Student Stories

A Servant-Leader Heart

Duane Lahti

Meet Duane A. Lahti (G-ETS 2022)

Degree Program

Master of Divinity

What are your hometown and educational background?

Even though I have lived in the Chicago area over the last 40 years, Mankato, Minnesota, is my hometown. I have my bachelor of arts from North Park University in Chicago and my master of arts in community counseling from Loyola University in Chicago. I have worked in several leadership capacities in behavioral health and project management.

How has your time at Garrett-Evangelical shaped your ministry and calling?


My time at Garrett-Evangelical has profoundly shaped my call to ministry by recognizing that Jesus’s call to discipleship as a pastor in the church requires a servant-leader heart. This role speaks the Good News of Christ’s radical act of incarnation, granting salvation through his suffering, death, and resurrection, and demonstrates unconditional love by acts of justice and abolition of systemic problems of privilege, racism, oppression, and socio-economic disparity. I also believe one of our greatest sins through consumerism, wealth-driven greed, and abdicating our duty as caretakers is our desolation of Creation. Future generations’ survival requires our spiritual and creational metanoia with a Christological-centric visioning of Creation.

What is your most transformative experience at Garrett-Evangelical?

My most transformative experience is a series of encounters that exposed the intersectionality bred by the underlying privilege of my white male context, minoritizing those not of my social location. In these encounters, the Holy Spirit challenged me with humbling conviction to hear and allow the voice of those fellow Christians who are victimized or minoritized by white privilege to speak truth to power. It is not just a discipline of listening. It is a discipline by yielding and dismantling constructs of privilege, allowing the voice of those oppressed to share hopes of restoring the fullness of the Gospel with equity and love.

What’s next? What are your plans or your hopes for your future?

Immediately it is a short camping vacation amid forests and lakes with my wife, Lenore, and our golden retriever, Amber Gingersnap. Then I am immersed in an intensive clinical pastoral experience as a chaplain at a nearby hospital and providing “pulpit supply” to several churches. I am also preparing my ordination paper for my ecclesiastical council with the United Church of Christ. God willing, I seek to be ordained and serve as a pastor for a UCC congregation by the end of the year. I would like a congregation willing to re-envision their missional role in a radicalized engagement of Jesus’s call for conversion in our lives demonstrated in transformative actions focused on equity, harmony, and justice for all humanity and God’s intent for a thriving creation.