LSTC, Augsburg University form partnership for five-year BA/MDiv degrees

September 22, 2020

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) and Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minn., are launching a five-year BA/MDiv degree called the Public Church Scholars. Students in this program will complete two degrees in five years: a bachelor of arts in Theology and Public Leadership from Augsburg and a master of divinity from LSTC.

“We are delighted to partner with Augsburg University in the exciting and innovative Public Church Scholars program,” says Matthew James, LSTC admissions director. “This program is one way that we are working diligently to both raise up new leaders and break down the barriers to ministry that some experience when answering their call to serve the church and the world.”

The goal of this program is to prepare intentional leaders of a multiracial, multiethnic public church. In Christian community, students will explore theological education, leadership formation, and experiential learning in an internship in preparation to be public leaders in the church. LSTC has long been committed to, and known for, its Public Church emphasis in leadership that focuses on community engagement, public witness and social transformation.

Amber Kalina, an LSTC student now on internship, attended Augsburg and sees advantages of this program. In fact, she wishes it had been an option for her. She chose Augsburg because of its Youth and Family Ministry degree, and her experience with the Youth Theology Institute.

“One of the reasons I picked LSTC was because I perceived a similar atmosphere of challenge and nurture that I had experienced at Augsburg,” she said. I wanted a seminary education that would continue to push me deeper into my faith, not just allow me to remain comfortable in what I came to learn at Augsburg.”

Both Augsburg and LSTC form leaders who make a difference inside and outside the walls of the church by being deeply rooted in their communities, she said. 

“From attending Augsburg as an undergrad and LSTC as a graduate student, I feel that I have been equipped for ministry that is deeply relational, grounded in the gospel, and geared toward making a difference in the lives of people and the world God made.”  

Ole Schenk, 2020 LSTC graduate who also did his internship at Augsburg, calls this a “dynamic pathway for future public leaders.”

“It’s an achievement to celebrate,” Schenk said. “As someone who has studied at LSTC, and served as a pastoral intern at campus ministry at Augsburg, I’ve seen how both schools take each other’s vision even further. We’re moving our theologies of vocation, grace, and the cross, and taking them into the public issues of the neighborhood. Students at both schools are doing this visionary work.” 

Elements of the new Public Church Scholars program include:

  • Co-curricular formation including a supportive cohort of peers
  • Generous financial aid
  • Training in equity and inclusion, cultural competency and vocational discernment
  • Spiritual direction practice (individual and group)
  • Life coaching and professional mentors
  • Accompaniment through the candidacy process for ordination into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA.
  • Completion of Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Paid four-year part-time contextual learning and internship in a congregation or faith-based non-profit

This pilot program is supported by a grant focused on increasing the opportunities for students to study pastoral leadership in the church. Application instructions, further information and contact information can be found on our website. Or, contact a member of the LSTC Admissions team at admissions@lstc.edu or  773-256-0694 with questions.

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