Wartburg Seminary’s core curriculum centers on the formation of leaders who demonstrate the Twelve Pastoral-Diaconal Practices for the life and mission of the church.  The twelve practices have guided the faculty through ongoing curriculum innovations.

“We undertake continual assessment of our curriculum in partnership with synods to monitor the emerging developments in the church and world and make revisions that meet the needs of engaged, compassionate, and wise leaders for the 21st Century church.  These practices cultivate a distinctive set of highly relational leadership qualities.”
Rev. Dr. Craig Nessan, Academic Dean

The Outcomes and Expectations of Wartburg—Forming Valued Leaders for God’s Mission

(Last revised in May 2021)

  • Practice of Being Rooted in the Gospel

    Articulates the Gospel in a way that is heard as Gospel. Is publicly Lutheran and Gospel-centered.

  • Practice of Missio Dei in Word and Sacrament

    Is grounded in Word and Sacrament as the means by which God creates and forms community (koinonia) for God’s mission (diakonia) in the world. Pastors exercise faithful worship preparation, evangelical preaching, and sacramental leadership. Deacons and deaconesses serve as a strategic bridge between church and world.

  • Practice of Biblical and Theological Wisdom:

    Interprets reality theologically and biblically as a habit. Has a core set of theological concepts that are interpreted with flexibility in different contexts.

  • Practice of Ecclesial Partnership:

    Displays a healthy sense of connectedness with the whole church. Fosters partnership with the ELCA and ecumenical openness.

  • Practice of Complex Analysis:

    Demonstrates capacity to carefully examine complex social, economic, scientific, and religious issues without oversimplification. Sees relationships from a systems perspective, remaining non-anxious in the face of ambiguity.

  • Practice of Curiosity:

    Is fundamentally curious, employing creativity in the use of language. Is open to grow beyond current perspectives and willing to pursue learning with intellectual depth.

  • Practice of Pastoral Concern:

    Loves God’s people with a “pastor’s heart,” demonstrating a generous spirit in relating to others. Maintains a clear sense of pastoral identity and desire for excellence in pastoral ministry.

  • Practice of Personal Faith and Integrity:

    Lives as person of faith, grounded in a life of prayer and study. Is self-aware in seeing the larger picture, proclaiming hope, and setting healthy boundaries.

  • Practice of Collegiality:

    Leads in a way that is responsive to the situation and promotes team building. Creates collegial groups within and beyond the church for promoting many forms of ministry.

  • Practice of Evangelical Listening and Speaking the Faith to Others:

    Listens in a way that leads people to deeper faith questions. Engages in thoughtful witness to the Christian message, especially to youth and those outside the faith.

  • Practice of Immersion in the Context:

    Shows awareness of the context through listening to, dialogue with and involvement in the local community. Has ability to interpret texts and contexts with insight.

  • Practice of Engagement with Cross-Cultural and Global Dimensions:

    Is sensitive to multicultural issues and religious pluralism in the context of globalization. Understands the inclusive character of the Christian Gospel.