Frequently Asked Questions

What if I am not Lutheran or Christian?

You are welcome here! Faith matters deeply at Luther College. It matters enough to engage people of many faiths and religious traditions, as well as people without religious affiliation. The college's denominational identity is Lutheran, and all are welcome at the worship services offered on campus, but know that many voices and experiences fit here.

A variety of groups offer opportunities for service and learning in cooperation with College Ministries, including the Catholic Student Community (led in partnership with Father Don Hertges and student leaders) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We have a great relationship with a variety of churches and faith communities in Decorah, including the Rymonji Buddhist Monastery in the outskirts of town, with whom we partner to offer meditation sessions on campus.

What worship opportunities are there and what are they like?

Worship is at the core of Luther's life as a community of faith and learning. There are many opportunities to participate in worship services that will strengthen and nurture your spiritual life, and help you grow as you encounter a diverse and vibrant community of faith. In any given week, students, faculty and staff help lead worship services that draw from global, contemporary, and traditional music and include thoughtful reflections on matters of faith and learning.

Weekly worship services include weekday chapel, a 20-minute time for prayer, song, and renewal, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Sunday morning worship services during college-wide celebrations like Family Weekend and Homecoming; and a weekly Sunday night contemporary service of drama, preaching, and music. Students provide significant leadership in all worship services.

Would I be welcomed as a LGBTQIA+ person?

In Luther College Ministries, we affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28). Christ has made us one. We acknowledge that this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Luther College Ministries supports the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program.

Who is the pastor?

College pastor Melissa Bills is available to all within the Luther community for conversation, reflection, vocational discernment, and spiritual guidance. She works with student leaders, mentors student groups, and collaborates with a variety of departments on campus. She is active in the Decorah and broader faith community and serves as a point of connection between ministries on the Luther College campus and ministries in the wider community.

Where is the chapel?

Right in the middle of our campus is the Center for Faith and Life (CFL) where architecture embodies the college's commitment to the intersection of faith and learning. The CFL Main Hall is intentionally a place where concerts and lectures are held while also providing space for the worship life of the community. This intersection of faith and life encourages creative interaction and cooperation by the college's many departments and programs. At times worship services are also held outdoors or in a small recital hall in the CFL. There is also a small prayer chapel that is open as a meditation and prayer space 24 hours a day.

Since this is a Christian college, will I be required to attend worship?

Luther has a vibrant College Ministries program that integrates religious life on campus for the many students, faculty, staff, and alumni who choose to participate. While we are committed to providing students opportunities to grow and explore their faith, we deeply believe that students must discern their own engagement in their faith tradition, and therefore do not require participation in worship. The College Ministries office is open to all who seek place for conversation, regardless of faith tradition or religious commitments.

Service is important to my faith. Will I have service opportunities at Luther?

At Luther, we believe that one's entire life-- relationships, activities, and profession --should be seen in terms of vocation, or calling. Put simply, your vocation represents the many ways you live your life as you serve God and neighbor. Service opportunities are important in faith formation and in living out your vocation, and there are many ways to serve neighbors in the Decorah community and beyond Decorah through mission trips.

Is their guidance for those interested in pursuing the ministry or a faith-related vocation?

Yes! Check with College Ministries about small group opportunities, visiting seminaries or divinity schools, or meeting with seminary representatives when they come to campus. College Ministries is able to provide travel awards for groups of four students to visit a seminary or divinity school. The funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis. Most seminaries provide housing and food when visiting; Luther College funds would primarily be used for travel.

In regard to how Luther's academic program prepares students interested in pursuing ministry, learn more here:

Pre-Ministry Studies