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Students immersed in ministry on Phoenix trip

Grant from Siebert Lutheran Foundation enables visit to multiple ministries

Students from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis recently had the opportunity to learn firsthand the realities of parish ministry from pastors of four diverse congregations in and around Phoenix, Arizona.

As part of the three-day experience, students visited Christ Church Lutheran in Phoenix, Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran in Greenfield, Risen Savior in Chandler, and St. Luke in Mesa. They met with pastors and other staff members at each church who shared insights on important ministry functions including church finances, fundraising campaigns, staff organization, administration, transitions, work/life balance and many others.

“More than a traditional classroom experience, the Phoenix immersion trip provided learning opportunities for congregational leadership from a series of four very proficient, unique, and able Lutheran pastors,” said Matt Schuler, a fourth-year student who participated in the trip. “It was, by far, one of the most valuable experiences of my seminary education.”

Connecting formational work with the realities of today’s congregational ministry is a priority at Concordia Seminary, and the experiences encountered through immersion trips can provide that connection. “The immersion experience linked ideas I had heard in class with real world ministries,” said Barrett Grebing, another fourth-year student who took part in the trip. “It was a great opportunity to gain exposure to four distinct churches living out God’s mission, each a little differently.”

The immersion trip was funded by a grant from the Siebert Lutheran Foundation in Brookfield, Wisconsin, which, among other goals, seeks to share the Gospel by supporting ministry leaders in Lutheran churches.

“It was a great chance for the students to learn about pastoral leadership outside of the classroom,” said Rev. Ben Haupt, who served as the faculty mentor for the trip. “They learned so much from each of the pastors during each day’s session. Then every evening we had the chance to debrief, which led to great conversations and the opportunity to bring together all they had learned.”

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars, and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since its founding in 1839, Concordia Seminary has equipped more than 12,000 graduates to serve Church and world. Today, a world-renowned faculty teaches more than 600 students in the classroom, off-campus, and online. Learn more at