Jan 02, 2024 Print This Article

Dear alumni

Dr. Thomas J. Egger photo

We need more pastors! How are we going to find more pastors?

Remarks like these arise in many conversations these days in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Student recruitment is a crucial aspect of our Seminary’s work. The Gospel must be preached! The Lord works through His Word, patiently and graciously, extending life and hope to sinners through His Son.

In some cases, prospective students are “sent” to us. Encouraged by pastors, congregation members and relatives, they contact us for information about studying for the ministry. While this is a welcome dynamic, our role in recruitment at Concordia Seminary goes far beyond simply waiting for the phone to ring!

Our strategic plan regarding recruitment begins with a commitment to pray to the Lord of the harvest to provide workers for the harvest, as Jesus bids us do.

Yet prayer is not our only task. Under our eighth strategic initiative “Increased Enrollment,” we have identified several areas of focus and creative exploration. Let me briefly highlight just three of these.

First, we are developing a small array of online courses that will give opportunity to explore seminary and theological study from home, as a way of attracting and on-ramping more people into our pastoral formation and deaconess programs. These courses will give them a taste and a running start.

Second, we are continuing to invest in and creatively improve campus visit opportunities, especially our summer event offerings for young people and a new annual conference for college students.

Third, we are working hard to multiply our points of contact and prospective-student identification at the congregation and circuit levels of our church, through an effort we are calling the “army of volunteers.” Along with this, we are investing in and optimizing our software and communications resources to maintain consistent encouragement and engagement with all prospects, all the while recognizing that personal conversations are the real key, in the end.

Church worker recruitment is a task we share with our church at every level. We are grateful for our Synod’s Set Apart to Serve initiative that provides church-worker recruitment resources online and in the hands of pastors, teachers and parents at a congregational level, aiming to inspire young people in kindergarten through 12th grade. We are grateful for the strong appeal coming from our LCMS districts to their members to consider full-time service to the church. We are also partnering with our sister seminary in Fort Wayne in student recruitment. The goal for our seminaries is to inspire more and more Lutherans to aspire to the ministry rather than to out-maneuver each other in fishing from a “fixed pool” of prospective students.

As alumni of Concordia Seminary, I encourage you as well to be actively involved in the essential task of recruiting and encouraging the church’s future pastors and deaconesses. Thanks so much for all you do in this effort!

O Spirit, who didst once restore
Thy Church that it might be again
The bringer of good news to men,
Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more,
That in these gray and latter days
There may be those whose life is praise,
Each life a high doxology
To Father, Son, and unto Thee. (LSB 834, v. 4)

In Christ’s love,

Dr. Thomas J. Egger