues” of other cultures will be practiced.
Candidates for the missionary track will be selected each year from the potential missionaries in the first-year class. Initial evaluation of applicants will be done by the Seminary’s Institute for Mission Studies Council. Those whose applications are accepted by this council will be interviewed by the LCMS Board for Mission Services and by district or synodical mission staffs before final admission to the program.
For more information on the missionary track, contact the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7114.