Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

On May 24, 2019, 26 men graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Mequon, Wis. WLS prepares men to begin pastoral ministry by providing them with spiritual, theological, and professional training. Students attend classes for two years, serve as full-time vicars during their third year, and then attend classes and write a thesis in their fourth year. Throughout their time at the seminary, students receive opportunities to serve in a variety of ministries and to experience other cultures to help prepare them for their future calls.

The seminary also provides pastors with opportunities for continued growth in all their callings through its institute, Grow in Grace. Grow in Grace offers continuing education courses, a mentoring initiative for new graduates, a clearinghouse of resources for pastors, and an annual retreat for pastors who are celebrating milestones in their ministries.

The Pastoral Studies Institute, a partnership between WLS and WELS Joint Missions, guides and assists non-traditional students through their pre-seminary and seminary training so they can become pastors. This includes second-career students as well as cross-cultural students.

For more information, visit

New seminary president

Prof. Earle Treptow (pictured) was installed as the new president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on Aug. 26, 2019. “President Treptow brings a wealth of solid Lutheran parish experience to the work,” says Rev. Paul Prange, administrator of WELS Board for Ministerial Education. “His ability to see both small details and the big picture is remarkable, and his keen insight allows him to preach and teach the gospel in ways that should positively influence both students and colleagues.”

Prof. Paul Wendland, the seminary’s former president, transitioned back into a full-time teaching role on the seminary’s faculty. “Teaching is my first love,” says Wendland, “It’s what energizes me.”

When asked about his responsibilities as seminary president, Treptow notes, “I think of the president as having the responsibility of keeping the main thing the main thing. The seminary’s main thing is having pastors train men to be pastors. Clearly there are academic requirements in the program—men who will serve as pastors need to know the Scriptures and how to apply the Word to people in preaching, teaching, and counseling. But there is more to being a pastor than mastering a set of facts and skills; it’s about knowing himself as a beggar in desperate need of God’s grace, who revels in the Lord’s goodness and wants to bring others to the one who takes away all shame and fear and guilt.”

Second-generation Hmong student

Samuel Lor is in his first year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. His father, Rev. Bounkeo Lor, graduated from the seminary’s Pastoral Studies Institute and currently serves as coordinator of Hmong Asia Ministry. Bounkeo believes that Sam will be able to reach the second generation of Hmong Americans, many of whom are not attending worship. Sam says, “I want to share my appreciation for faith alone, Scripture alone, and grace alone. As a people, we are rebuilding our traditions. A Christian identity and our WELS heritage will help that rebuilding.”

Spanish Immersion Trip

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary offers educational opportunities outside the classroom during its Winterim semester. In January 2019 this group visited Colombia for the annual SPICE trip—Spanish Immersion Cultural Experience. The trip has a dual purpose—improve Spanish language skills and provide students real-life experience with another culture.

Archaeology tour

Prof. Thomas Kock of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary organized an archaeology tour of Israel that took place June 1-12, 2019. Twenty people—including four seminary students—participated in the tour, which included an archaeological dig a few miles north of Jericho. “Ultimately, there’s just nothing like being there to help a person to ‘get’ certain things,” says Kock. “Students gain a far better understanding of the geography and culture of the land of Israel, which can help them to gain a more clear, full understanding of some of the events recorded in the Bible. Additionally, they get the opportunity to discover in a real way both the blessings that archaeology can bring to the Bible student and its limitations.”

Did you know?

On March 18, 2019, Evan Arrowsmith became the first-ever inductee into the WLS-MLC chapter of Eta Beta Rho, an honor society that recognizes excellence in Hebrew and is operated by the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. Prof. Kenneth Cherney presented Arrowsmith, a junior, with the award in chapel.

Martin Luther College

Martin Luther College’s mission is to train a corps of Christian witnesses who are qualified to meet the ministry needs of WELS and who are competent to proclaim the Word of God faithfully and in accord with the Lutheran Confessions and the Book of Concord. In fall 2019, 731 undergraduates were participating in this training.

To meet the current ministry needs of WELS, Martin Luther College:

prepares men for pastoral training at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary;

prepares men and women for service as teachers and staff
ministers in the synod’s churches, schools, and other institutions;

prepares men and women for other church ministries, both full-and part-time, responding to the needs of WELS;

prepares international students for ministry in partnership with WELS mission fields; and

provides programs of continuing education that meet the
ministerial needs of WELS.

For more information, visit

“Equipping Christian Witnesses”

With support from the WELS Conference of Presidents, Martin Luther College launched a two-year capital campaign to celebrate the 2020 silver anniversary of the college. The campaign’s title, “Equipping Christian Witnesses,” reflects not only the mission of MLC—to train a corps of Christian witnesses to meet WELS ministry needs—but also the three pillars of the campaign (pictured left). For more information, visit

Daylight mission trip

This team from Martin Luther College traveled to St. Paul, Beverly Hills, Fla., through the college’s Daylight mission trip program. The team helped the congregation move classrooms, paint hallways, and run a soccer camp for children ages 4 to 14. Nathan Lemke (pictured far left) notes, “Part of the camp was a time for devotion where we got to tell 90 children each day about Jesus and how he is our goalie from the devil. Over half of the campers were not part of the congregation, and many of them did not know about the gift that we have through Christ! It is a great blessing to go throughout the U.S. and help churches through the Daylight program.”

Serving those with special needs

In December 2019, Martin Luther College students hosted a Christmas event for Jesus Cares, a ministry that reaches out to individuals with special needs.

Student Elizabeth Schoeneck (pictured) admits that working with individuals with special needs can be intimidating at first. But after volunteering for the first time, she’s never turned back. “Jesus Cares provides a safe place to learn, practice, and grow skills for working with the special needs community,” Elizabeth says.

“Nothing beats the joy found in the students’ faces as they listen to the story of Christ,” adds fellow student Chris Robbert (pictured, right).

Martin Luther College now offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs for those who want to focus their education on teaching those with special needs.

A portion reprinted from MLC’s KnightWatch Weekly

Did you know?

One hundred seventy-six people graduated from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., on May 18. One hundred one were in the teacher track, and two were in the staff ministry track. Forty-five completed the preseminary program, and two received seminary certification. Twenty-six received master’s degrees.

Preparatory Schools

Featured photo: A group of five students from Michigan Lutheran Seminary traveled to Camp Shiloh in Pittsburg, Texas, to serve as camp leaders. Forty students participated in Project Titus mission projects in 2019. Pictured: Elizabeth Waldo, who is now attending Martin Luther College.

Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS), Saginaw, Mich., and Luther Preparatory School (LPS), Watertown, Wis., prepare high school students for future service as pastors, teachers, and staff ministers. For the 2019–20 school year, Michigan Lutheran Seminary has 196 students and Luther Preparatory School has 402 students.

Both schools offer “Taste of Ministry” opportunities for students, which include shadowing called workers to learn more about their work. Students also are given firsthand gospel ministry experiences on campus and during mission trips.

For more information, visit or

Michigan Lutheran Seminary Fast Facts 2019

  • 70 MLS alumni at Martin Luther College
  • 20 MLS alumni at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

Luther Preparatory School Fast Facts 2019

  • 215 LPS alumni at Martin Luther College
  • 43 LPS alumni at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary


Students from Luther Preparatory School volunteered for a Bible camp at Trinity, St. Lucia, West Indies, as part of the school’s Project Timothy program. Fifty-six students participated in a Project Timothy mission trip in 2019. Pictured: Annika Schroeder, who is now attending Martin Luther College.