There have been several changes in the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) recently, but the work of PSI isn’t changing.
Here in North America, the work of PSI still starts with refugees, immigrants, or members of diaspora people groups coming into WELS congregations. These individuals or groups join the church through the congregation’s Bible Information Class. Then, PSI is brought on to develop an appropriate pastoral training program for the individual desiring to become a pastor of our fellowship or for the man who is already serving as leader of a group. The program will typically lead to a bachelor’s degree that qualifies the man to serve as a WELS pastor within his people group. Throughout North America, PSI is currently serving more than twenty-five PSI BDiv or BTh students.
Internationally, continuing in our mission means the PSI team still provides a variety of training opportunities for countries served by WELS World Missions and the sister churches in the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC). To accomplish this, the PSI team is fully integrated into each of the WELS World Missions regional teams, or “one teams.” To better assist these teams and the church bodies they serve, the PSI team has created a “toolbox” of resources that provide regional teams, and the churches they serve, assistance with (1) program and curriculum developments, (2) seminary instructor training and mentoring, (3) coordination of visiting instructors, and (4) discussions and training leading toward colloquy and fellowship. A fifth tool is currently being created that will aid the church bodies we serve in assessing their own seminary programs.
Stated simply, PSI’s mission remains the same as it has been for years: to walk with these kingdom-committed spiritual leaders worldwide.