LSTC's curriculum cultivates competencies for leadership in a public church that focuses on community engagement, public witness, and social transformation. Our holistic approach to theological education breaks academic disciplines out of their silos and allows creative collaboration to flourish.
What we mean by Public Church
With Public Church as the organizing principle for its MDiv, MAM and MA degree programs, LSTC aims to equip students to address their initial "publics," the worshiping communities and congregations of the ELCA and other denominations and ecumenical communities. Gathering around Word and Sacrament is a profoundly public act, rigorously engaged with multiple other publics. Public Church is grounded in the convictions of the Protestant Reformation and continues Luther's legacy of challenging corruption, naming sin, living out of a theology of grace, sharing the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and moving beyond the public of church into multiple, intersecting publics. LSTC seeks to form attentive and contextually engaged ministerial leaders for a Public Church by creatively employing the skills of community building in ways that best serve the particular communities to which they are called.
The MDiv, MA, and MAM students are encouraged to view seminary as a formative stage of their lifelong journey of learning and intentional cultivation of the skills, aptitudes, and experiences needed for leadership for a public church today. The curriculum takes each student’s strengths, experiences, and unique interests as a starting point. It further equips them with the skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to develop competencies in leadership for a public church.
Features of LSTC’s MDiv, MA, and MAM curricula include:
- 5-9 required orienting courses (depending on degree) provide foundation and framework
- Competency-based, with multiple pathways toward completion
- Holistic approach to theological education that is rigorous, dialogical, and experiential
- Action-reflection pedagogy that foregrounds learning in context
- Interdisciplinary and integrative design and instruction of courses
- Hundreds of courses available through the ACTS consortium
- Chicago as your classroom
LSTC’s Public Church Curriculum has been recognized as one of the most innovative among North American seminaries by Convergence US.
Public Church Fellows Program
LSTC’s innovative Public Church Fellows program combines service at a community non-profit or social service organization with intentional small group reflection and faith formation. Combining service experience with academic course work creates Public Church Fellows who serve as leaders in the LSTC community and gain meaningful experience for ministry.
Public Church Fellows
- Serve seven hours a week during the academic year with a non-profit community partner
- Develop learning objectives and goals with site coordinator
- Establish relationships and mentorships with off-campus community partners
- Participate in regular reflection and faith formation activities, including trainings and networking with seminarians from other institutions
- Lead within the LSTC community by supporting a broader conversation about public church, service and justice
- Receive a $500 monthly stipend during the academic year
Individuals are invited to apply to the program after receiving an offer of admission. All incoming master’s level students (MDiv, MAM, MA) are eligible, including part-time and commuter students. Ten incoming students are selected as Public Church Fellows every fall, which does not affect financial aid offers made at the time of admission. With the exception of internship, the fellowship is guaranteed for all years of study, assuming the fellow remains in good standing and chooses to continue in the program.
The Public Church Fellows program allows me to synthesize what I am learning in the classroom with my experience serving others in the neighborhood. There is no better way to follow Christ’s command to love our neighbors than actually getting out and loving them!
Public Church Fellows are engaged with a number of different organizations in the Chicago area that provide service in the fields of:
|Aging & Elderly||Homelessness & Housing|
|Children & Youth||Interfaith|
|Domestic Violence||Poverty & Low-Income|
|Education||Refugees & Immigration|
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773.256.0727
The videos below feature congregations which found creative ways to respond to needs in their communities.
"Lessons from Peace Camp" features an alternative to Vacation Bible School, developed from a Peace Village Global curriculum by Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church on Chicago's south side. The week long camp teaches peaceful ways to deal with conflict.
"Public Worship for a Public Church," developed by Klaus-Peter Adam, associate professor of Old Testament, shows how witness or testimony can be used in worship to address issues in the congregation's community, such as street gang violence in Chicago.
The videos were produced, in part, through a grant from the Association of Theological Schools, and guided by Luther Snow and Ryan Fordice. Jason Chesnut of ANKOS Films edited video recorded by Community TV Network.