By Rev. Mark Press, PhD, Executive
Director of The Hoffmann Institute
The Oswald Hoffmann Institute for Christian Outreach, located on campus at Concordia University, provides training for outreach leaders for Christ’s church, training which especially focuses on those who serve in multicultural and/or urban contexts. The Hoffmann Institute has partnered with The Minnesota South District to develop and provide leadership training for immigrant pastors, to host a series of “Mission Summits,” as well as the monthly Church Planters’ Cluster meetings. The Hoffmann Institute’s Director, Dr. Mark Press, serves on the District’s Missions Committee, and has provided expertise as a church planter assessor and coach. Dr. Eugene Bunkowske serves as an instructor and mentor to many immigrant and cross-cultural church planters, as well as a regular participant in the Church Planter Cluster.
Together with the District and Woodbury Lutheran Church, The Hoffmann Institute provides leadership in Hispanic/Latino outreach through Deaconess Luz Guerrero (sidebar). Guerrero is on the Hoffmann team, and is available to assist congregations and groups who wish to learn about, and engage in outreach to their Spanish-speaking neighbors.
Over the years, The Hoffmann Institute’s training has taken several forms. Some of these are formal, classroom-oriented offerings, such as the Director of Christian Outreach (DCO) program, a rostered position within the LCMS. The Hoffmann Institute provides support for Concordia’s certification of students as DCO’s. In addition, the Master of Arts in Christian Outreach Leadership (MACOL) program offers graduate training in outreach leadership for those who desire it – most of the students in this program are not full-time church workers. The Hoffmann Institute hosted on-campus intensives for the Doctor of Ministry in Christian Outreach program through Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.
Most of the Hoffmann Institute’s training however, focuses on non-formal or informal means. This has included workshops, seminars, congregational outreach programs, webinars, online training courses, and the like. Networking with a variety of other agencies and churches working in evangelism and discipleship, the Institute provides mentoring, as well as a variety of outreach resources.
Recently a new publication, Missional Transformation: God’s Spirit at Work (available on Amazon), has appeared and is being used for personal and group training in different quarters. The Hoffmann Institute welcomes invitations for partnership in a variety of outreach programs.