Now Available! Learning Pastoral Imagination: A Five-Year Report on How New Ministers Learn in Practice.

To lead with courage and pastoral wisdom in the twenty-first century requires ministers to make a transition from simply imagining ministry to embodying pastoral imagination. For 25 years, Auburn Studies have been the gold standard in research on theological education in the United States. In this newest Auburn Studies Report, we release six key findings from a study of learning ministry in practice and their implications for theological education.


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Welcome to LPI

The Learning Pastoral Imagination Project is a study of theological education and ministry from the perspective of the learners. A longitudinal national study of how pastors learn in practice over time, the project has followed fifty seminarians for five years—from graduation into their varied ministry careers. The ministers are a diverse group including Mainline and Evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal and Orthodox traditions and are located in five regions of the United States. Funded by The Lilly Endowment, Inc., the project is directed by Eileen Campbell-Reed (Central Baptist Theological Seminary) and Christian Scharen (Auburn Theological Seminary) with project assistance from Catrina Ciccone (Luther Seminary). 

Social Media for Pastoral Imagination:

  • A Prayer in the wake of Hurricane Harvey Dear Pastorshellip
  • The places where I find myself engaging the LPI preliminaryhellip
  • LPI findings inform my current study about the linkages betweenhellip
  • The importance of the LPI Project cannot be overstated Athellip
  • Today we want to highlight the way Terri Elton facultyhellip
  • On this day set apart for giving thanks we sayhellip
  • In the US the impending election for president is Tuesdayhellip
  • What is your definition of mentoring? Here is some wisdomhellip
  • What kind of beauty is bringing you alive this day?hellip
  • Selfcare is never a selfish act  it is simplyhellip
  • So what is this pastoralimagination we keep hashtagging about? Whathellip
  • Ahhh! Hoping this has been a day of quiet resthellip

About Us:

Christian Scharen
Christian ScharenCo-Director
Dr. Christian Scharen is Vice-President for Applied Research at Auburn Theological Seminary where he leads the Center for the Study of Theological Education.
Eileen Campbell-Reed
Eileen Campbell-ReedCo-Director
Dr. Eileen Campbell-Reed is Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary (TN), where she coordinates coaching, mentoring and internships.
Catrina Ciccone
Catrina CicconeProject Assistant
Rev. Catrina Ciccone is a PhD student in Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary. Previously she served as a pastor in Pennsylvania.