— by The Rev. Dr. Steven Schumacher
Pastoral formation is our purpose as called missionaries serving in Ghana for the past 6 years. We were invited by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG) to assist in the instruction at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Ghana. This pastoral formation continues even during this uncertain time of CoVid-19, with all private and public schools in Ghana being closed. It is an uncommon August day when I am sitting in our home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, using the internet for our seminary instruction.
Our students have completed their vicarages and have additional studies before graduating and receiving their first calls as pastors. I am teaching a class on Romans. This class has practical application as the students look forward to shepherding God’s people wherever he calls them. Romans is an especially important book as it speaks the Law and Gospel. The students are gaining a clearer understanding along with the proper distinction and the relationship of the Law to the Gospel. This understanding is vital for the future pastors as they proclaim God’s gracious work of restoring sinful humans through the salvation won by Christ Jesus. Many Ghanaian Christians, as well as some Lutherans, have the misunderstanding that grace is something that must be earned by their “good works.”
God is blessing these men as they live at home in their villages and communities while continuing their studies and being about their “Father’s Business.”
The Rev. Dr. Steven Schumacher teaches theology and serves as the dean of academics and students at the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG). Photos by Cynthia Schumacher.