Author Archives: Bishop Craig Schweitzer

About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan.

How’s Your Prayer Life?

January 23, 2023

Grace & peace to you in the name of our Savior Jesus!

On December 6, 2022, I was hospitalized for what I was told would be a “routine” and “fairly easy” surgery. Less than 7% of the time, complications arise from this surgery. Unfortunately, I fell into that 7% group and ended up spending 22 days, including Christmas, in the hospital with numerous complications and additional surgeries.

A couple pastors in my synod asked me recently – “How’s your prayer life?”

How’s my prayer life? Wow! That’s an intense and challenging question. Maybe even a little offensive given the last few weeks of my life.

Looking back on my journey since December 6, I’m struck by how difficult it has been to have a prayer life. Lying in a hospital bed, not sure what the next few hours or days might bring, prayer was not something that I thought much about. Most of the time, depending on how much pain medication I was being given, prayer was impossible.

Another pastor reminded me recently of the Apostle Paul’s words in the eighth chapter of Romans. It speaks to how I have answered the question “How’s your prayer life?”

Paul writes, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

I’ve found great comfort and strength in Paul’s words in these days that have moved from a hospital room to time at home so I can heal and recover. When I was lying in the hospital, not able to pray, the Spirit interceded through others, holding me and my family in prayer.

With sighs too deep for words, I give God thanks and praise for the Spirit’s interceding.

With sighs too deep for words, I am forever grateful for all who hold me in prayer when I simply can’t pray.

With sighs too deep for words, I give thanks that my prayer life has been restored in ways that I couldn’t possibly have imagined before December 6, 2022.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, how’s your prayer life??

Until next time, may Christ’s peace be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig


A Grateful Day Everyday

November 22, 2022

Grace and peace to you from our Savior and King, Jesus!

As followers of Jesus, we recently had the opportunity to celebrate Christ our King! In the United States, we will celebrate an interesting holiday known as Thanksgiving. At the center of both Christ the King Sunday and Thanksgiving Thursday, I believe gratitude or grateful are good words to guide these days.

I had the honor of being a guest in the home of a fellow brother in Christ recently. I always enjoy visits with this brother in Christ and always learn something from him that helps me grow in my relationship with God and my relationship with my neighbor as a follower of Jesus.

My brother has a daily practice that has become a more intentional part of my own faith journey since my visit. A daily expression of gratitude. He begins each day by offering gratitude – for the new day, for good rest, for conversation with friends, for the spider crawling on the window as the sun rose the morning we were together.

For my brother in Christ, being grateful is not something that he thinks about during Sunday worship or on a holiday we call Thanksgiving. It is a daily practice that encompasses all aspects of his life as a follower of Jesus.

During my visit, he introduced me to a group of God’s children who are part of something called Grateful Living. You can find out more about them here – They have a short video that will give you a wonderful introduction to what Grateful Living looks like – It’s well worth a few minutes of your time today.

Sisters and brothers in Christ, as we journey through this week of Thanksgiving, I invite you to think differently about what that might mean. What are you grateful for? Maybe you can take a moment to share what you are grateful for with your fellow sisters and brothers, or, if you are comfortable doing so, share it in the comments. I promise you, someone will be blessed by what you share!

Thanksgiving blessings to you this week, and always!

Until next time, may the peace of Christ be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig