Luther Seminary adopted a twin-pronged approach to enhance its capacity for preparing candidates for congregational ministry: (1) by facilitating an on-going transformational relationship with the congregations it serves, and (2), by expanding the approaches used to deliver theological education. The first led to increasing the involvement of students and faculty in congregations, and of congregations and pastors, and other Christian communities in the process of theological education. Pastors and church leaders served as adjunct faculty in partnership with resident campus faculty.
Moving the context of theological education from the seminary to the congregations allowed students to receive a substantial portion of their theological education within that setting in addition to giving them an experienced-based learning process that utilized an action-reflection-theologizing approach to education. Students were placed in local congregations as part of their learning program. This two-way exchange between the seminary and its partner congregations led to the establishment of the seminary’s Contextual Leadership program.