Jun 28, 2024 Print This Article

SMP, M.Div. students recognized for calls, program completion

SMP calls
SMP students receiving calls: From left, first row: SMP Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson, Bryan Varblow, Joel Springer, David Schultz; second row: Benjamin Marsh, Greg Rathke, Frank Johnson, William Rowland, William Lane, William Beck, Lawrence Ruger, Dean of Ministerial Formation Dr. Timothy Saleska; third row: Connor Wondrasch, M.Div. student; Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen, Timothy Phanco, Kyle Johnson, Tyler Coyne, Shane Acers, Patrick Brooks, Jamie Bauknecht.

Today, 31 students accomplishing two distinct milestones of the Specific Ministry Pastor Program (SMP) as well as one Master of Divinity (M.Div.) student were recognized in the Chapel of St. Timothy and Titus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  

“Specific ministry pastors are used by our Lord for the holy ministry of God’s Word and Sacraments in their congregations and specific ministries. At this time, we rejoice with the SMP students celebrating new calls and receiving theological diplomas, as well as those now completing the program,” said Dr. W. Mart Thompson, associate professor of Practical Theology and director of the SMP Program. “We give thanks to our Lord for their faithful dedication, their families’ support, their congregations’ commitment, their mentors’ and supervising pastors’ wise guidance and their professors’ faithful instruction in God’s Word. All are used by the Lord to equip and call these men into the pastoral ministry!”

Concluding SMP students: From left, first row: John Cotner, SMP Director Dr. W. Mart Thompson, Jared Tanz, Keith Dwyer, Randy Longacre, James Bretthauer, Ryan Golden, Brandon Boos, Dean of Ministerial Formation Dr. Timothy Saleska; second row: Joel Schuldheisz, Director of Placement Dr. Glenn Nielsen, Adam Ellison, Brian Ryherd, Isaac Davis, Jeffrey Tuft, Timothy Koehler, James Greenwalt, Jeffrey Campbell.

The following SMP students were recognized for pastoral calls:

  • Shane Acers, Hope Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa, LCMS Iowa District West
  • Jamie Bauknecht, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church/St. John Lutheran Church, Crandon/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 Church, Albertville, Minn., LCMS Minnesota South District
  • William (Jeff) Lane, Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, Kan., LCMS Kansas District
  • Benjamin Marsh,Shepherd’s Gate Lutheran Church, Shelby Township, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Timothy Phanco, Risen Christ Lutheran 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 (Larry) 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
  • Bryan Varblow, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of the Irish Hills, Brooklyn, Mich., LCMS Michigan District

In addition, 15 students were recognized for completion of the SMP Program:

  • Brandon Boos, Faith Lutheran Church, Saint Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • James Bretthauer, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Medina, Ohio, LCMS English District
  • Jeffrey Campbell, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Old Bridge, N.J., LCMS New Jersey District
  • John Cotner, Placement Pending, LCMS Texas District
  • Isaac Davis, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Pacific Beach, San Diego, Calif., LCMS Pacific SouthwestDistrict
  • Keith Dwyer, Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church, Brighton, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Adam Ellison, Faith Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., LCMS Oklahoma District
  • Ryan Golden, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Queen Creek, Ariz., LCMS Pacific Southwest District
  • James Greenwalt, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Birmingham, Mich., LCMS Michigan District
  • Timothy Koehler, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Randy Longacre,1C: A Mission Church, Columbus, Neb., LCMS Nebraska District
  • Brian Ryherd, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Joel Schuldheisz, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tacoma, Wash., LCMS Northwest District
  • Jared Tanz, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cape Girardeau, Mo., LCMS Missouri District
  • Jeffrey Tuft, Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church/Grace Lutheran Church, Oroville/Gridley, Calif., LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District

Today’s celebration included the recognition of Connor Wondrasch, an M.Div. student, who has been called to the Lutheran High School Association of St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo., LCMS Missouri District.

The Seminary recognizes and celebrates calls throughout the year for students; however, the Seminary’s primary Call Day is held annually in the spring. On Call Day, the majority of students receive their first calls to ministry as well as assignments for vicarages and deaconess internships. The Seminary’s next Call Day is set for April 30, 2025.

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 csl.edu.