Laborers Sent to the Harvest: Call and Assignment Services Conclude

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Matt. 9:35-38).

Thanks be to God for His great goodness and mercy; on April 24 and April 25, students at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTSFW), Fort Wayne, learned where they would serve in their near futures, as vicars, deaconess interns and pastors. The Assignment and Call Services culminated in the announcement of each student’s placement, in cities and churches across the United States. To see where the Lord of the harvest is sending His laborers, go to

“Placement is a process where we see the entire Church come together,” said the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey H. Pulse, director of Certification and Placement, addressing the candidates during last night’s Call Service. “Placement directors and seminaries, congregations and call committees, circuit visitors and pastors, district presidents and their staff, the Synod and the Council of Presidents—they all come together as Church to accomplish this very important task for the kingdom of God. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit and our desire to preserve the sanctity of the call, the outcome truly is for the benefit of God’s Church.”

For students headed out on vicarage or diakonal internship, this assignment marks another year of learning, bringing them ever closer to their future vocation. For those about to become pastors, these congregations are where they will be installed and ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry. To watch either service, print off the lists of assignments and placements, or see who’s coming to your district, go to

Remember, as well, the many congregations that still cry out for a shepherd, whose calls go unfilled this year. Though together CTSFW and her sister seminary, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, are placing 98 men (79 through the Master of Divinity Program and the rest through other routes), the laborers are ever few; that number is still 29 short of the 127 applications for candidates sent in by congregations this year. Pray earnestly for the men and women considering a future in church work, and encourage those who may not have yet recognized their own gifts for ministry and service. For more information about the path towards becoming a pastor or deaconess, go to or call 800.481.2155.

And finally, following on the heels of the Assignment and Call Services this week, the faculty of CTSFW and the Council of Presidents (COP) held a joint meeting this morning in Luther Hall. Made up of the President, vice-presidents and district presidents of the Synod, the 42-member COP meets four times a year to discuss doctrine, the administration of the Synod, and to edify and support one another. It is always encouraging to see the Body of Christ come together as her members, in their different roles, work to support one another in their particular tasks.

This meeting covered such topics as recruitment, parish administration and leadership, and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that a competent candidate develops in the classroom and through fieldwork, and that he then carries to his calling congregation. Here members of the council and faculty share the insights they have gained through their different perspectives.

Candidate Call Service 2018

Four hours until Candidate Call Service! We have thirty men receiving calls this evening at 7:00 p.m. Kramer Chapel will likely fill quickly, but per usual you can watch the service either on our Facebook page or over at

Afterwards, you can head back to to check out our interactive map (showing where each candidate, vicar, and intern is headed), see who’s coming to your district, and to access printable lists of calls, vicarages, and internships. In fact, the site is constantly updated, so you can already view the vicarage and internship information. Call information will be added both during and immediately following the Candidate Call Service.

St. Mark, Evangelist

One of the readings for this feast day comes from Paul’s second letter to the young pastor, Timothy. As we read 2 Timothy 4:5-18, we remember our own young pastors, about to receive their calls at the Candidate Call Service coming up this evening at 7:00 p.m:

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Assignment Service 2018

The Vicarage and Deaconess Internship Assignment Service begins in three and a half hours. The service will be held here on campus in Kramer Chapel, and will also be livestreamed at This page also includes a link to the service bulletin.

You can also view our list of Vicars-Elect and Deaconess Intern Candidates, where they’re from, and, as soon as they’re announced, where they’re going. After the service is over, head back to to view the full list.

Praise and thanks be to God! Keep these men and women in your prayers as they anxiously count down these last few hours. God’s richest blessings to our 42 vicars-elect and 3 deaconess intern candidates, about to discover where they’re headed for this next year of service and learning.

Spring in Fort Wayne

Here’s proof that it really is spring in Indiana. Dr. Mayes (the man behind the camera) got a group of students and staff together to go bicycling last Friday, taking full advantage of the improving weather. Naturally, being Fort Wayne, it’s snowed since then, but it’s 59 degrees right now and this weekend is already shaping up to be a similarly promising one.

Homiletics with Dr. Fickenscher also moved outside this afternoon, proving once more that, for the moment, it’s truly spring in Fort Wayne. They’re sitting next to the lake, in the lower plaza.

Commemoration: Johannes Bugenhagen

Today is the commemoration of Johannes Bugenhagen, pastor. From the LCMS Worship Library (Commemoration Biographies):

“Johannes Bugenhagen (1485-1558), from Pomerania in northern Germany, was appointed pastor of Wittenberg in 1523 through the efforts of Martin Luther and thus served as Luther’s own pastor and confessor. One of the greatest scholars of the Reformation era, he helped translate the New Testament into Low German and wrote a commentary on the Psalms. He also worked to organize the Lutheran Church in northern Germany and Denmark, journeying to Copenhagen where he crowned both King and Queen and consecrated seven men to the offices of superintendent and bishop.”

Colored woodcut of Bugenhagen preaching at Martin Luther’s funeral.

Convocation: Death & Resurrection Motifs

Dr. Pulse led Convocation Hour today after chapel, lecturing on his dissertation topic “Death and Resurrection Motifs in the Old Testament.” Associate professor of Exegetical Theology, Dr. Pulse successfully completed his PhD program at the University of Durham in England only a few months ago.

His lecture began with how we must read the Bible as a unified, theological narrative; that Scripture is one story, with Jesus Christ at the center. Thus the motifs (a fancy word for themes) that begin in Genesis weave through both Old and New Testaments and are brought to complete fruition in Revelation. When you understand the story that is being told, you can read backwards again into the Old Testament and see where Christ is, even when He is not explicitly named. One example of this is God covering Adam and Even with animal skins after their fall into sin, beginning the major motif of sacrificial atonement.

Dr. Pulse’s doctoral studies particularly focused on Joseph in Genesis, and the Christological themes of death and resurrection throughout (there are fourteen in all, such as three day/stage separation and restoration, barren womb and opening of the womb, being cast into the pit/Sheol and being raised/lifted up, famine and deliverance, stripped and clothed, etc.). Ultimately, the lesson to be drawn from Joseph is not “forgive your brothers and you’ll be blessed,” but a lesson about Christ and His mercy.

“There is a danger in appropriating Scripture for yourself,” Dr. Pulse said. Though he acknowledges that this can be a good thing when done correctly, he went on to explain: “We put ourselves in the wrong place in the story.”

When you put yourself in the place of Joseph, you take the Messianic role and cut Jesus out. As another example, this is imagining yourself as David in the story of David and Goliath, and turning it into a moral and ethical lesson about how trusting God no matter what will bless us. Rather, we are the people of Israel, wetting ourselves every time Goliath comes out and taunts us. When you understand that Christ is at the center of every story, then it’s clear that this is instead another lesson about the One who has become sin for us; the One who delivers us.

An Old Tradition

Blessing firetrucks is an old tradition, begun in the horse and buggy days. A new truck is washed, blessed, and finally pushed into service (that is, pushed into the garage) by all the men at the station, though these days modern trucks need a driver at the wheel to assist. This is the tenth Fort Wayne firetruck blessed in the past three years.

Pictured here, the chaplain of the Fort Wayne Fire Department is not only a 2007 CTSFW grad, he’s also the Seminary’s vice president and chief operating officer. Rev. Jon Scicluna worked in law enforcement for 25 years before studying at the Seminary, and even now he continues his service, ministering to those who protect, serve and rescue.

We can claim additional brotherhood in the department. When Rev. Scicluna first met Fire Chief Eric Lahey, he walked into his office, saw the Bible, Luther’s Catechism, and a Concordia Commentary by Reed Lessing on his shelf, and thus recognized a fellow LCMS Lutheran.

Through these men, and others like them, Lutheranism and the CTSFW campus remain a vital and integral part of the Fort Wayne community. May God continue to grant us the opportunities, and the strength, to always serve our neighbor.

Retirement: Jayne Sheafer

In these past few weeks we’ve had to say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague at the Seminary, Jayne Sheafer, our director of Seminary Relations. Jayne has been with us since September of 2002, when her husband Rev. Mark Sheafer, a 1988 CTSFW grad, returned to the Seminary for his STM. They have been with us ever since.

Jayne first worked at the Seminary in the Childcare Center and later in the Financial Aid Office (where Rev. Sheafer currently serves as director of Financial Aid). However, with a background in communications, she soon found her calling in Seminary Relations, where she has been for the last thirteen years. Many of the Facebook posts and news releases published by CTSFW came from her desk over those years.

Thank you, Jayne. You have been — and still are — a very vital piece of the Seminary community. God’s blessings to you, dear sister in Christ!

Military Project: LSB

The CTSFW Military Project, headed by deaconess Carolyn Brinkley here on campus, has just about finished up another amazing missions opportunity to our military. One hundred Lutheran Service Books will be sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot chapel in San Diego, to be used for Protestant services led by Rev. Gleason Snashall (who received his SMP certification from CTSFW in 2015).

Each month, 1400 marines flow through this recruit depot, with an average Sunday attendance of 100+. Worshipers at the chapel will read, on the inside cover of each hymnal, this grateful message: “Thank you for your important work of being God’s instrument of protection. The Lord Jesus bless you and keep you safely in His care.”

We pray for God’s blessings on these hymnals as they bring the mercy of Christ through liturgy and song to those who protect us.