The North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS) is working to make formation for pastoral ministry — an intrinsically complex and demanding commitment — more practical and affordable for those who have been called.
As we prepare for the NALS’ annual campaign in the month of May, we say thank you again for the generosity of individual and congregational donors who have helped to provide full-tuition support for many students in residence at our Seminary Center in Ambridge, Pa. Your love, prayers and financial gifts are making seminary education possible for our future pastors.
The NALS is now entering into partnerships with faithful undergraduate institutions in order to steward your gifts in the best way possible.
In this spirit, we envision a closer integration of the undergraduate and postgraduate (seminary) phases of education, in order to eliminate unnecessary repetition and reduce the time and cost to complete the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, without either sacrificing academic rigor or minimizing the importance of the relational and formational aspects of a residential seminary education.
Toward this end, we have established cooperative arrangements with three Lutheran undergraduate institutions: Concordia College New York in Bronxville, N.Y.; Concordia University St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn.; and Grand View University, in Des Moines, Iowa.
The NALS will count certain undergraduate courses — taken at appropriately advanced levels — toward the master’s degree for students who continue to the NALS from these schools.
In addition, specific NALS courses taken by undergraduates may count toward the bachelor’s degree from our partner institutions.
A student majoring in theology at any of these schools could fulfill the introductory requirements for the M.Div. from the NALS. All of the course equivalencies are specifically identified in the agreement between each undergraduate institution and the NALS.
A student at Grand View University or Concordia University St. Paul taking the full slate of courses with NALS equivalencies could complete a B.A. in theology and an M.Div. in a total of six years (four at the undergraduate institution and two at the NALS) plus internship, instead of the typical seven, with the resulting cost savings.
A student at Concordia College New York could graduate with a B.A. in theology, a B.S. in business and an M.Div. in five years (three at Concordia and two at the NALS) plus internship.
We believe that these cooperative arrangements represent a significant way to address the practical concerns of prospective seminarians, as we do our part to serve the identification and training of a new generation of evangelical, orthodox and confessional pastors and workers in Christ’s Church.
We seek to bear Luther out: “I appeal once more to all Christians, especially the pastors and preachers, that they not try to become doctors too soon and imagine that they know everything. … Let them constantly read and teach, learn and meditate and ponder. … If they show such diligence, then I promise them — and their experience will bear me out — that they will gain much fruit and God will make excellent people out of them” (Large Catechism, Preface).
We are grateful and excited to be working with our current partners, and we are actively developing further partnerships of this kind with other institutions.
You can help us by letting students in discernment know about these opportunities. We would be very happy to answer questions or to direct inquiries to our partners. And we ask you to continue praying for the NALS and for all whom the Lord will be bringing to our community for the sake of the Church’s witness to His kingdom.
The Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee is the Interim Director for Recruitment and Partnership for the North American Lutheran Seminary. Learn more about the seminary at thenals.org.