LCC’s two seminaries in St. Catharines and Edmonton reported to the 2014 synodical convention that they are now in a much more healthy and stable condition than three years ago. Of course, this will not continue without the regular and generous support of church members, but we give thanks to God for His goodness.
Our more pressing challenge now is to address the persistently low enrolments of the past few years. This is not simply the seminaries’ concern, but an urgent matter for the whole church. After all, our primary purpose is to provide men for the pastoral ministry in the congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada, which we cannot accomplish without a crop of good students.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2011 asks the synod’s Board of Directors to take the lead in encouraging members of LCC to consider church vocations. The two seminaries continue to work with prospective students and to visit church gatherings. But the seminaries believe it is time for a focussed campaign to encourage men to consider the pastoral ministry and members of LCC in general to study theology “for the joy of it”.
Presidents Winger and Gimbel stood together on the podium at the 2014 LCC convention to announce the launch of a new vocational recruitment campaign as another piece in the puzzle. The campaign will present a series of posters and online images of current students and graduates, focussing on the reasons why they chose to enter the ministry. It will dovetail with the new synodical website, isgodcallingme.ca.
The first poster, featuring 2014 CLTS graduate Paul Preus, was distributed to convention delegates to bring back to their congregations. It is simultaneously being released on the seminaries’ social media sites. New posters and images will be distributed every few months to keep the need fresh in people’s minds.
Pastors almost unanimously attest that they decided to enter into the ministry because they were encouraged by their pastor, their parents, their youth worker, their Sunday School teacher, their friends–people close to them who saw the right gifts. We pray that this visual campaign, presenting real men in the ministry, will encourage all the members of our church to seek out and encourage men to “ponder, pray, and talk to us” about becoming a pastor.