Great Stuff Found on the Web — Cyberstones says “Take a Grad”

I found this over on Cyberstones — Pastor David Peterson’s blog — where he talks about the Seminary graduates and how we as a church must take the responsibility to take them into our churches rather than just calling from the field. Yes, a new grad doesn’t have the experience that many churches are looking for when calling a Pastor, but the church is served best by congregations that take in these new pastors who are overflowing with potential, with a desire to succeed, with zeal, compassion, knowledge, and excitement.

Pr. Petersen pointed me to this facebook page where all the grads without calls are listed. You might review that page periodically and keep these grads in your prayers.


The following is from Cyberstones by Pr. David Peterson.

Seminary graduates are somewhat deserving of their reputation. They are prone to panic, to overreact, to be consumed by zeal. They lack the parish skills and wisdom that come from experience – none, in fact, more than those with secular experience. Because the parish is not a business, a family, a hospital, a farm, or anything else. It is not even the parish from which the men come or in which they were layman. Because the parish is different when you are an elder from what it is when you are the pastor. There is no substitute for experience and no teacher like mistakes.

In this, however, these grads are really no different than brand new West Point grads or first year teachers. They are overflowing with potential, with desire to succeed, with zeal, compassion, knowledge, and excitement. What they need is a grizzly old platoon sergeant or seasoned teacher to guide them along. There was a famous story when I was a green LT. I don’t know if it is true. The new LT came to his battalion, where he’d be assigned as a platoon leader, and reported to the commander. The commander sent him to the first sergeant in the motor pool. The first sergeant set the LT to washing tanks. The LT was no dummy. He knew he was to do what the first sergeant said, even if he outranked him. He washed tanks for the afternoon. At the end of the day, the first sergeant told him to come back at 8 the next morning and again set him to washing tanks, and so forth. Then on the third day, the LT showed up with his platoon, which he’d found the night before and commanded to be at the motor pool at 8. The first sergeant said, “Finally, you’ve reported as commanded and are ready for a platoon.”

The commander and first sergeant “put the LT in his place,” not by dressing him down, rebuking him, etc, but by getting him to take charge and to recognize that he was no longer a cadet. This is what we need the wise farmers, business owners, grocery clerks, mothers, etc, of the Missouri Synod to do for our young pastors. Put them in their place by insisting they teach, visit, preach, study, etc. Put them in their place by addressing them as “pastor,” by not allowing their embarrassment over the authority of their office to stop them from exercising it as they have been called to do, by insisting that they be the pastor.

You take some risk in taking a new graduation, but you do the whole church a service. If we didn’t respect the laity, if we didn’t trust the ability of God’s church to shepherd the shepherds, we would try to create perfect men for the office or simple give up and give the itchy ears what they want. But we do trust and respect the wisdom of our laity. We know that pastors come and go, but the laity remain mainly in place, that they can actually form pastors better than any seminary or classroom in the world, because they are a depository or wisdom.

So we send you these men, imperfect to a man, and ask you only to love them, to listen to them, to be an example to them, and pray for them. We are confident that everyone will be blessed, that the Lord will provide, and we will rejoice.

Take a small risk. Take a grad. You’ll be glad you did. Because the gracious love of God bestowed in His Holy Word and Sacrament is not dependent upon the skills of men but is promised in His gifts. What risk is there? That your pastor is learning, that he is imperfect, that he puts his foot in his mouth? So what? The reality is that won’t be stopped by any amount of experience anyway. And if you take a grad, you will be part of a very special time in a man’s life.

For my part, I’ve been here at Redeemer for 10 years in a month. I was at Grace in Fairgrove, Mi for only 4 years. But I still feel like everything I know, everything I am, was formed in Fairgrove. I love Redeemer and as happy as any man on earth has ever been in this holy office, but Grace in Fairgrove is responsible for who I am and any skill I have.

So take a grad, there are still 10 or so excellent men available from this year’s Fort Wayne class. There may also be a couple left from St. Louis. I don’t know the St. Louis guys, so Ican’t speak of them directly, but I have no doubt they are good, solid men. I do know the CTS guys, and they are the cream of the crop, truly outstanding. You will not be disappointed. You will be blessed.

Head on over to Cyberstones for more posts by Pr. David Peterson.


The following is from a facebook page that tracks the grads; if you don’t have access to it I’ve duplicated it here. Facebook users: be sure to “like” the page so you will be told when it is updated. If you know of a grad who has been placed, either comment on the facebook page, or contact me and I’ll pass the information on.

There has been quite a bit of talk about a lack of placements over the last few days. Many have wanted a complete list of names, specifically so that they could pray for the candidates by name. Here is a list of the 21 22 21 18 16 15 CTS pastoral candidates, the 5 CTS deaconess candidates, the 3 CTS deaconesses whose calls were terminated this year due to funding issues or the end of their contracts, the 1 St. Catherine's (Canada) pastoral candidate, the 9 CSL pastoral candidates, and the 6 CSL deaconess candidates. Please include all of them by name in your prayers.

CTS Pastoral Candidates
1. Chris Amen
2. Tom Arnold PLACED
3. Marcus Baikie
4. Derrick Brown PLACED
5. Ken Clausing (AR)
6. Ryan Cramer
7. Eli Davis
8. Harrison Goodman PLACED
9. Peter Gueldner (AR)
10. Gail Heimgartner (AR) PLACED
11. Mark Hesse
12. Michael Holmen PLACED
13. Nick Huelsman PLACED
14. Jason Lane (grad student in Germany)
15. Dave Miller PLACED
16. Josh Osbun
17. Mark Preus PLACED
18. Adam Salinas
19. Phil Sievers
20. Jerry Storrs (AR)
21. David Whan
22. Andrew Yeager
23. Paul Lantz (candidate from Brazil)

CTS deaconess candidates
1. Gillian Bond
2. Carolyn Brinkley
3. Dorcel Dowdel
4. Jeni Miller
5. Kristy Ring

CTS deaconesses
1. Melissa DeGroot
2. Megan Smith
3. Rachel Thompson

St Catherine’s pastoral candidate
1. Doug Zahner

CSL pastoral candidates
1. Dave Geddie (CCMC)
2. John N. Genter
3. Steven D. Klawonn (DELTO)
4. Mark J. Madson
5. Enrique A. Orozco (CHS)
6. Michael A. Podeszwa
7. David Schmidt (CCMC)
8. Jun Takagi (CCMC)
9. Todd D. Zittlow

CSL deaconess candidates
1. Ligia I. Borges (CHS)
2. Carla R. Brandt
3. Ashley N. Forseth
4. Juliana V. Hirsch
5. Michele P. Lieske
6. Patricia R. Monroe (DIT)

AR = Alternate Route
CCMC = Cross-Cultural Ministry Center
CHS = Center for Hispanic Studies
DELTO = Distance Education Leading To Ordination
DIT = Deaf Institute of Theology

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web — Cyberstones says “Take a Grad” — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Norm, for sharing this article with us.

    I believe it’s also appropriate to mention that there are a goodly number of candidates that are out in the LCMS, who for a variety of reasons do not have a call, and are waiting for a congregation to step out in faith and call this man back into full-time service in the Lutheran Church.

    I am one of those men, and yesterday as I was walking through the Walmart where I am a full-time sales associate, I talked for awhile with another man who was asked by his congregation to resign his call around the same time I was asked by mine to do the same … over 4 years ago. It’s been difficult … it’s been devastating to our personal finances … yet, we wait, because we know the Lord knows what it best for each and every one of us … and we are confident that He has us right where He wants us, for the time being.

    Those who are waiting at our seminaries, and those who are waiting out in the field, do sincerely covet the prayers of the faithful throughout the whole Christian Church on earth.

  2. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to sent out workers into the harvest field.” When will the church begin to provide and care for her under-shepherds who are temporarily without call? Adopting a synod-wide salary scale, with adjustments for cost of living in different regions and district/synod making up the difference that a congregation is temporarily unable to pay would go a long way to restoring trust and financial support for the work of the Gospel. “Partners in the Gospel” would be more than just words. May the Holy Spirit teach and motivate us to walk the talk, brothers in Christ.

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