2018 Symposium

A Symposium on the Pastor as Shepherd-Leader
September 17-18, 2018

By virtue of his divine call, a pastor is the loving shepherd and servant leader of a congregation. Every pastor accepts that reality. The challenge is knowing how and where to lead. Does the pastor lead from the front of the flock or from behind? Is he directive or persuasive? Does he set specific goals beyond preaching the Word and administering the sacraments? Can leadership skills be improved or are some pastors simply born leaders? What challenges stand in the way of evangelical leadership?

These and other similar questions will be addressed in a Symposium on the Pastor as Shepherd-Leader at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on September 17-18, 2018.  Sessions begin at 1:00 p.m. on September 17 and end at 12:30 p.m. on September 18.

Symposium essays are available. Click on the link for each title.

Link to our live stream.


Three speakers will guide pastors and pastoral students through the thorny issues that surround pastoral leadership and provide clear answers to men who desire to be the shepherds who lead the flock of God.

St. Paul and Martin  Luther: Paradigms of Shepherd Leaders – Pastor David Scharf

The work of setting objectives and preparing strategies to meet those goals sometimes seem in conflict with the quiet whisper of the Spirit’s working. A careful assessment of Paul’s missionary endeavors and Luther’s work to reform the church enable pastors to remember that setting goals and finding ways to achieve them are not incompatible with confidence in the work of the Spirit. [Other examples may be drawn from apostolic ministry and the example of the early church fathers.]

Professor Sorum provides the reaction.

Shepherd Leaders Under the Cross: Facing the Challenges – Pastor Jonathan Schroeder

The shepherd leader believes with all his heart that the gospel in Word and sacrament is the power source of his ministry, and he administers the means of grace with confident joy. He is eager to proclaim and apply the Word to his sheep and works to equip them to share in ministry. The shepherd leader also understands, however, the devilish temptation to work within his own comfort zone and avoid the cross of self-assessment and change. The essayist will help participants identify ministry challenges and lovingly encourage them to accept these crosses and carry them with joy.

Professor Degner provides the reaction.

The Shepherd Leader at Work: Moving Forward – Pastor Jonathan Hein

Making ministry plans and finding ways to put those plans into action are vital activities in gospel ministry. The pastor guides his flock with the unchanging Word, but the size, climate, and topography of the pasture are often different! And shepherds are different, too. The essayist will provide examples of appropriate ministry styles and plans for 21st century pastors and congregations and point out basic tools that enable shepherd leaders to move forward together with their flock.