This year we’re putting an emphasis on stories that highlight leadership and leaders from around the ELCA. “I’m a Lutheran leader” is an online feature that highlights the many ways people are leaders in the church. Bishop Eaton’s Leadership Initiative encourages all of us to seek out and mentor people who show a gift for ministry. To learn more about the initiative, go to

Garth Englund III

Bethany Lutheran Church, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Master of Divinity student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

I think being a leader in church means walking with people wherever they may find themselves on life’s journey and working to make our communities be places where all people feel unconditionally welcomed to hear and experience God’s grace.

I’ve felt called to attend seminary since middle school when my grandmother suggested that I should think about becoming a pastor someday. I finally responded to God’s call and left my career in aerospace after serving as an adult leader at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, where I experienced firsthand what it meant to share and live publicly into my faith.

The education I’ve received at Luther Seminary has given me a new appreciation for the ways the gospel message can renew the world in every age. Christian theology has been debated and discussed for 2,000 years but continues to inspire new ideas and perspectives today. How cool is that?!

Being part of a church community helps create relationships that can change your life—people who build you up when you need support, celebrate with you in life’s joys and mourn with you in life’s valleys. Modern life is so busy and chaotic. The church serves as a place where we can step back, disconnect from distractions and hurt, and connect with the triune God of love.

I’m a Lutheran leader because I love our message of God’s radical and unchanging grace, and I want to be a part of sharing it with all who need to hear or long for it. By living into that grace, I believe that the church—better together—can change the world.

Read more about: