"Well, It's Time" - Seminary President Ready to Pass the Baton

"Well, it’s time.” Have you ever used that line? I am using it today because it is time to announce plans for a change in leadership at Lutheran Brethren Seminary. I will turn 74 in September, and, although I have energy and good health, it is time for the next generation to step forward and take this ministry to the next level.

I have been thinking and praying about this for a few years. Because I love this ministry and love what I get to do, I haven’t wanted to make this decision. Then the Holy Spirit used one line from a message given at the biennial convention of the Church last June. Greg Anderson gave an illustration about coaching track and specifically about relay racing. He noted that the most important skill for relay teams is the passing of the baton. The next statement penetrated my heart. “There are many ways to drop the baton. One is by hanging on too long.”

I am absolutely certain that he did not say those words for my benefit, but the Holy Spirit used those words to lead me to this decision. I don’t want to hang on too long and thereby prevent someone with new energy and new vision from stepping into leadership. We have many opportunities before us, and we need strong leadership to accomplish the mission that the Lord has placed before us.

Our Ministry Call Mentors are having dozens of conversations with potential students. We have five persons from the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia who want to prepare here for ministry. The leadership of the Lutheran church in Korea has discussed with us the possibility of their seminary students taking theology courses through our distance program. We believe that we could prepare workers for other church bodies across North America as we fulfill our 5th Strategic Direction, which is to “Increase the influence of LBS on the Church and on the world.”
Would you pray with me and with our board as they seek the Lord’s choice to carry this vision forward? Specifically pray for David Burfeind, chair of the board, as he asks for suggestions and receives applications. David is an elder at Faith Lutheran Brethren Church in Briarcliff Manor, NY. Serving with him on the Executive Committee are Doug Njaa, elder and educator in Saskatoon, SK, and Jim Rademaker, pastor in Appleton, WI. Brad Pribbenow, our dean, has joined them in the search.

Dr. David Veum serves the Church of the Lutheran Brethren as President of Lutheran Brethren Seminary.

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