Tysdal to Serve as New LBS President

In May 2023, the Board of Lutheran Brethren Seminary (LBS) concluded its search for a new seminary president. As Chairman of the Board of LBS, I am very pleased to announce that Rev. Troy Tysdal will be the next LBS president, effective August 1, 2023. Rev. Tysdal is well-known to many readers of Faith & Fellowship, having been content manager since September 2010 and editor in chief since June 2014.
— David Burfeind

Introduce yourself and share with us your passion for LBS.

Troy Tysdal:
My passion for the ministry of LBS started shortly after my conversion. In 2006, I began working in sales for Doug and Sherry Thorson, a couple from Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, MN. Doug and I would travel to trade shows together, and we would talk about Jesus. I had been baptized and raised in a Christian home but walked away from the faith as a child. I still identified as a Christian but did not need the Church. The truth is, I did not understand the cross or believe that someone could rise from the dead. After several months of Doug inviting me to his church, my wife and I started attending a different church, Stavanger Lutheran Church.

At the time, Stavanger was pastored by Professor Brad Soenksen of LBS, and two of his students, Gary Kitchin and Adam Jensen. At Stavanger, I heard the gospel faithfully proclaimed week after week, and Pastor Gary began pressuring me to attend seminary. The only problem was… I still didn’t believe. I saw Jesus as a great moral example and felt Christians were called to imitate him. Of course, I didn’t tell pastor Gary that.

The following Spring, Doug invited me to attend the Alpha program at Bethel. Bethel uses a modified (Lutheranized) version of Alpha as an introductory course for those outside the Church. Doug thought it would be good for me, and he was right.

At first I was reluctant to go, but after the first two or three evenings, I realized I did not know as much about Christianity as I thought I did. On the final night of the course, May 7, 2007, I came home and couldn’t sleep. My mind was processing all the things I had heard. I got out of bed, grabbed a Bible, and entered the living room. I sat down on an old couch and began reading the book of Romans. There I read the words, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10-12). At that moment, my theology of morality was destroyed. It was as if my eyes were opened, and I understood the saving work of Christ on the cross for the first time. I was humbled and relieved all at once. I got off the couch and knelt to pray, but I didn’t know how, so I just said, “Thank you.”

The following morning, I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I thought to myself, “I need to tell people about this… I need to go to seminary.” I discussed it with my wife, and with her blessing, I applied that week and started at LBS in the fall.

Since coming to faith, I have heard many Christians express how their pastor shaped them. I was shaped at LBS. I arrived at LBS believing I knew nothing except Christ crucified for my sins. I was blessed to study under David Veum, Eugene Boe, Brad Soenksen, Gaylan Mathiesen, John Kilde, Mark Erickson, Tony Rogness, Jeff Seaver, Nate Larsen, and Tim Ysteboe. In my time at LBS, these men answered all my questions with another: “What does Scripture say?”

That is what the Church of the Lutheran Brethren offers the world. We are a people grounded in the Word of God. The first article of our Statement of Faith reads, “The Bible, including both Old and New Testaments as originally given, is the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God and is free from error in the whole and in the part, and is therefore the final authoritative guide for faith and conduct.”

I love that, and the world needs more of it. The CLB has something special. We have the Word of God, and LBS is where the DNA of the CLB is passed on to future pastors, missionaries, and church leaders. I am humbled and privileged to be a part of this mission.

Tell us about your family, your education, and your ministry background.

Troy Tysdal:
Katie and I were married on November 15, 2001. She is a fantastic mother to our two boys, Brycen (born September 5, 2010) and Gavin (born June 7, 2013). She is a rock. She played the role of breadwinner when I left my career in sales to enter seminary; encourager when I returned to school to complete a Master of Divinity degree; and did more than her fair share of parenting as I completed my Doctorate. She has been a theological sounding board, a tremendous partner in life, and I am so blessed to be her husband.

I have an Associate of Applied Science degree in Communication Art and Design from Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, MN; a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Faith International University in Tacoma, WA; a Master of Divinity from Lutheran Brethren Seminary in Fergus Falls, MN; and a Doctorate in Strategic Christian Ministry from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

After graduating from LBS in 2010, I accepted a call to serve the CLB in its Communications and Prayer department. In 2015, I became the CLB’s Director of Communications and Prayer, serving on both the CLB’s Mission Team and Council of Directors. Over the past fifteen years, I have had the privilege to serve two rural Minnesota congregations as pastor and a third as president. My family and I are currently members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls and Battle Lake, MN, and most often attend the Battle Lake campus.

What is one area you would like to focus on as LBS president that would enhance the way LBS prepares pastors, missionaries, and church leaders?

Troy Tysdal: LBS does an excellent job of training people in the Word of God. That is first and foremost, and it must remain so. With that said, in the information booklet for the CLB’s 2020 Biennial Convention (numbers pre-pandemic), 86 of the CLB’s 110 congregations reported a plateau or decline in worship attendance. Our Church is shrinking. I would like to support an even greater focus on reaching the lost, preparing pastors, missionaries, and church leaders to engage their communities, seeing themselves as God’s sent missionary people wherever he has placed them. This is not for preservation’s sake, but because our neighbors need what we have, the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, triumphant over Satan, sin, and death.

How can we pray for you in the weeks and months ahead?

Troy Tysdal: I pray that the Lord equips me to serve and represent LBS well. I ask you to pray the same. I believe the LBS president’s job is to ensure that faculty and staff have what they need to do their jobs well, including recruiting students and building relationships with donors. Pray that the Lord will provide both.

Rev. Troy Tysdal, D.Min. is Director of Communications and Prayer for the CLB and serves as editor in chief of F&F magazine. He will begin his call as President of Lutheran Brethren Seminary on August 1, 2023.

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