Asia Lutheran Seminary

Asia Lutheran Seminary (ALS) trains Christians for leadership by equipping students to reach out, disciple believers, train leaders, and multiply groups for the advancing of God’s kingdom in Asia. To accomplish this, they offer a complete evangelist and pastoral training program from Christian Studies certificate to Master of Divinity and provides training to equip the laity for service in the church in Asia.

Asia Lutheran Seminary is served by four full-time professors and additional adjunct faculty. They specialize in teaching the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek and use like-minded Chinese theologians to assist with teaching in the classroom, especially in practical theology. Professors also offer support to South Asia Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM), WELS’ sister church and mission partner in Hong Kong.

Dr. Jon Bare accepted the call to become the new president of Asia Lutheran Seminary, replacing Dr. Steve Witte who will be stepping down as president in June 2023. God has used the unique gifts of both men to bless the kingdom in many parts of the globe. Travel in this part of the world has been limited, but God has opened doors to reach his people through online recruitment, which has been bearing fruit in ways never considered in previous years.

Fast Facts

  • Asia Lutheran Seminary currently serves 116 students in five different program levels (single subject, leadership certificate, associate, bachelor, master).
  • There 53 full-time church leaders trained by Asia Lutheran Seminary serving in East Asia.
  • 38 current Asia Lutheran Seminary students are serving in East Asia.
  • Over 1,300 students have taken Asia Lutheran Seminary short courses online.
  • Asia Lutheran Seminary graduates in Hong Kong now serve 11 local churches of the South Asian Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM), WELS’ sister church, with a combined membership of over 2,100 souls.

Meet the Team

Professor Steve Witte has served as president of Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong since 2009. Apart from personal evangelism work here in Hong Kong, his mission work is done through the students he teaches and mentors. Missionary Witte previously served as a parish pastor at Emanuel in New London, Wis., from 1985 to 2001 and Beautiful Savior in Green Bay, Wis., from 2001 to 2009.

Professor Witte is married to Mary, and God has blessed them with five children and 11 grandchildren. Hannah, a Martin Luther College graduate, married to Karl Henselin who designs computer programs. She now stays home with her five children where they live in Green Bay, Wis. Charis, a Mary Kay director, is married to Rev. Stephen Kuehl. They live in Columbus, Ohio, with their three children. Seth, an aerospace engineer, is married to Katelyn, an emergency room nurse. They live in St. Paul, Minn., with their three children. Lydia, a lawyer, lives in Green Bay, Wis. Micah oversees a laboratory that works with genetic engineering and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Professor Tim Matthies was called to the East Asia team in 2019 to serve as a professor at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. He teaches courses in the areas of Hebrew, Old Testament, and the Lutheran Confessions. He previously served as pastor at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Washington, Mich.

Professor Matthies was married to Rachel in 2013, and they have two children: Irene, born in 2016, and Zadok, born in 2019.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Missionary Tony Barthels accepted the call to permanently serve on the East Asia mission team in 2021. He will continue to teach classes both in the classroom in Hong Kong and online to students in East Asia, and he is heading up recruitment for Asia Lutheran Seminary. Solid theological training institutions and well-trained church leaders are in great need, so Asia Lutheran Seminary has been given an incredible opportunity to build up the kingdom.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Missionary Barthels spent 10 years in East Asia where he served as a lay missionary and team leader. He concentrated on building gospel-centered relationships, which often resulted in being able to hold in-home Bible studies. Most of the time this, where we would share the gospel to a room of people who knew nothing of it before walking into that room.

Missionary Barthels is originally from Green Bay, Wis., where his parents and youngest sister live. He has three brothers and three sisters, seven nephews, and eight nieces.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

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Praying for Asia Lutheran Seminary

Dear God, Lord of the Harvest, we thank you for growing your church and bringing the message of salvation to your people regardless of whatever worldly circumstances seek to threaten. We pray for our students and graduates in East Asia. We ask that you bless them with the peace of their redemption, a peace which this world cannot give. Provide them with whatever means necessary to continue serving your people. We thank you for our partnership with them in the gospel. They are a blessing to us just as they are a blessing to the souls you have given them to serve. Amen.