Seminary graduation in Nigeria

Nine men graduated from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary near Abak, Nigeria, on March 14. The men were from WELS’ two sister synods in Nigeria-seven from All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria and two from Christ the King Lutheran Church of Nigeria. Rev. Joel Jaeger, a visiting professor; Rev. John Holtz, a missionary from Malawi; and Rev. Douglas Weiser, missionary to Nigeria, participated in the service.

This is the fourth graduating class from Christ the King Lutheran Seminary; the last class graduated in 2008.

The new pastors completed five years of formal studies—two in the preseminary and three in the seminary—as well as several years of service in congregations. “Men from both Nigerian synods study together in both preseminary and seminary,” says Weiser. “For the All Saints students that means living far from home and leaving their families behind for months at a time.” Nigerian pastors and professional school teachers teach courses for the preseminary years, while Weiser, two Christ the King pastors, and 16 volunteer WELS pastors lead the seminary courses.

Jaeger, pastor at Christ, Milwaukee, Wis., has taught seminary courses in Nigeria four different times, most recently from Feb. 19–March 16. “I never would have imagined that I would be involved in training pastors, but I think this system works really well,” says Jaeger. “Their parish ministry is so different in so many ways, and yet it’s exactly the same because it’s preaching law and gospel, it’s applying God’s Word to souls that are hurting, and it’s helping people see the joy in Christ’s salvation. To be part of that process, to have the Holy Spirit use us to get [students] to that point, is really special.”

Weiser says that the next round of students will begin preseminary classes in July 2016.

For the first time, All Saints Lutheran Church of Nigeria will run its own preseminary, allowing All Saints students to be closer to home for the first two years of their training. A grant from WELS World Missions allowed All Saints to construct a building to use for these classes as well as for an administrative office for the synod. All the students then will complete their studies at Christ the King Lutheran Seminary. “By joining theological students for seminary training, the two synods enhance their fellowship in God’s Word and a sense of unity among their pastors,” says Weiser.

Weiser serves part-time as a non-resident missionary to WELS’ two sister synods in Nigeria. He works closely with 26 national pastors who serve 56 congregations/preaching stations and 5,203 members.

Learn more about the graduation, including the trials the students went through over the years, in a recent blog by Missionary Holtz. Learn more about our sister synods in Nigeria at