in Opinion

Support Future Servants Report – Concordia Theological Seminary


CTSFW has released their Lilly funded report on student loan debt from their seminary graduates (myself included.) The responses are staggering. Take time to review their findings and consider how you and your church can respond. I’ve blogged about this many times: The Pastor Debt Monster, Debt Follows Seminarians into Congregations, and Progress Being Made on Addressing Pastoral Debt.

It will take time to digest all of the findings of this study. One conclusion that will inevitably be drawn is that seminary education, especially the formation of pastors, demands significant resources. While some might suggest that the remedy would be to scale back the training of pastors, we at CTSFW are convinced that this would not be in the best interests of the Church. It is becoming increasingly evident that Christians live in a hostile environment in which controversial issues such as same-sex marriage, gender identity, physician-assisted suicide, and, most recently, religious freedom, threaten the very fabric of our society and pose a significant challenge to the Church’s confession of the faith. More than ever, we need pastors who are thoroughly equipped to lead God’s people toward a faithful confession of what we believe and teach. While the Seminary continues to search for innovative ways of equipping future pastors for the challenging demands that will be placed upon them, nothing can replace the daily one-on-one interaction that students have both with the faculty and with each other. To that end, CTSFW pledges nothing less than the preparation of well-equipped pastors who are able to lead the faithful to contend for the faith (Jude 3)…

… Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, understands that this study is just a first step in solving the challenge of educational debt among pastors and church workers. Recognizing that the entire body of Christ must become involved in the support of future servants of the church, a major goal of this study is to make congregations, districts, donors and laypeople more aware of the financial challenges that future church workers face. We are grateful to the Lilly Endowment Inc. for its support of this study and believe it will be a blessing both to our students and to our Seminary. We welcome your continued prayers and support for this endeavor. May the Triune God guide and bless the efforts of “Improving the Economic Well-being of Future Servants of Jesus Christ.”


Source: PDF of Report

Source: Support Future Servants – Reports – Concordia Theological Seminary

SELC Newsletter #238

Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On April, 22, pastor Andrei Lipnitsky has visited the village Oravka in Chany district of Novosibirsk region. This village was founded by colonists from Estonia in 1894. It had even a church building, but at Soviet time it was confiscated and reconstructed to use as a school. Thus religious life was extinguished.

About 40 people came to meet the Lutheran pastor. They asked a lot of questions. At the end of the talk Pastor Lipnitsky gave Small Catechisms to everybody.

To search and to visit such villages where there are people, whose ancestors confessed the Lutheran faith — this is continuing ministry of our Church. We do it all the time.

The very first time, pastor Vsevolod Lytkin and deacon Daniel Burlakov visited such a village nearly 20 years ago. You may remember this story from our very old newsletters.

That time, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Roman-Catholic priests started to travel over Siberia to look for villages where Roman-Catholics survived. And accidentally they found a village where people said they are Lutherans. They spoke Russian with a strong western accent. Their ancestors came to Siberia from Poland.

Catholic priests phoned us and invited to come to this village. It was a long travel. First, from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk, then for 8 hours by different vehicles through the taiga. Finally we arrived to our destination, and spent a week there, communicating with the habitants.

The first settlers came to that place in the late 19th century, then many families moved from Poland (that time it was part of the Russian Empire) into deep Siberia.

Their life was very hard; they rooted out trees and arranged fields. Then they lived there and grown. Pastor from Irkutsk visited the village once a year. He baptized, confirmed, gave the Holy Communion, conducted weddings. Last time a Pastor was there in 1935.

And then Rev. Vsevolod Lytkin became the first pastor who visited this village for over 60 years. Many old people talked him about the faith of their ancestors, and what terrible persecutions they gone through because of their faith. Half of the villagers died in the concentration camps during 30s and 40s (at the time of Joseph Stalin’s regime). People were arrested if a Bible or prayer book has found in their homes.

But older people still remember what parents taught them. For example, a woman who was asked by Pastor Lytkin if she knew what the Holy Communion is, said that she never in her life took the Communion, but she remembers what her mother taught. And then she quoted by heart about Holy Communion from the Luther’s small Catechism.

Then she said: now my eyes have seen a Lutheran pastor, now I can die. And it sounded as in Luke 2: 29-30, it was very touchable.

“That was so long ago, Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin said. But since then we have found many other villages where people have kept the faith, or even the memory of what their ancestors were Lutherans. The Volga Germans, Poles, Finns, Latvians, Estonians… We owe to these people, because they have brought Lutheranism to Siberia. For many years we are searching for such villages and we try to do something to help their habitants. To comfort the elderly. And talk about Lord Jesus Christ and His Church to the younger.

Sadly, we do not have many resources to do this work. After all, we are a very small Church, and we are poor. And distances in Siberia are huge. But we try, because it is our responsibility before God.”

Please pray for a safe travels of the pastors in Siberia, and that they find more villages, whose inhabitants have been and will be Lutherans.

“Faith and hope”

Please see attached photos.

Support Clan Gillespie as we “Step Forward to Cure TSC”

Step Forward Cure TSC

To make a donation online now, please visit our group page.

Dear Friends and Family,

We choose to fight, not only for Ethan, Elsie, Naomi, and Esther, but for the 1 in 6,000 kids born with TSC every day…50,000 in the U.S…over 1 million worldwide.  Tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, is more common than Lou Gehrig’s disease and Cystic Fibrosis. There is no cure. Yet!

Ours is a story of determination. Our stunningly small group of parents and adults with TSC, through sheer will and passion, have brought this disease to the brink of a breakthrough.  We are joined in our fight by aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, grandparents and friends, co-workers and colleagues. We’re asking you to join us in the fight to find a cure!  Please help support our family who has refused to give up and refused to take no for an answer, even when faced with the daily challenges of seizures, autism, ADHD, facial disfiguration, anxiety, behavioral problems, and other medical complications.

We’re making HUGE strides in finding a cure for TSC.  Here’s what we know now we didn’t know just two short years ago:  TSC is what’s called a “linchpin” disease. This simply means the genetic pathway involved in TSC is the same pathway affecting more than a dozen major diseases and disorders, including autism, epilepsy, cancer, and obesity.  We’ve got a long way to go, but recent clinical trials of a new drug actually show the symptoms of autism disappearing in mice. We’re in a race against time and our resources are strained beyond their limits!

On 05/30/2015, our family is participating in the Westmont, Illinois Step Forward to Cure TSC walkathon.  Please support our fight by joining Clan Gillespie and helping to break the back of this horrific disorder. You can register with us or make donations securely on our group page.

Many, many thanks!


To make a donation online nowplease visit our group page.

To send a donation, mail to:
Christopher Gillespie
8307 Sheffield Avenue
DyerIN 46311-2752
United States

Make all checks payable to: Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance