The Rev. Jonathan Linman

The Rev. Jonathan Linman

Current Position: Bishop's Assistant for Faith and Leadership Formation
Congregation Membership: Saint Peter's Lutheran Church
Date and Year of Birth: 11/30/61
Date and Year of Ordination: 3/4/89
Previous Positions:

Director of the Center for Christian Spirituality and Professor of Ascetical Theology, The General Theological Seminary, New York, NY 2001-2009
Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, PA, 1989-2001

Education and Earned Degrees (with institutions and years, most recent first):
Ph.D., Formative Spirituality, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, 1997
MA, Formative Spirituality, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 1994
M.Div., Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH 1988
BA, Sociology-Anthropology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 1984


List up to five (5) current or past synod or churchwide activities that would inform your service as bishop of this synod.
Member, ELCA Church Council, 2005-2009
Member, ELCA Communal Discernment Task Force, 2008-2013
Member, Outreach Committee, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, 1990-1999
Member, Current Round of US Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue
Co-Chair, ELCA - United Methodist Full Communion Coordinating Committee
List up to five (5) current or past community-related activities that would inform your service as bishop of this synod.
Founder, Community Leaders Coalition, South-Pittsburgh, early 1990's
Member, Allentown Civic Association, Pittsburgh, PA, 1989-2001
Member, Allentown Senior Citizens Center, Pittsburgh, PA, 1990's


What gifts would you bring to the office of bishop of this synod? (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
I lead and serve with a pastoral heart with a special love for visiting leaders in local ministry settings. I am a gifted teacher in helping people see the big picture of our life together with something approaching God's vantage point. I am a spiritual leader who draws from my vibrant personal faith life in the service of my preaching, teaching, leading and serving. I bring a strong track record of effectiveness in the ministry of administration. Having served as a Bishop's Assistant in the synod office for ten years, I bring realism to this work. I also have a great deal of experience in ecumenism, as well as participation in churchwide initiatives. 
What do you see as the principal challenge to this synod in the next six (6) years, and how would you address it? (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
The principal challenge before us is improving our relationships with one another, thus nurturing a more positive and conducive climate for effective and faithful ministry and mission. God has blessed us in our Synod with the gift of diversity. But with such diversity comes tension, and sometimes conflict. We are called to get to the point of celebrating our diversity, and not just tolerating it. Our trust in each other has been compromised in various ways and through various actions and inactions. Our work is not so much about conflict resolution as it is about creatively managing our conflict and tensions. I believe that we are called upon in this season to engage in proactive and intentional processes that nurture healing and reconciliation led by professional others from outside of our synodical systems. Let us be on the road together more cooperatively, getting to the point of enjoying each other's company more consistently, for the sake of the mission God has entrusted to us.
Describe your leadership style. (1,000 characters maximum, with spaces)
I love working on teams that celebrate collaboration and cooperation. I lead in the style of my preferred teaching style, being gifted at managing conversations, distilling main points and wisdom from participants resulting in concrete ways forward in our life together for mission. I lead from grounding in my own faith life and experience, and seek to lead others worshipfully and prayerfully, deepening our communal spirituality as THE raw material for ministry and mission. As a facilitator of meetings, I seek to meet just long enough that by a meeting's end, everyone is clear about who does what, when, where, how and why. In order to lead in the ways I am most gifted as a pastor, teacher and spiritual guide, I believe that our synod staff would be well-served by a team that includes someone like a Chief Operating Officer precisely so that the Bishop has the freedom to be present with God's people in visiting throughout our synod and in leading our Synod in genuine systemic change.