In Appreciation of Dr. Mathiesen

Dr. Gaylan Mathiesen is Professor of Mission and Evangelism at Lutheran Brethren Seminary. He has served in this capacity since the summer of 2005. This summer Gaylan will be retiring, as he completes seventeen years of teaching at LBS. During these years, he has not only strengthened the seminary’s passion for international missions, but he has also helped us consider God’s gospel-mission in everyday life. How has he done this? To answer that question, I invite you to listen to the words of his own students.
Ben Hosch, Missionary
I spent many hours with Dr. Mathiesen, not just in the classroom as professor, but in my pastoral ministry as a mentor, and in life as a trusted friend. This is one of the aspects of Dr. Mathiesen’s ministry I most admire: the balance of his academic rigor and his desire to be involved in the lives of ordinary, everyday believers. One of his most commonly uttered phrases was, “Be a learner before you presume to be a teacher.” And this wise piece of advice has served me well in my short time as a missionary in Taiwan. We continue to share many deep theological conversations, not to mention a mutual love for Asian culture and Japanese theologians. However, Dr. Mathiesen’s true love is for Christ’s Church and the mission he has for her. Gaylan, God bless you on your retirement from LBS, and your continued ministry in the CLB.

Jeremy Wilson, Pastor
Behind Dr. Mathiesen’s humble, unassuming manner lies a burning passion for the spread of the gospel. From his time in overseas missions, he understood that an essential part of loving your neighbors is learning about them, entering into their lives, and genuinely appreciating their language, culture, history, and everything else that makes them who they are. Likewise, loving your neighbors requires sharing yourself in the exact same way and inviting them to know who you are on a deep and personal level. And as he taught us about evangelism, he showed this applies whether you’re on the other side of the world or in your own back yard. When we do this, sharing the gospel becomes natural. I am truly blessed to have been able to call Dr. Mathiesen, “professor.” Time spent in his class, conversations after class and in the student lounge, and devotional times with him as leader were all encouraging, enlightening, and useful. Congratulations, Professor, on your retirement, and thank you for all you have done for me, and all of your students.

Ryan Nordlund, Pastor
There’s a quiet sort of way about Dr. Mathiesen. He doesn’t raise his voice very often. He doesn’t jump up and down with excitement. But don’t let that fool you. His intensity when it comes to reaching the lost for Jesus Christ is as passionate as it gets. There’s a twinkle in his eyes and an urgency in his voice that is unmistakably a hunger and a thirst for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth. In fact, God used that passion to inspire many seminary students, including me. It was sitting in his Mission classes that God stirred up in me the desire to plant a church. I even got to sit in his office and ask him questions about starting a church. And little did I know, at the time, God would one day use me to do just that. The work that is being done in Lincoln, ND is the work of God, but there is no doubt in my mind that God used Dr. Mathiesen, and his passion for reaching the lost, to motivate and encourage me to start this work. Thank you, Dr. Mathiesen, and thank you, Lord, for raising him up as a professor at Lutheran Brethren Seminary.
We thank God for Dr. Mathiesen and for his faithful, effective, and inspiring ministry at LBS and throughout the CLB. God has used Gaylan to open the eyes of students, faculty, pastors, and lay persons to the heart of God for the nations—those who are far away and those who are near. His example of passionate and loving service to others has inspired a new generation of missionaries who are finding themselves impacted by and engaged in the mission of God (missio Dei) for the nations. Thank you, Dr. Mathiesen, for your service! And may God bless you in this new season of life and ministry.

Dr. Brad Pribbenow is Dean of Lutheran Brethren Seminary in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

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