Faculty & Staff SpotlightJeffrey Burkart

Dr. Jeffrey Burkart

Emeritus Professor of Educational Media/Communications
Artist in Residence
Director of Drama Ministry & Special Projects

Dr. Jeffrey E. Burkart, former Associate Dean of the College of Vocation and Ministry and now Professor of Educational Media/Communications, Emeritus, Director of Drama Ministry and Artist in Residence at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, is a nationally known teacher, author, speaker, dramatist, and musician who has given over 2,500 presentation and has more than 150 publication to his credit including ten books, numerous articles, chancel dramas, Christian musicals, hymns, CD recordings, videos and films.

Dr. Burkart earned his BA degree at Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia University, Chicago, his MA at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In addition to his teaching and administrative duties at Concordia — St. Paul, he has served as organist at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Roseville, MN for the past 33 years and is a frequent guest organist and hymn festival leader.

In 2004 he received the Alumnus of the Year (Officiam ab Ducere — Leader by Service) Award from Luther High School North, Chicago, IL, and on May 7, 2005, Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois conferred upon him an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of his service to the church, society, and the university.

He has composed numerous hymn texts and tunes and is often commissioned to write hymns for church anniversaries, and other special occasions. In 1999, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) commissioned Dr. Burkart to write a musical setting of the Common Table Prayer and a new LWML theme song titled, “In League with Our Lord.” He served as keyboard musician and speaker for the 1999 and 2001 LWML international conventions. In 2001, the LWML commissioned him to create a CD of LWML convention hymns titled LWML 60th Anniversary Convention Favorites. Over the past few years he was commissioned to write hymns for the 150th anniversary of the Eastern District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the 150th anniversary of First Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cedarburg, WI, the 125th anniversary of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Marengo, IL, a children’s song for Lutheran Special Education Ministries, the theme song for the Wheat Ridge Ministries Hope for China project, and the theme song for the 2007 President’s Conference of the Minnesota South District of the LC—MS. In 2008, Burkart was commissioned to write a hymn for the 85th anniversary of Lutheran Blind Mission in October was entitled Blind Bartimeaus on the Road. The hymn and several dramas and other worship materials by Burkart will be distributed to all congregations of the LC—MS and will be available in Braille. He also wrote the 2010 National Lutheran Schools Week theme hymn entitled To All of God’s Children.

Dr. Burkart’s ten—year run of Gospel Time in Gospel Rhyme performances (1995—2005) and ten—years of touring with the Good News Players resulted in over 350 performances of more than 40 original plays and musicals at LC—MS national and regional youth gatherings, teachers conferences, Lutheran elementary and high schools, churches, Lutheran camps, and Concordia chapel services.

Dr. Burkart served as keynote speaker for the 1999 Lutheran Education Association International Convocation in Indianapolis, IN and in 2002 served as chairman of the LEA International Convocation held in Minneapolis, MN. More recently Dr. Burkart has keynoted at the North Wisconsin Pastors Conference, the Southern Illinois, South Wisconsin, and California/Nevada/Hawaii Educators Conferences, the Northern Illinois Sunday School Teachers Conference, the South Dakota, South Wisconsin, and Texas District Conferences of the LWML. In the summer of 2004, he was commissioned to write and direct a series of original chancel dramas and hymns for the Region II Convention of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians held in Rockford, Illinois. In the summer and fall of 2005, he was the Storyweaver for the Southern District’s Intergenerational Gathering in Panama City, Florida, spoke at several LWML regional rallies, present workshops at the North Wisconsin Professional Workers Conference and keynote for the Michigan District’s Pastors Conference. In the spring of 2006, he was the keynoter at the Academy for Church Workers held at Concordia University, Chicago, Illinois, the Chicago South Suburban Teachers Conference and the Early Childhood Education Conference held in Scottsdale, AR. In summer 2006, he keynoted at the Early Childhood Conference at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska and the Nebraska District LWML Convention in Freemont, NE. In fall of 2007 Burkart keynoted at the Nebraska, California/Nevada/Hawaii and Pacific Northwest District Teacher’s Conferences and in 2008 keynoted at the Northern Illinois Teachers Conference, The Plum Creek Children’s Literature Festival in Seward, NE, and the Wisconsin Volunteer Teacher Convention in Weston, WI. Burkart served as chairman of the July 2008 LC—MS National Children’s Ministry Conference that was held at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Schaumburg, IL. Burkart was also song leader for the conference and premiered the hymn, Hear God’s Children Tell the Story, which he wrote for the conference. Dr. Burkart keynoted at the 2009 Early Childhood Education Conference of the North Wisconsin District of the LC—MS held in Eau Claire, WI.

In fall of 2008, Dr. Burkart was the speaker for fundraising events for Central Lutheran School, St. Paul, MN and Martin Luther High School in Northrop, MN. In December of 2008 and 2009, he presented hymn festivals at Centennial Lutheran Church in Henderson, MN and at Zion Lutheran Church in Pine City, MN. He also served as Writer—in—Residence for Lutheran Education Association’s, Shaping the Future, for 2008 and published six plays based on Biblical themes such as Love, Peace, Joy, The Fruits of the Spirit and others. From January 12—16, 2009 he served as Artist—in—Residence at St. John’s Lutheran church and school where he conducted workshops on music, drama and poetry that culminated in an hour long all—school assembly where students performed his music, poetry, and Bible dramas. Burkart wrote the theme song for the 2010 National Lutheran Schools Week celebration entitled, To All of God’s Children”. In the spring of 2010, Burkart served as Artist in Residence at St. Paul Lutheran School, Des Peres, MO and Immanuel Lutheran School, Twin Falls, ID.

Books by Dr. Burkart include: The Hidden Prince, an allegorical folktale about Christ’s unconditional love; The Sonday School Book: Ideas and Resources for Teaching the Faith; Sure Can Use A Little Good News: 12 Gospel Plays in Rhyme; numerous Arch Books; musicals based on the Book of Jonah (“Man Overboard!”) and the story of the three men in the fiery furnace (“Don’t Get Burned!”). Dr. Burkart’s Easter CD, “Oh, Come, Risen One” was released in 2003 and is the third in a series of CD’s that also include “Oh, Come, Lord Jesus” and “Oh, Come, Emmanuel” (Christmas Hymns, Carols, and Spiritual Songs). Concordia Publishing House recently released eight Arch Books on CD that were narrated by Dr. Burkart and Lutheran Hour Ministries broadcast over 75 audio devotions that he narrated for Advent/Christmas in 2006 and Lent/Easter of 2007. After completing his six—year term on the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Education Association (where he also served as secretary for the last three years) Dr. Burkart was appointed to the newly created LEA Parish Educators Network (PEN) in June of 2009 and is also serving on the Fine Arts Committee for the 2011 Lutheran Education Convocation that will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Burkart holds memberships in the Lutheran Education Association (LEA), Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD Associate) and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM).

Having served 32 years at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, Dr. Burkart retired from full-time teaching and administration at Concordia University on July 1, 2009. He will continue part time at CSP as Professor of Educational Communications/Media Emeritus, Director of Drama Ministry and Artist in Residence.

Before coming to Concordia University, St. Paul in 1977, Dr. Burkart taught in LC—MS elementary, junior high, and secondary schools in Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. He and his wife, Martha, have three sons (Jonathan 34, David 31, and Andrew 24) and reside in Roseville, MN. Since 1983 Mrs. Burkart has been the Curriculum Center Coordinator and serials librarian at the Library Technology Center at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN.