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New SMP, CMC students receive vicarage assignments

New students in the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program and Cross-cultural Ministry Center (CMC) Program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis received their vicarage assignments Feb. 10 in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. All of the students serve in congregations and ministries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

“Those entering into the SMP Program will be adding course work and vicarage responsibilities to their already full and busy lives of work, family responsibilities and other life vocations God has given to them,” said SMP Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson. “While the program is demanding and requires significant sacrifice and commitment, their hard work will certainly bear fruit for the sake of the Gospel as they are formed for the Office of the Ministry to become pastors in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.”

Concordia Seminary’s SMP Program is a four-year distance-education program in which men receive both academic and hands-on pastoral ministry training. Local pastor-mentors work alongside SMP students, providing them with opportunities to serve the various needs of the church. Students are assigned pastoral vicarages upon beginning the program.

The SMP students receiving vicarages included:

  • Shane Acers, Hope Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa, LCMS Iowa District West
  • Jamie Bauknecht, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Crandon, Wis., and St. John Lutheran Church, Laona, Wis., LCMS North Wisconsin District
  • William Beck, Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colo., LCMS Rocky Mountain District
  • Patrick Brooks, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Southgate, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Tyler Coyne, Crosspoint Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • Frank Johnson, Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Kan., LCMS Kansas District
  • Kyle Johnson, Samaritans Hill Lutheran Church, Albertville, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
  • William “Jeff” Lane, Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kan., LCMS Kansas District
  • Benjamin Marsh, Shepherd’s Gate Church, Shelby Township, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Timothy Phanco, Risen Christ Church, Myrtle Beach, S.C., LCMS Southeastern District
  • Greg Rathke, Trinity Lutheran Church, Fremont, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • William Rowland, Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst, Texas, LCMS Texas District
  • Lawrence Ruger, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Matteson, Ill., LCMS Northern Illinois District
  • David Schultz, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Bay City, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Joel Springer, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Springfield, Ill., LCMS Central Illinois District

The CMC Program has been established by Concordia University, Irvine, Calif. (CUI), in conjunction with Concordia Seminary and the LCMS Pacific Southwest District, to provide directed preparation for ordained ministry to men who will serve in the sociocultural contexts of specific ethnic populations and multicultural communities.

“The mission of the CMC Program is to form faithful missionary pastors to launch and develop culture-crossing ministries that reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Jeff Thormodson, assistant director of Vicarage and Deaconess Internships at Concordia Seminary. “We are thankful for these men and the new cross-cultural ministries in which they will be a part.”

The following CMC students were recognized in absentia:

  • Kirk Bauer, Christ Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Les Schaefer, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • Chris Smith, Bethany Lutheran Church, Vacaville, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis 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). To learn more, visit