WTS Announces New Vice President for Development


DUBUQUE, IA – March 10, 2017 – Mr. Paul K. Erbes has been named Wartburg Theological Seminary’s Vice President for Development. Erbes has served as a Major Gift Officer at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) since 2014.

“I am honored to become part of Wartburg’s deep legacy of forming faithful leaders for the church.  It is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to engage donors in God’s work of reshaping seminary education to address the challenges that tomorrow’s church will face,” says Erbes.

Erbes has served various roles within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and other Christian ministries. Prior to his time at LIRS, he served as Chief Development Officer for Bello Machre from 2013-2014, as pastor and Mission Developer in congregations in Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming from 1983-2004, Congregation Relationship Manager with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans from 2004-2012, and is Executive Director of Generous Faith LLC, a consultation service to help congregations and organizations more effectively fulfill their mission.

He received his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN and his Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Erbes has completed advanced study through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Franklin Covey Leadership. In addition, he is a Certified Fund Raising Professional (CFRE), and a member of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE), where he serves as a national instructor for people new to development science. He also serves as a mentor to support other Lutheran non-profit professionals, is the Chapter President for the mid-Atlantic area chapter of ALDE, is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and serves on the Board of Directors for Seafarers International, an ELCA ministry providing for seafarers, immigrants and asylum seekers.

Wartburg Seminary President Louise N. Johnson said of Erbes, “We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Paul Erbes as Wartburg’s next Vice President for Development. Paul is a person of deep faith, who has appreciation of Wartburg’s tradition and trajectory. We know God has called him here and that he will be a gift to our donors, our staff and faculty, our trustees, directors and alumni. Together we anticipate a bright future as we invite others to be partners with us in helping to shape the future of the church.”

Erbes will begin his new position at Wartburg Theological Seminary in early May, 2017.

“We heartily welcome Mr. Paul K. Erbes, who joins President Louise Johnson and her most capable Wartburg Seminary Cabinet in providing strong, visionary leadership for our beloved seminary in service of our Lord’s church. I am confident Paul will enhance the effectiveness of our stellar development team and all of us who aim for unprecedented generosity in funding Wartburg’s distinctive vision for mission,” says Chair of the Board of Directors, Rev. Dr. Stephen Cornils.

Wartburg Theological Seminary is one of eight theological schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Wartburg is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission.  Wartburg educates women and men to serve the church as ordained and lay leaders.  Wartburg Theological Seminary was established in Dubuque, Iowa in 1854.