Mr. Caleb Bahr graduated from the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) with a Master of Divinity degree on Sunday, July 29th, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, New Braunfels, TX. He has attained to all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that are accorded his new degree. One of those privileges is to now be addressed as “Reverend.” Along with that privilege comes the responsibility to preach the Word of God in season and out of season. That Word of God is Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone. The Rev. Timothy J. Swenson, Dean of Chapel at ILT, presided at the graduation ceremony and delivered the diploma to Rev. Bahr. Pastor Paul Owens hosted the ceremony during Sunday morning worship; Assistant Pastor Roger Johnson opened with prayer and read scripture.
The graduation followed on the heels of the LCMC Texas District’s “Jars of Clay” Conference. The conference garnered a great crowd of enthused Texans to enjoy the hospitality of St. Paul’s and the inspiration of the speakers, preachers, and teachers. Caleb received many congratulations and well-wishes as he helped attend the ILT display table. His classmate, Rev. Kari Malinak, was also on hand to greet him. ILT gives thanks to God for the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for its hosting of the conference and the hospitality extended for the graduation service; thanks, too, to Pastor Owens for his leadership.
Rev. Bahr becomes the eleventh graduate to earn a Master of Divinity degree and the fifty-ninth overall graduate of the Institute of Lutheran Theology. ILT achieved accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in February of 2018. By ABHE standards, ILT achieved one hundred three enrolled students in the 2017/2018 school year. Of the accredited Lutheran seminaries in North America, ILT—after only ten years—has a larger enrollment than seven seminaries decades older.
The Institute of Lutheran has programs which prepare candidates for pastoral ministry and it has academic programs to enhance the pastoral skills and theological acumen of those already in the ministry or those just wanting to be more useful in the congregation. ILT’s graduate school prepares pastors with its Master of Divinity degree; and its certificate school prepares potential pastors with a Pastoral Ministry Certificate. Likewise, its graduate school provides Master of Arts in Religion, a Master of Sacred Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degrees. The certificate school helps congregation members be more useful through its Faith and Life Certificate; its Youth and Family Certificate, and its Bethel Bible Series certificate.