Pastor Luther comes to St. Matthew’s with pertinent experience, education, skills, and passion for congregational church ministry in today’s world. Soon to celebrate 20 years of ordained ministry in the summer of 2024, Pastor Luther has also served two congregations in Los Angeles, California and one in east-central Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, Pastor Luther’s ministry has focused on congregational transformation, leading committed communities into spirited growth by becoming relatable to and responsible for the local community. While faithful and fruitful change is a recurring theme for Pastor Luther, he champions relationship as the means, embracing the importance of pastoral care, especially in rural congregations to which he is no stranger.
The son of an ELCA pastor’s family, Pastor Luther, whose namesake is of course our famous Reformer, grew up in several rural congregations in northern Minnesota, and the eastern and central plains of Colorado and Nebraska, respectively. Both Pastor Luther and his wife, Laurie, were raised in rural farming communities, enjoying the rhythm, values, and lifestyle of smalltown America. College sweethearts who met while working together on the college newspaper, they married in 1983, graduating from Augustana University, a college of the ELCA, Sioux Falls, SD. Laurie found careers in broadcast journalism, magazine publishing, advertising and fine arts sales, while Pastor Luther’s path included teaching and writing before entering Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN in 2000. Since ordination, Pastor Luther has accomplished doctoral studies in Leadership and Organizational Change with a concentration in faith matters for the millennial generation.
The Martells are proud parents of son, Samuel, and his wife, Gaelle, and even prouder (!) of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Mia, all who live in New Jersey.