Please scroll down past the Textbooks section to access the Monthly Themes/Topics and Reading Assignments for both Years One and Two. Continuing Education, please check the Continuing Education page for any text books, reading assignments.


Spiritual Formation Class for Year 1 and 2 – Natalie Leske

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Practices that Transform Us” by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
Practicing the Faith” by Dorothy C. Bass
Soul Feast” by Marjorie J. Thompson
Simple Ways to Pray for Healing” by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Dennis Linn

David K. Anderson – Worship for Year 1 & 2

Required Texts:
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pew edition) – if you can borrow one from your congregation that would be fine, otherwise, I recommend that you purchase one.

Gary Simpson – Church Confessions and History for Years 1 & 2

The Book of Concord,” Wengert Edition

Greg Kaufmann – Biblical for Years 1 & 2

The Bible: An Introduction” by Jerry Sumney
Synopsis of the Four Gospels” (New edition 2010)
The Bible’s Big Story” by Harry Wendt – see Pastor Greg for ordering.

A good study Bible – recommended “Lutheran Study Bible” – contact the Synod Resource Center for best pricing…

Continuing Education – to be determined…

Monthly Themes | Topics | Reading Assignments for first and second year students.

Systematics and Biblical Topics and suggested readings by Month

Year One Class


Introduction to the Biblical story

Introductions & On Being a Theologian (of the Cross2 Handouts: Luther, “Concerning the Study of Theology” & Luther, “Theology As Law-Promise Hermeneutics”


Canonization of the Bible
“How did we get what we got?”
Sumney: Chapters 1, 2, 3

The Bible as God’s Word of Law & Promise
Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 345-351, 377-386

Truemper & Niedner, pp. 9-22, 79-87


Creation Literature

Sumney: Chapter 4
Genesis 1-3
Psalms 3, 19,33, 100, 104

God, Creation & Law
Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 351-355, 386-433
Truemper & Niedner, pp. 23-52


Following the Exodus Trail
Exodus 1-20
Sumney: Chapter 5

God, Creation & Law—Continued


Introduction to the Gospels
Sumney: Chapters 10
Read your favorite Gospel

Jesus the Redeemer
Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 355, 434-435
Truemper & Niedner, pp. 53-78


The Passion of Christ (Part 1)
Sumney: Chapter 11

Bishop Laurie


The Passion of Christ (Part 2)
Sumney: Chapter 12

Jesus the Redeemer—Continued


God’s Spirit in the Bible
(The readings are on the worksheets
which will be handed out in March)

The Holy Spirit & Church
Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 355-356, 435-440


The Catholic Letters
James, 1 Peter, 1 John,
Sumney: Chapters 16

The Holy Spirit & Church—Continued

Year Two Class


Psalms – Israel’s LBW!
Sumney: Chapter 9
Read Psalms 1, 2, 22, 23, 51, 137

Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 356-358, 440-456
Truemper & Niedner, pp. 100-116


By the Waters of Babylon: Exilic Literature
Sumney: Chapter 6
Isaiah 40 to 55, Lamentations, Psalms 74, 79, 137

Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 359-361, 371-375, 456-467, 476-480
Truemper & Niedner, pp. 117-133


Paul and the Corinthians
Sumney: Chapter 14
I Corinthians



Paul and Galatians
Sumney: Chapter 15
Galatians (on tape)

Holy Communion
Luther’s Catechisms, Kolb & Wengert,
pp. 362-363, 467-476
Truemper & Niedner, pp. 134-144


Life in the Promised Land
Sumney: Chapters 5 & 7
I & II Samuel

Holy Communion—Continued


Life in the Promised Land II
Sumney: Chapter 8
I & II Kings

Bishop Laurie


Acts and the Early Church
Sumney: Chapter 13

Vocation & Ethics
Kolden, Living the Faith


Apocalyptic Literature
Sumney: Chapter 8 & 17
Daniel and Revelation

Vocation & Ethics
Kolden, Living the Faith
Simpson, “‘Written on their hearts’: Thinking with Luther about Scripture, Natural Law, and the Moral Life”


Your Biblical Questions
No assigned readings

Vocation & Ethics
Simpson, “How Luther Helps Today’s Citizens”

Pastor Greg Kaufmann’s Class


All Readings come from “The Bible: An Introduction” by Jerry L. Sumney

September: Introduction to the Biblical Story

Beginning with the life of Jesus, we will work backwards through the Biblical story. Using numerous overheads, and a timeline your small group will create, we will familiarize ourselves with the “high points” of the Biblical timeline. Some representative questions include:

  1. What other options did first century Jews have? What led to the growth of apocalyptic literature? Why was Jesus unacceptable to most of his contemporaries? What led to the birth of Judaism after the exile? Why were parts of the Southern Kingdom of Judah in exile? What happened to the Northern Kingdom? Why were there two kingdoms in the first place? Why did they have a king? Why did the Exodus happen? What were the Israelites doing in Egypt?
  2. Why did God choose a people?
October: Canonization of the Bible:
How did we get what we have in our Bibles? Sumney: Chapters 1, 2, 3
  1. Journal Summary: Reflect on issues raised during our September discussion of The Story. Relate it to the story you learned as you grew up.

November: Creation Literature

Sumney: Chapter 4
Genesis 1-3

Psalms 3, 19, 33, 100, 104

  1. Journal Summary: What do I mean/believe when I weekly confess that “I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
  2. What would change if we adopted Harry Wendt’s suggestion to add “and owner” after the word “creator?”

December: Following the Exodus Trail

Exodus 1-20

Psalms 78 & 105
Sumney: Chapter 5

  1. Journal Summary: We proudly point to the Reformation as the birth of the Lutheran Church. The Exodus is the defining event that created the people of Israel. Compare these two events.
  2. What does a comparison of Psalms 78 and 105 with Exodus suggest about the “10 plagues”?
January: The Passion of Jesus (Part 1)

Aland: Bring it to class!
Sumney: Chapter 10

  1. Journal Summary: React to the following statement “The four canonical gospels are less interested in telling their reader/auditor what happened and much more interested in explaining how the death of Jesus could possibly be good news.”

February: The Passion of Jesus (Part 2)

Sumney: Chapters 11
Aland: Bring it to class!
Continue Reading your favorite Gospel. (If you haven’t finished it yet.)
  1. Journal Summary: How has your study of Jesus’ arrest and trial helped you understand the unique portraits of Jesus in each of the four canonical gospels? Outline your favorite gospel’s account of Jesus’ Passion. Why is it your favorite?
  2. Outline your favoriate Gospel’s account of Jesus’ passion. Why is it your favorite?
  3. Is Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ passion and crucifixion more like John or Matthew/Mark?

March: The Four Gospel Accounts – Is that Good News?

Sumney: Chapter 12
Aland: Bring it to class!
  1. Journal Summary: Reflect on the church’s practice of using a three-year lectionary. Each year highlights one of the synoptic gospels. How has this shaped your beliefs about who Jesus is and what he did?
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of having four distinct gospels in our NT?

April: God’s Spirit in the Bible

The readings are on a series of handouts which will be passed out at the close of the March session.

  1. Journal Summary: Reflect on any surprises you discovered as you worked through the OT and NT passages on God’s Spirit. Some scholars suggest that John portrays the Spirit as none other than Jesus’ presence after his return to the Father. What do you think?
  2. How has the Spirit of God been active in your life?

May: The Catholic Letters

Read James, 1 Peter, and 1 John
Sumney: Chapter 16
  1. Journal Summary: No one operates with a portrait of Jesus identical to any one of the four canonical gospels. In our journal, reflect on how your congregation has adapted Jesus’ message to fit your situation. Which of the Catholic letters comes closest to your congregations adaptation?

Pr. Greg Kaufmann’s Class



September: Psalms – Israel’s LBW! Read Psalms 1, 2, 22, 23, 51, 137

Sumney: Chapter 9

  1. Journal Summary: Compare your own prayer life to that exhibited in the Psalms. Do you find yourself more or less “reverent” in your prayer life? Why do you think that is?

October: “Exilic Literature”

Read Isaiah 40-55, Lamentations, Psalms 74, 79, 137

Sumney: Chapter 6

  1. Journal Summary: Exile and the return of the remnant to Palestine is the lens through which the Jewish community views its theology. Baptism is our lens. Compare the two.
  2. Change at any time is difficult. The experience of Exile elicited a variety of responses from the Israelites in Babylon and Palestine. Some confessed their past wrongdoings, making exile inevitable. Others longed to return to the good old days. Some just wondered whether or not God was even out there! How does your congregation’s response to change (or yours) compare?

November: Paul and the Corinthians

Read 1 Corinthians
Sumney: Chapter 14
  1. Journal Summary: Paul is more important in shaping Lutheran theology than any of the gospel writers. Do you agree? Why or why not.

December: Paul and Galatians
Read Galatians
Sumney: Chapter 15

  1. Journal Summary: Parallel to Paul’s task, missionary work today faces the challenge of crossing cultural borders and translating the gospel from one side to the other. Where in the world today is this challenge most evident? What kind of Paul do we need today to do the job? Which Paul does your congregation need? Your community?

January: Life in the Promised Land – Part 1

Read 1 & 2 Samuel
Sumney: Chapters 5 & 7
  1. Journal Summary: Between the time of the Exodus (@1200 BCE) and the Exile (597 BCE), Israel struggled with its relationship to God. Worship of Yahweh was only one of many religious options. Compare this period with our own in modern America.

February: Life in the Promised Land – Part 2

Read 1 & 2 Kings
Sumney: Chapter 8
  1. Journal Summary: One of the major dilemmas faced by the Israelites was determining who spoke for God. How did one know just what God expected out of the average Israelite “in the pew?” Was God more interested in an individual’s belief in God and his/her worship in the temple, or in one’s dealings with the stranger in our midst? How does this compare to the tension in our own church surrounding social justice issues?

March: Acts and the Early Church

Read Acts

Sumney: Chapter 13

  1. Journal Summary: Acts shows the struggle the early followers of Jesus had in determining how inclusive the church should/could be! Compare the choices made in Acts with those made by your congregation/the ELCA.
  2. The Greco-Roman world was in many ways a very pluralistic one, as is our own. How does the way Acts portrays Paul and others dealing with this pluralism shed light on our own struggle to deal with the pluralism in our age?

April: Apocalyptic Literature

Read Daniel and Revelation

Sumney: Chapters 8 & 17

  1. First the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and finally the Romans romped and stomped on Israel. One response to this experience was Apocalyptic literature such as Daniel (written about 168 BCE) and Revelation (written about 95 CE). How can the modern Christian Community use these books filled with vivid images and esoteric symbolism?

May: Your Biblical Questions

No additional readings

This will be our final meeting of the LSM. We will spend the two hours answering any questions you wish to pose. I look forward to this session!

Christian and Spiritual Formation
Year One and Two
Pastor Natalie Leske

Year One

September ~ Getting Started
Introductions, Course Overview, Syllabus

October ~ Covenant Groups
Reading: Soul Feast – Chapter 7
Supplemental Reading:

November ~ Faith Formation
Reading: Article “Faith Practices, Faith Lives,” Dr. Martha E. Stortz,

Study Guide on Faith Practices,” Dorothy C. Bass

Supplemental Reading:

December ~ Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson
Bishop NW Synod of WI

January ~ Word
Reading: Soul Feast – Chapter 2
Article “Story Matters: Naming, Claiming and Living Our Biblical Identity” by Dr. Diane Jacobson and Rev. Brenda Smith

February ~ Prayer
Reading: Soul Feast – Chapter 3

March ~ Examination
Reading: Soul Feast – Chapters 6
Healing – Chapter 8
Supplemental Reading: Soul Feast – Chapter 5

April ~ Family and Congregation
Reading: Handouts
Supplemental Reading:

May ~ Vocation
Reading: Handout – An Understanding Of Christian Vocation from Christian’s Calling in the World by Marc Kolden.


September ~ Sabbath
Reading: Practicing Our Faith – Chapter 6

Soul Feast– Chapter 4

October ~ Hospitality
Readings: Soul Feast – Chapter 8

Practicing Our Faith – Chapter 3

November ~ Forgiveness
Readings: Practicing our Faith – Chapter 10

Simple Ways to Pray for Healing – Chapter 4

December ~ Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson
Bishop NW Synod of WI

January Mystery/Contemplation
Readings: Soul Feast – Chapter 3 review pp. 47-55

Simply Ways to Pray for Healing – Chapter 8

February – Healing
Readings: Practicing Our Faith – Chapter 11

Simple Ways to Pray for Healing – Chapters 1-2, 6-7

March – Discernment
Readings: Practicing our Faith – Chapter 5 and 8

April – Service/Justice
Readings: Practicing our Faith – Chapter 7
Supplemental Reading:

May – Wrap up and Sending

Contact Information:

WORSHIP • Year One

Instructor Rev. Dr. David K. Anderson, Retired ELCA Pastor


Purpose: We will study the practice of worship in the assembly of the faithful, attending to the biblical, historical, theological and ritual roots of worship. Participants will examine principal rites of the church and their contemporary usage in order to understand what constitutes sound and faithful worship practices and understand worship in the context of the congregation’s life and mission.

Required Texts
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pew edition), aka “the cranberry colored hymnal.” Don’t buy one unless you really want your own copy. Borrow one from your congregation for Zoom sessions, borrow one from Our Saviour’s when we meet there.


An NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is the best choice, whatever you use in Biblical Studies this year. The Synod Resource Center has good deals on The Lutheran Study Bible if you are in the market for a new Bible.

Other Readings as Assigned. From time to time I will hand out or email other brief readings.


Worship Year One

September – What is Worship?
October – The God Whom We Worship: The Triune God
November – The People that Worships: A Brief History of Christianity, The Place We Worship: Christian Architecture
December – The Principal Service (I): The Word
January – The Principal Service (II): The Meal
February – Entry into the People of God: Baptism (I)
March – Entry into the People of God (II): Rites Related to Baptism
April – To Be Announced
May – To Be Announced

Worship Year Two

Required Textbooks:
Evangelical Lutheran Worship

September – Time of Worship: Daily Prayer
October – Time of Worship: The Church Year (Lent – Christ the King)
November – Time of Worship: The Church Year (Advent – Transfiguration)
December – Life Passages: Healing
January – Life Passages: Burial
February – Life Passages: Marriage
March – Proclamation: The Word (I)
April – Proclamation: The Word (II)
Assignment for April: Prepare a Sermon, Sermon Outline, or Devotion based on the text discussed during the April class (if you want to).
May – The Music of Worship

Practical Congregational Leadership

Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson

Dear Lay School Students,

I’m so excited about teaching the leadership track in your program this year. The good news is, I won’t be adding any homework assignments for you! However, it would be helpful if you read the scriptures listed as foundations for each of the sessions before the session. I’m looking forward to meeting you all soon.

Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson

Practical Congregational Leadership for Lay School of Ministry

Session 1 How to run a meeting and actually get something done.

1 Corinthians 12

We’ve all gone to meetings that never seem to accomplish anything. This session will examine your role as a leader in your congregation and how you can help get things done.

Session 2 Leading change and living to tell about it

1 Corinthians 15

Many congregations realize that they need to make changes in order to continue to be faithful to the work that God has called them to do. In this session we explore ways that you can help reduce the anxiety about change.

Session 3 Conflict is normal, really!

Matthew 18/Acts

Where two or three are gathered there is the possibility of conflict, even with Jesus in the midst of it all. Conflict is normal. What Christian leaders need to know about conflict itself, and ways to helpfully respond to it will be discussed in this session.

Session 4 Leading Congregational Renewal

Luke 10

Some congregations are stuck in the past and are in need of renewal. What you as a lay leader can do to help renew and revitalize your congregation will be covered in this session.

Session 5 What do effective leaders actually DO?

This session will look at the leadership styles of Ezra and Nehemiah and compare them to the the E6 characteristics described in Brendon Burchard’s YouTube. We’ll talk about how these six characteristics can help you be a better leader in your congregation.

Session 6 Leaders Do the Math

2 Corinthians 8-9

How your leadership makes a difference in the financial stability in your congregation, and how to help create a culture of generosity at home and in your church will be discussed in this session.