Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, began its 165th academic year by welcoming 178 new students to its campus, a 44 percent increase over last year’s 124 new students and its largest incoming class in 32 years. The students processed in the opening worship service held Sunday, Sept. 7, at 4:00 p.m. in the Seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. Dr. John F. Johnson, president of Concordia Seminary, served as preacher at the service.
“This is very positive news for our church,” commented Rev. Michael Redeker, the Seminary’s director of ministerial recruitment. “If this surge in enrollment continues over the coming years, it will have a significant impact upon the pastoral shortage in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). We also have five students who are planning to enroll this winter quarter and more than 40 applications from students who plan to enroll next year.”
The 178 new students include only residential students who are preparing to serve as pastors in the LCMS. Of the 178 new students, 166 are enrolled in the master of divinity program (a 52 percent increase over last year’s 109 new master of divinity program students), and 12 are enrolled in the certificate (alternate route) program. Two new master of divinity program students who began their studies in the winter quarter last year are not included in the 178 new students. Also, 24 new students enrolled in the Seminary’s Graduate School, 10 of whom are enrolled in the Seminary’s Deaconess program, are not included in the final total number.
“These numbers are evidence of God answering the prayers of His people to raise up workers for His harvest field,” commented Rev. Glen Thomas, the Seminary’s vice president for seminary relations. “I believe these numbers also reflect the confidence the church has in Concordia Seminary’s faculty and pastoral formation program. Faithful, compassionate, mission-minded graduates have been the hallmark of Concordia Seminary, and these same pastors have encouraged many of our incoming students to follow in their footsteps.”
The 44 percent increase in new students this fall continues a trend of surging enrollment at Concordia Seminary which began four years ago, when the Seminary’s Board of Regents took the bold step of initiating a Full-Tuition Partnership for all residential students preparing to serve as pastors in the LCMS. This partnership involves a student’s home congregation, home district and gifts from donors to Concordia Seminary in covering tuition costs. “The people of the church also have played a large role in this enrollment increase as they have provided not only their prayers, but also the financial resources necessary to cover tuition costs for our future pastors,” commented Thomas. “Yet the incredible enrollment surge has produced a daunting fiscal challenge, and we appeal to congregations, groups and individuals throughout the church to continue their generous support of our future pastors.”
Those contemplating Seminary enrollment and preparation to serve in the pastoral ministry are invited to contact Concordia Seminary’s admissions office at 1-800-822-9545, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those wishing to offer financial gifts in support of future pastors may contact the Seminary’s development office at 1-800-822-5287, or email@example.com. Donors also may utilize the Seminary’s online donation function on its Web site (https://www.csl.edu/donate.htm). A credit card may be used to make an offering for the Full-Tuition Partnership.