Professors installed at opening worship

On Monday, August 24, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary held its opening worship service for the 2020-2021 school year. During this service, four men were installed on the faculty: Rev. David Bivens, Rev. Aaron Christie, Rev. Nathan Ericson, and Rev. Jonathan Micheel.

Rev. David Bivens accepted the call to serve as professor of New Testament and Homiletics. “The decision to leave our congregation in Texas was incredibly difficult. We enjoyed the people, the ministry, and the location greatly,” he says. “And yet, the opportunity to be involved in the mission and ministry of WLS is one that brings much excitement. I look forward to playing a part in the training of future pastors who will be equipped to serve in various ministry settings for years to come.”

Prof. Bivens served as a missionary to Brazil in Gravatai, Rio Grande do Sul, for six years and as pastor of Christ the Lord, Houston, and Divine Savior, Sienna, Texas for 11 years. Divine Savior began as a second campus of Christ the Lord and officially became a separate daughter congregation in 2018. Prof. Bivens has also served as chairman of the Administrative Committee for African Missions since 2017. Bivens, a 2003 WLS graduate, and his wife, Brandi, have three children.

Rev. Aaron Christie, a 1997 seminary graduate, he will serve as a Worship and Homiletics professor and Dean of Chapel. “Martin Luther said that theology was the King of disciplines and that music was the Queen. I consider it a great privilege to be here at the seminary to work in both of these areas – theology and music. What a blessing—and responsibility!—it will be to teach the next generation of WELS pastors how to preach good biblical theology, as well as expose them to the Church’s musical treasures old and new. I’m so looking forward to my work here,” he says.

He began his ministry at Faith, Antioch, Ill., where he served for 13 years. He served at Trinity, Waukesha, Wis., where he served since 2010.  In addition, he served for 14 years as district worship coordinator for the Southeastern Wisconsin District of WELS. He currently serves the synod as a member of the Commission on Worship, as the Hymnody Chairman of the WELS Hymnal Project, as a regular presenter for WELS Schools of Worship Enrichment, and as a member of WELS Institute for Worship and Outreach. He and his wife, Kristin, have three children.

Rev. Nathan Ericson, a 2002 graduate of the seminary, was installed as Director of the Library and Educational Technology. “The purpose of the seminary library is to give students access to the information they need, especially as they grow in the knowledge of God’s Word so that they can preach and teach it,” he says. “I look forward to continuing that legacy at the seminary and also to helping our faculty with instructional design and their use of educational technology, which is so much a part of education today.”

After his ordination, Prof. Ericson was assigned to be a tutor at Martin Luther College for two year and has been serving at Martin Luther, Oshkosh, Wis., since 2004. He and his wife, Joanna, have three children.

Rev. Jonathan Micheel, WLS class of 1998, was installed as a professor of Homiletics and Church History. “The sermon is one of the main places where God connects with people from week to week. The sermon is also a time when people connect with their pastor, as they gather around the living and active Word,” he says. “I’ll be working with preaching classes and engaging in some continuing education in that area myself. I’m looking forward to growing and helping students grow in skill as proclaimers of God’s Word.”

Prof. Micheel began his ministry at St. Peter’s, Modesto, California, and he served at Prince of Peace, Salt Lake City, since 2005. He has also served as district worship coordinator for the Nebraska District of WELS, circuit pastor for the Western Slope Circuit of that district and currently serves on the Hymnal Project Executive Committee and as chairman of the Hymnal Project Rites Committee. He and his wife, Cheryl, have four children.

Four professors were installed at our opening worship: (from left) David Bivens, Nathan Ericson, Jonathan Micheel, and Aaron Christie.