Another path to pastoring

Dear Friend,

Imagine that you’re part of a group of people who are not widely represented in North America or our church body. You and others from your culture are members of a WELS congregation where you are blessed to hear of the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ. You would like to be a pastor to your people. How could that happen? You need to keep working at your regular job in order to support your family. You can’t afford to move your family to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., and enroll in the pre-seminary program. How is your desire to be a Lutheran pastor going to be possible?

The Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary exists to walk with kingdom-committed spiritual leaders worldwide. Our privilege and joy is to train men from non-traditional backgrounds to serve as confessional Lutheran pastors to the people of their culture. These men can remain in their home congregations while their local pastor serves as their supervising pastor and instructor for much of their theological instruction.

Trung Le and Tao Nguyen are wonderful examples of how PSI serves our students. These men were able to remain at their homes in Boise, Idaho, and continue serving as members of Peace in Jesus Vietnamese Lutheran Church. Pastor Dan Kramer served as Trung and Tao’s primary PSI instructor for seven years. During those seven years, Trung and Tao were able to continue working at their full-time jobs in order to pay their bills. Slowly and steadily they worked through their courses, on Saturdays or evening hours, in person with their pastor and also via Zoom with a professor from the PSI team.

All of their hard work was realized when this past May, they joined the 2023 graduating class from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary at the graduation and assignment services. Trung Le now serves as the Vietnamese outreach pastor at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Garden Grove, Calif. Tao Nguyen serves as the pastor of his home congregation where he trained, Peace in Jesus Vietnamese Lutheran Church in Boise, Idaho. Praise be to God!

Your gifts to the Pastoral Studies Institute make placing men like Pastor Trung and Pastor Tao in congregations throughout the world possible by assisting with the cost of textbooks as needed and covering the travel expenses when the students gather at the seminary for winter and summer classes. Such face-to-face gatherings are invaluable as they allow our students to learn and to fellowship not with just one another, but with future and current pastors with whom they will serve in the public ministry.

Thank you for partnering with us in this important mission work with your prayers and gifts.

In the joy of serving him who saved us,
Prof. Harland H. Goetzinger
Director, Pastoral Studies Institute

Prayer: Lord of the Church, we thank you for our synod’s strong ministerial education program that provides extensive training to our future pastors. We also thank you for the flexibility of the Pastoral Studies Institute, which trains men from other cultures to become pastors without leaving their communities. We praise you for providing a diversity of well-trained pastors proclaiming the gospel throughout the world. We pray that many more people hear your good news of salvation, repent of their sins, and trust in Jesus. Amen.