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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Would You Buy a Used Horse From These Guys?

Tomorrow (June 1), seminarian Jason Braaten will become the Reverend Jason Braaten. Jason is the latest addition to our Seminary Admission staff.

We had a bit of a surprise luncheon for him in the office. Thanks to all who helped.

He'll try to tell you that the pink feather boa is mine, but don't you believe it.

The second picture is of our Admission Officers. Going left to right, there is me, Jason, Martin Luther, Phil Zielinski, Tom Zimmerman and John Dreyer (the eligible bachelor among us). Not pictured are the ladies. Why didn't we get a shot of them? Pat Painter, Marsha Zimmerman and Cheri Shoemaker. Also not pictured are the three student workers: Brian German, Tony Oliphant, and Tim Storck.

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Darrell said...

AWESOME! Martin Luther himself came to your photo op!

Oh, wait ... you CGI'd that, didn't you?

The Heresy Hunter said...

Luther is looking a little pale, but given his age it is to be expected, I suppose. Or maybe he just saw the current state of the LCMS church.

Anonymous said...

Is pastoral experience considered an important qualification for somebody serving as an Admission Counselor at the seminary? If not, why not?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

That's like asking whether it's necessary to have pastoral experience before becoming a pastor. Huh?

Anonymous said...

Rev. Stiegemeyer,

My understanding is that a significant responsibility of an Admission Counselor is to speak with men who are considering whether to apply to the seminary and advise them in that decision-making process.

I’m very confident that most men considering the seminary are doing so with the idea that they would subsequently serve as parish pastors (with some also considering options such as chaplaincy, in which they would not necessarily have a traditional parish but would be serving a particular group of people with Word and Sacrament ministry).

It would seem to me that an Admission Counselor would be better equipped for advising such men if he himself had actually served in that capacity. Do you disagree?

I recognize that one could regard an individual serving as an Admission Counselor as being in the divinely instituted office of the holy ministry. However, even if one does take that view, that does not mean that the issue of having prior pastoral experience is irrelevant.

If you were weighing the decision of going to the seminary (with the eventual goal of becoming a parish pastor), whose advice do you think would be more helpful: that of somebody who knew from first-hand experience what it is like to serve as a parish pastor ... or somebody who had never had that experience?

(To avoid giving the wrong impression, I also want to clearly state that my concerns in this area have to do with the decision making of the seminary. They are in no way specific to the particular individual who happened to receive this call. In other words, this isn't personal.)

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Dear Anonymous,

So it sounds like your concern is a practical one, not a theological one. In other words, wouldn't a man with parish experience be more effective? The answer is not necessarily. It depends on the individual. That's very much like saying that a man with parish experience would make a better seminary professor. Again, that does not necessarily follow. Some of our finest professors through history at both seminaries have had little or no parish experience. It's a nice ideal but a man could have 50 years parish experience and still be a lousy prof or admission counselor. It depends on the individual. So, you see, it is personal.

Every pastor has the responsibility to raise up future pastors. The church, through the seminary, has selected certain men to primarily focus on that task. It doesn't exempt others from still "recruiting" pastors, of course.

A bit of history for you. In 1996, the seminary enrollment was very low. Two young sem graduates were then added to the admission staff. Neither had parish experience. But in three years time, enrollment shot up. So the evidence does not support your assumption.

So perhaps it would be best for you to not second guess the "decision making of the seminary" and focus on your own vocation instead.

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary