Amidst diverse and changing student body, Trinity remains faithful to mission

The Trinity Lutheran College environment is a wonderful place of continual change, struggle, celebration, growth, disappointment and conversation.  I especially love the conversations we have at our college. And I’m aware of the ways in which these conversations change as we grow in enrollment and support a student body that looks different than it did a decade or two ago.

Once upon a time at Trinity, nearly every student who took classes in Trinity Core (what we called our required Bible classes) was familiar with the Christian story, was a regular attendee at his or her home church, and came from a Lutheran background.

However, our student body has shifted in some ways since that time. Today, the new Trinity CRUX responds to students who, in general, are less spiritually oriented or rooted in a Lutheran Christian faith. Only 20% of our students today cite their church background as Lutheran. While some of our students really enjoy our required classes in the Bible and dig deeply into their coursework, I have heard other students who comment about having to “tolerate CRUX classes.” When I hear these comments, I am aware once again of our ever-changing student body.

And while we continue to welcome students of all faith backgrounds and experiences to the college, at Trinity we still believe that studying the Bible provides an important foundation for a Christian liberal arts education. We require all students to take 24 credits of the CRUX, and we know that God’s word and truth can be a powerful thing for our students, whether they have heard words from Scripture a thousand times before or are hearing them for the first time.

This week, I was pleased to hear about exploring/seeking students who have found a relationship with Christ because of Trinity. One of our faculty members who teaches our Vocation and Formation class shared with me that two students in her class told her they have come to deep, personal relationships with Christ because of their CRUX classes. Our students continue to comment on how much they love taking Synoptic Gospels with Dr. Jan Fekkes and The Bible and Worldview with Professor Beth Elness-Hanson.

So while Trinity is ever-evolving and changing, welcoming in a diverse student body made up of scholars who come to the college for a variety of reasons, I am pleased that our courses and our environment continue to further our mission to “develop Christian leaders with a global perspective whose lives and ministry serve Jesus Christ in church and society.”

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