The challenges seminaries face

/ 22 May 2003

AKMA, in responding to a newsletter article by Gary Kriss, writes a very thoughtful reflection on the difficult challenges seminaries face in our contemporary context. I think he’s got it right, when he notes that we face the challenge of cultivating an ever-increasing amount of education in the same time span previously used for much less. Now we’re dealing with people coming from multiple backgrounds, many of whom have very little fluency in the traditions they’re coming from. At the same time, the churches we’re preparing them for are ever more diverse and facing their own very difficult challenges due to the tumultuous change going on all around them. Kriss’s piece challenged the very notion of tenure, and AKMA makes some good points in support of it. But I’m even more interested in innovative ways to transform seminary education such that it can keep us both more organically linked to the communities from which and to which our graduates are called, and also more critically reflective in engagement with them. A difficult task, but surely one that is also incredibly energizing to work on. That challenge is precisely why I’m so excited about what’s going on at Luther, where I think we’ve begun to take “preparing missional leaders” in some interesting and innovative new directions.