As a Christian higher education community, Concordia is committed to raising up leaders in the Church and the world. Among those leaders are our pre-seminary students—young men who have answered the divine call to serve as pastors.

I’m marrying one of these future pastors, so naturally, for my final project in Documentary Photography last semester, I set out to capture through photos a peek at the authenticity and distinctness of future pastors and their wives. I wanted to discover what made each person unique and how they are preparing for married life.

For myself, I am thrilled to be entering ministry and married life. One of the many incredible things about being a senior at CUW is that there are many other couples in my exact situation.

My fiancé, Garrett, and I.

A pastor and his wife are a dichotomy and a unit. They must be two sides of the same coin, the counselor and the comforter. Their role within the church, side by side in ministry, is critical to a cohesive church family.

In seminary, young men train to be pastors. The opportunity to go through this training in partnership with their wife is an unmatched opportunity for growth together. As they learn to love each other, they are also learning how best to communicate God’s love to their future congregation. By continually being filled up by the love of the Lord, they can have endurance in the trek of evangelism.

As C.S. Lewis discusses, affection (storge), friendship (philia), and romantic love (eros) each serve as a training ground for charity to grow. When love is viewed from the lens of agape, it inspires us to remember what sacrificial love requires: responsibility and resilience.

Let me introduce you to two other CUW couples who will soon be on their way to seminary and marriage, along with me and my fiancé.

Jenna + Josh

At any given moment, Jenna gazes lovingly at Josh whether he notices or not.

Jenna Vanderhyde and Josh Horst are the sweetest couple. They dated for about two years before getting engaged this past July. They will be headed to the Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO this summer. Jenna is majoring in Early Education and Special Education. She wants to be a preschool teacher to shape kids with the Gospel and help them grow and develop as God’s precious children.  At Concordia she is involved with Students for Life, Youth Ministry, and serves as the Communion Coordinator on the Campus Ministry Leadership Team.

Jenna and Josh in their natural habitat: hanging out in Jenna’s room to do homework or catch up from a busy day.

Josh is going to be a pastor because he believes he is equipped to be a leader in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and carry our traditions to the next generation. He originally planned to come to Concordia to be a teacher, but admittedly wasn’t super invested in that path. At some point during his senior year of high school in Evansville, IN he heard a statistic of the number of pastors who are eligible for retirement, and it stuck with him throughout the summer before college. He felt a calling to join the ministry and knew that God had been preparing him for this path. Josh is a Compline leader, facilitating and coordinating the nightly prayer service. He is also on the track team and a member of the Pre-Semiary Student Association (PSSA).

They faithfully attend chapel each morning and often Compline in the evening.

Jenna is excited to be a pre-seminary wife and start her life with Josh this summer. Her dad attended the St. Louis Seminary while she was in elementary school, so the next four years are a bit of a homecoming for her.

It is not uncommon for Josh to pull Jenna into a rendition of their first dance to cheer her up or help relieve stress.

Josh is excited to continue his education and growth in seminary. As he becomes more familiar with the role of being a pastor, he can’t wait to be able to look back and see how far he has come. Thankfully, many of his friends will also be in St. Louis next fall, so they will be able to learn and prepare for ministry alongside him.

Jake + Caroline

Jake and Caroline: a small-town boy and a big-city girl.

Jake Moede and Caroline Hagan are the perfect balance of optimist and realist. They dated for about a year before getting engaged this past summer. Caroline is headed for graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology, so both her and Jake will be students in St. Louis for the next few years.

Jake quickly acclimated to Caroline’s friend group as they got to know each other better. Now they spend lots of time as a crew.

Jake is from small town Bonduel, WI. He has wanted to be a pastor since middle school. To him, it has always seemed like the most fulfilling career. He wants to leave an impact on the world and beyond this world—maybe helping to plant that seed that could change someone’s eternity. Every one of his involvements in college has been chosen with the express purpose of improving his relational skills to shepherd his congregation better in the future.

Like Jenna and Josh, Jake and Caroline make it a priority to attend chapel and Compline together in addition to their respective bible studies.

Jake is the PSSA president this year, he is involved with Students for Life, and he tutors other pre-seminary students in Greek and Hebrew. All of these activities provide applicable experience for the ministry, building relationships, and being personable. Jake has cultivated his Concordia experience to prepare him to be a pastor both through his classes and his extracurriculars.

Each couple has their quirks. Jake and Caroline often hold pinkies instead of holding hands.

Caroline keeps herself busy with her Speech-Pathology classes in addition to involvement with National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), being a Students for Life leader, and attending a weekly Bible study. She wants to be a Speech-Language Pathologist because of the opportunity it presents to serve a diverse caseload in a variety of settings within the field. It is essential for people to have a means of communication, and Caroline is excited to work with them to help meet their specific communication goals.

This couple is the perfect mix of goofy and serious. Jake is incredibly supportive of Caroline’s career aspirations and she reciprocates the encouragement.

Going into seminary is an incredible opportunity, but it is also a sacrifice of sorts. In Jake and Caroline’s case, they will both be graduate students, so they will need to take on both the role of student and provider for each other. Although there is a financial strain, one of the most beautiful aspects of the community at seminary is that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is learning and growing and struggling together.

The couples share a friend group and can often be found eating lunch or dinner together.

As future pastor’s wives, we find ourselves in a unique position both within our small corner of the world at Concordia, and within the world as a whole. This is part of the reason the transition to seminary as a married couple is so special–we’re finding our footing within our relationships and working through a move across the country, but we’re doing it together, with other couples in the exact same boat.

There is something so special about the opportunity to take the love God pours out on us, foster it in a married relationship and then continually share it with others. Although not a requirement by any means, entering the pastoral ministry as a married couple serves pastors and their wives to better love and care for their church. The responsibility of love is to share it.



— Madelyne Arrigoni is a senior studying English, Mass Communications, and Photography. She plans to graduate in 2022.

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