Apr 09, 2024 Print This Article

Fritsche named Buehner-Duesenberg Professor of Lutheran Missions

Endowed chair emphasizes mission service

Rev. Joel Fritsche will be formally installed as the new Buehner-Duesenberg Professor of Lutheran Missions Aug. 23 during the Opening Service for the 2024-25 academic year at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Fritsche joined the faculty in 2023 an an assistant professor of Exegetical Theology, and he also serves as director of Vicarage and Deaconess Internships. He is the third person to occupy the Buehner-Duesenberg Endowed Chair.

Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg established the endowed chair in 2012 in honor of Phyllis’ parents and as an opportunity to inspire future church workers for mission service. It is one of 13 endowed chairs at the Seminary.

“We are grateful to the Duesenbergs for establishing this faculty chair. I know that Phyllis treasured her childhood experiences in a missionary family in India,” said Seminary President Dr. Thomas J. Egger. “Concordia Seminary seeks to form in our students a strong ‘both-and’ commitment to missionary zeal and doctrinal integrity, and Professor Fritsche is a great asset for us toward this goal. His missionary background and his personal joy in the Gospel of Christ will be a great blessing to our students and to our Seminary community.”

Fritsche previously served as a missionary pastor and church planter in the Dominican Republic (2014-23). In 2017, he also became the director and professor of biblical languages at Seminario Concordia el Reformador (Concordia Seminary the Reformer) in Santiago, where he helped form Lutheran pastors and deaconesses for partner churches and mission fields throughout Latin America.

Before beginning his missionary service, Fritsche was associate pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyo. (2000-02); assistant pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas (2002-05); and senior pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Staunton, Ill. (2009-14). He was a guest instructor of biblical languages at Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward (1995), and a guest instructor at Concordia Seminary (2008), where he also worked as an admissions counselor (2005-09).

“Before the foundation of the world, God planned to send His Son into the flesh to save humanity. So, God’s mission is always at the forefront of Holy Scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments,” Fritsche said. “Whether I am teaching courses on missions or the Old Testament, or speaking with students about their vicarages and internships, I can’t help but speak of God’s mission in Christ. I pray that through that, students are inspired to engage in and support missions here at home and abroad and that the legacy of missionary Pastor Buehner and his family is honored.”

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in music from Concordia, Nebraska (1996), Fritsche earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Concordia Seminary (2000). He is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Old Testament from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

Fritsche lives in St. Louis with his wife, Clarion. They have three sons: Viktor, Max and Andrei.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit csl.edu.