The second annual “Shepherds of God’s Flock” retreat held for prospective students and their guests at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, was attended by 62 participants, including 48 prospective students, a 50% increase over last year’s attendance. The Jan. 4-6 event was designed for prospective students who are college age or older and are contemplating service as a pastor, missionary or chaplain.
The retreat emphasized the spiritual and personal aspects of the decision-making process. While on campus, participants were led by Seminary faculty members through a study of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions concerning the Holy Ministry. Pastors, missionaries and chaplains were available to speak about the joys and challenges of their service. Participants also worshiped with the Seminary community in daily chapel services, talked with current students and spouses and attended Seminary classes.
“Shepherds of God’s Flock” did not emphasize the “nuts and bolts” of Seminary preparation (financial aid, housing, etc.), although many guests spoke privately with admission counselors about these matters during the retreat. A tour of the Seminary’s on-campus married student residences was conducted immediately following the retreat.
“We wanted to emphasize the study of God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions to assist those struggling with the decision of whether or not to prepare for the pastoral ministry,” commented Rev. Jeffery Moore, director of ministerial recruitment at Concordia Seminary. “There is a substantial support network in place here to assist with the physical aspects of Seminary preparation. We wanted to concentrate on the spiritual aspects of the decision-making process.”
Many participants commented on how helpful the retreat proved to be for them. One participant wrote, “I greatly appreciate Concordia Seminary giving me the opportunity to attend this retreat. It has helped to cement in my mind my calling to be a pastor…I hope the Seminary continues this program for other men facing similar decisions in the future.” Another participant commented, “This was very faith-strengthening. I really appreciated the feeling that the faculty is so approachable.”
The next structured visitation opportunity at Concordia Seminary is the annual “Institute on the Ministry” to be held March 16-18. In contrast to the “Shepherds of God’s Flock” retreat, the Institute will emphasize the “nuts and bolts” of Seminary life and will provide information concerning these matters. As is the case with all Seminary visitation opportunities, wives, fiancees and girlfriends of prospective students are encouraged to participate.
Prospective students and their guests also are encouraged to visit Concordia Seminary for individual visits, at times most convenient for them. On-campus meals and lodging are provided free of charge to guests regardless of the time of the visit.
Anyone interested in registering for the Institute on the Ministry or visiting the Seminary on an individual visit is encouraged to contact the Admissions Office of Concordia Seminary at 801 DeMun Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105; 1.800.822.9545; CSLAdmis@aol.com .