Pastor Courses

Online continuing education is now available to pastors through courses designed by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and Concordia University's Wisconsin campus.

This is the first time this has been done in these schools’ history. Registration is now open for two different online courses:

  • Scripture in Counseling—Beginning Sept. 8, 2020 (Registration deadline Aug. 31, 2020)
  • Change Management in the Church—Beginning April 5, 2021 (Registration deadline March 31, 2021)


(On the registration form, under the question “I am interested in ______,” choose: “CUW/CSL Pastor Professional Development” from the dropdown menu.)

Each course features six modules over six weeks, with video lectures, optional readings, recommended assignments, and peer discussion activities to enhance the learning experience. The first module includes a live video conference with students and the instructors (also available on demand for those unable to attend). The next four modules each use 45–60 minutes of pre-recorded videos that are divided into digestible segments. The final module includes a live wrap-up video conference that will also be made available on demand.

The courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning they can be completed at any time after the launch dates. The courses are especially appropriate for ordained pastors, commissioned church workers, and lay leaders.

Each is offered at the affordable cost of $99. Pastors can earn six Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.

Scripture in Counseling

  • Dr. Richard Marrs, associate professor of Practical Theology and director of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Residential Alternate Route (RAR) Programs at Concordia Seminary
  • Dr. Daniel Paavola, professor and chair of theology at CUW.

Scriptural counseling: During this module, students consider the value of social-science research and best practices through the lens of faithfulness to Scripture. Students have an opportunity to practice empathetic listening skills and to reflect on the experience.

COVID-19/Pandemic issues: During this module, students listen and reflect on how to adjust to the changes brought on by COVID-19 and extend pastoral care remotely.

Counseling through trauma and tragedy: What do you say to a person whose world is falling apart after the loss of a spouse or child? How do you help when there is a tragedy that affects an entire community? During this module, students learn best practices and strategies for helping individuals and families through intense times of illness, grief and sudden loss.

Counseling a fellow shepherd: Ministry can be a lonely place where pastors feel like there is no one they can talk to. How do pastors help one another? During this module, students learn ways to speak Scripture into the lives of fellow pastors and to encourage those who are feeling burned out, overwhelmed or alone.

Change Management in the Church

  • Dr. David Peter, professor of Practical Theology and dean of faculty at Concordia Seminary
  • Dr. Erik Hollander, assistant professor of Business and director of Strategic Growth and Business Development in the School of Business Administration at CUW
  • Rev. Randy Raasch, senior pastor at First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cedarburg, Wis.

Emotional intelligence and leading change: Moral purpose and relationship building are two components of effective leadership. Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is becoming the primary indicator of great leadership. During this module, students develop an understanding of how EQ plays a role in change management. Students also reflect on their own EQ and learn about biblical leadership qualities like faithfulness, courage, sensitivity and the fruit of the Spirit.

Overcoming fear of change: Individuals react to change in a variety of ways. Understanding the possible emotions that come along with change and learning to deploy strategies to overcome those reactions can aid leaders in the change process. This module enables students to describe why people resist change, to familiarize themselves with techniques for overcoming this resistance and to practice those techniques. Students also are challenged to consider what things cannot or should not change.

Teams, collaboration and evaluation: While some people view collaboration as a way to foster a greater sense of purpose when working toward shared goals, others view it as a burden. During this module, students explore collaboration and how they can respond to it, use it and evaluate it within their organizations’ cultures. The module also touches on a biblical model of collaboration.

Dealing with conflict in the church: Change elicits emotion, and sometimes that emotion causes conflict. This module prepares students to handle the anger, frustration and conflict that often accompany change, and to deploy strategies for repairing relationships and recovering unity in the midst of change. The module helps students work toward not only conflict resolution but also personal reconciliation.

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