Read Pastor Leininger's biography
I love what I do at Concordia. Here’s why: every day I get to share in ministry with some of the best and brightest Christian leaders of tomorrow. Whether it’s in daily worship, through pastoral care and counseling, on a mission trip, in a campus ministry meeting, or just having a cup of coffee with someone who needs to talk, it’s amazing being part of something larger than yourself! The life of Christ lived among us is beyond earthly sight, but there are moments in ministry when we are able to catch a glimpse of the higher purposes of God. There are more of these moments at Concordia than at any other place I’ve served. I guess that’s why I’ve been here nearly ten years, still cherishing every un-earthly moment,
Most importantly, it’s not really what I do, or what any of us do. It’s Christ active in us. He’s alive in the word and sacraments, bringing the message of forgiveness, life, salvation and peace to all. He’s alive in the life of this community—our words of comfort and consolation and compassion to one another. He’s alive in us as we function as his body on earth, loving and serving a world in need. So I guess I love the fact that ministry is not about me. It’s about my Lord working in me and through me—and usually in spite of me!
As the campus pastor, I conduct daily chapel worship, oversee all the campus Spiritual Life activities, and meet daily with faculty, staff and students for pastoral care and counseling.
As the director of the pre-seminary program, I guide young men who are considering becoming Lutheran pastors, helping to form their faith, learning and leadership on behalf of the church they will serve.
As the Dean of the Chapel, I coordinate special university events and worship services, as well as organize and administrate all things related to the chapel office.
I also assist with some Church Relations work for the University—preaching at local congregations, hosting special events on campus, and making sure our students get out into our partner parishes in the Lutheran Church.
As a husband and father, I’m “on-duty-daddy” when at home. Other than my baptismal calling, there’s no higher vocation in life than my family. I cherish the time with my wife Rachel and my kids, Grace and Andrew (yes, they’re the cutest!).
Is it a busy life and ministry? Of course—and I’m so thankful to have Deaconess Betsy Karkan for support. But because it’s not about me, it’s also a great joy. The Lutheran pastor, theologican and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way:
"I have community with others and will continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more everything else between us will recede, and the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is alive between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we really do have one another. We have one another completely and for all eternity." (Life Together, ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p. 34).