Narrative Budgets – Making Your Vision for the Future Visible

This article and the following examples of Narrative Budgets are very helpful as we seek to invite generosity for our mission and ministry in Jesus name.   Enjoy.

Cultivate generosity in your church by sharing the story by Margaret J. Marcuson

Examples of Narrative Budgets from the UCC – Multiple Examples of Narrative Budgets from the UCC



Live Audio – Bishop Forums

2015 SW MN Synod Bishop Nominee Forums-
Thank you to everyone who attended the bishop forums. There were good questions and conversations, great attendance, wonderful hospitality, and lots of energy. Our six nominees (Rev. Jon Anderson, Rev. Paul Lutter, Rev. Steve Olson, Rev. Dr. Laurie Skow-Anderson, Rev. Lyle Snyder, Rev. Timothy Wittwer) will take part in the final forum after opening worship at the synod assembly, June 13.

If you missed the forums please click below to listen to a live audio recording. Only two of the four forums were recorded.

The Bishop Election will take place at the SW MN Synod Assembly, June 12-14 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, MN
Please visit the SW MN Synod bishop election webpage for nominees biographical information.

Church Mutual Risk Management – The Legal Responsibilities of your Board and other videos

Church Mutual Insurance has many different videos that are helpful.  Here is one on Board Governance I listened to today.  It might serve your chair of your council or board well. .   Here is the page to look at the many options. – You will find the one named below at this link.

The Legal Responsibilities of Your Board

Attorney and CPA Frank Sommerville — who assists in a broad range of legal issues for religious organizations and nonprofits, including litigation prevention — discusses best practices for good governance. He covers the fiduciary duties and obligations of your board members, what their responsibilities include and practical tips to ensure good governance.


“Board Governance: Best Practices” presentation to follow along and take notes:

Board Governance Best Practices1 – Here is the PDF you can download.

Narrative Budget – a Synodical Example to Help you Imagine Your Congregation’s Narrative Budget

We are having a great conversation about finances and ministry at our First Call Retreat about how we might better serve our mission and ministry as we engage financial issues.

I loved this synod’s narrative budget in a new version of PowerPoint – Prezi.

Take a look and imagine how you and your congregation might create such a tool for your mission and ministry.

Elevate Your Preaching – Luther Seminary Classes on Proclamation Coming

Check out upcoming classes from the Center for Lifelong Learning.
April 15, 2015

Elevate your Preaching Skills with Luther Seminary Courses

Register today.

Webcast: Working Preacher Lectionary Study—Pentecost through Ordinary 17

April 22


Dig into the Sunday readings for upcoming seasons with one of Luther Seminary’s favorite Bible instructors. Lectures and group discussion will fill you with theological insights and preaching ideas for the months ahead.


Seminar Leader: James Boyce, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Luther Seminary


Register today.

Speaking the Word Freely

May 5-7


Have you ever tried to move away from reading your sermons? Over the years you have honed your writing skills and are able to fill your sermons each week with creative and inspiring material. The problem comes with delivering your carefully crafted messages in a powerful way. Perhaps you would like to speak your sermon freely without reading it word-for-word but have not been able to figure out a method for doing so. Pastor Jerry Larson has developed a process that can help you speak your sermon manuscripts freely in the extemporaneous mode. Pastor Larson has taught this method to more than 300 pastors in the KAIROS program during the past 11 years under the name Process Preaching.




Register today.

Narrative Lectionary Workdays—September 2015 through Christmas: The Gospel of Mark

June 2


From September 2015 through Christmas, the Narrative Lectionary will take a romping tour through the Old Testament. The workdays are designed for those using the Narrative Lectionary this year.


Seminar Leaders: Rolf Jacobson, Associate Professor Old Testament, Luther Seminary and Craig Koester, Academic Dean, Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary




Register today.

Webcast: Working Preacher Lectionary Study—Ordinary 18-26

July 1

Dig into the Sunday readings for upcoming seasons with one of Luther Seminary’s favorite Bible instructors. Lectures and group discussion will fill you with theological insights and preaching ideas for the months ahead.


Seminar Leader: James Boyce, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Luther Seminary



June School for Lay Ministry – Luther Seminary – June 22-25

1Plans are now set for the June 22-25, 2015 School for Lay Ministry program. Register online at: or use the attached form.  The class begins at 1:00 p.m. on June 22 and ends at 11:00 a.m. on June 25. Tuition is $100.


Our topics and instructors for this course are:
Luther’s Small Catechism for Today: Part 1

Fred Gaiser, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Mary Jane Haemig, Professor of Church History, Luther Seminary 

Alvin Luedke, Professor of Rural Ministry, Luther Seminary
Come study Luther’s Small Catechism with some of Luther Seminary’s finest teachers! Luther wrote his catechisms for use in many settings—including the home, the church and the school. (It’s not just for confirmands—it’s for everyone!) How does the Small Catechism resonate today? How does it help both individuals and congregations stay focused on what is most important? This course will study the individual parts of the catechism, presenting and/or re-acquainting you with the teachings at the heart of the Lutheran witness. Topics covered include the Ten Commandments, baptism and the Lord’s Prayer.

The Parables: Illustrations of Jesus’ Good but Strange News
Matthew Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament
When I was a child, a well-meaning person explained to me that Jesus used parables when he taught because he wanted to communicate deep, spiritual truths in plain and easy-to-understand ways. That person, I now know, was completely wrong. Parables usually raise as many questions as they answer. Yes, the parables speak of easy-to-imagine ideas and situations. But they also draw us into the complexities and mysteries of Jesus’ teaching about “the kingdom of God.” You’ll come away from the course with a deeper understanding of the parables’ power to shape how we think about Christian faith, as well as an appreciation for the ways the parables make interpreting the Bible both challenging and fun.

No reading is required for the course on the Parables. However, the following books are recommended for those who wish to spend more time in studying them. There are many, many books on the parables. These six can get you started on the road toward deeper study, depending on where you already are on that road. They are listed here from most introductory to most complex.

Alyce M. McKenzie, The Parables for Today (Westminster John Knox Press)
A basic, clear, and recommended introduction

John Claypool, Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables (Cowley Publications)
Essentially a series of deep and thoughtful meditations or sermons on 12 of the parables

Bernard Brandon Scott, Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Polebridge Press)
An investigation of the parables that is as historically focused as it is theologically focused

Amy-Jill Levine, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (HarperOne)
An in-depth study of about a dozen parables with an eye on their historical settings and their multifaceted ability to unsettle our comfortable assumptions about God

Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
A longer book, and accordingly more in-depth and occasionally technical in its focus

Arland J. Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
A very thorough and scholarly analysis of all the parables in the Gospels


Christian Spiritual Formation: What Is It and What Does it Mean for the Life of Faith?
Laura Thelander, Seminary Pastor, Luther Seminary
The language of spiritual formation is showing up with greater frequency in communities of faith throughout the church, but many wonder what exactly spiritual formation is. In this class we explore spiritual formation as a work of God’s Spirit in our lives, conforming us to the image of Christ. This work of God’s Spirit is one in which we are invited to participate. It is a lifelong process of maturing in the life of faith that involves our body, mind and spirit. In addition to examining the theological and scriptural foundations of spiritual formation, we will also attend to central faith practices such as worship, lectio divina, intercessory prayer, Sabbath, service and spiritual direction, through which people of faith throughout the ages have encountered the Spirit’s transforming presence and work.


Books can be ordered from the Luther Seminary Bookstore by calling 800-541-4187 or emailing

Local Hotels and Housing
Below are possibilities for housing near Luther Seminary. This list of accommodations was compiled for your information and does not reflect recommendations by Luther Seminary.

Attendees to Luther Seminary events make their own housing arrangements.

Stub Hall guest rooms, Luther Seminary
Contact the Stub Hall Reservation Line at 651-641-3235 or email

Best Western Bandana Square (651) 647-1637
Courtyard by Marriott  (651) 746-8000
(Located off 35W and County Road D)
Days Inn  (651) 636-7939
Roseville, MN 55113
Holiday Inn Express Roseville (651) 636-5800
(Located off I-35W and Cty Rd C)
Marriott’s Fairfield Inn (651) 636-7869
Located off 35W and County Road D
Marriott’s Residence Inn  (651) 636-0680)
(Located off 35W and County Road D)
The Radisson (651) 636-4567
(Located off I-35W and Cty Rd C)

Please ask for a Luther Seminary rate or college/university rate at these hotels.

If you have questions, please call us at 651.641.3416 or e-mail


We look forward to seeing you in June.


Luther Seminary
2481 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN  55108