Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Alvin Luedke

Second Advisor

Daniel Anderson


This mixed-method, exploratory case study explores definitively Lutheran practices in higher education. This research explores emerging themes from Intersections and other publications reflecting upon institutional religious identity. This research explores the student experiences, expectations, and perspectives through a student survey and the perspectives of institutional leadership through qualitative research. It evaluates definitive characteristics of Lutheran higher education through the lenses of adaptive change, organizational theory, open systems theory, Lutheran identity, vocation, and exploring an understanding of missional, cruciform, perichoretic communities from the Pauline epistles. The results reveal limited statistically significant difference among students based on religious affiliation, but a divergent set of expectations. Qualitative research demonstrates a unique perspective within Lutheran higher education with an opportunity for enriching the understanding and expression of this identity. The conclusion triangulates these results, providing a data-driven, theologically and theoretically informed model for Lutheran higher education encompassing academic development, spiritual intelligence, and emotional intelligence.