Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 1 CO 12:13 The Fall season is underway! Hopefully we are all ready and underway. Teachers are well into the school year and pastors are focusing on Reformation, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas! Today I want to put in a good word for planning. The more complete and detailed our planning the more smoothly things are likely to run, the greater involvement you will have from members, the less you will be doing at the last minute and whatever you do will be done well – decently and in order! You have likely heard about “I Love to Tell the Story”! This is a stewardship Initiative under the direction of Ron Bleke. It is designed to lead us to understand and appreciate how we as individuals, congregations and a district work together in a partnership based on sharing the Good News of the Gospel! Together we do what we cannot do all by ourselves. A big part of our planning in the District Office is committed to doing a better job of telling the stories that is the fabric of our ministry in Indiana and Northern Kentucky! It is hard for our church workers to hear, remember and share the plans of our district work. Think how hard it is for the person in the pew who may hear scarcely little about all that is going on between Lexington and Gary and all the places in between! We do have the electronic media, web, etc., The staff does try to do this when we are on the road and we report at a lot of meetings, but still the “District” remains a mystery to many people! The “District” of course is you and the place (Congregation/school/RSO. Etc.) Local schedules are often packed to the hilt with congregational and school activities. Worship times are for worship and bulletins have limited space and bulletin boards are often unnoticed and unattended too. How about planning a District Sunday with your Bible Class? (Not the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s or Memorial Day or the 4th of July please). When do you share materials and stories about what is happening in the Indiana District and through the District? Hearing you speak about what it means to “Walk Together” as a district and synod will mean a lot! Do your people know what a Circuit Visitor is? How about a regional VP or who is in the District Staff or what in the world they do? How about Synod leaders, LWML. LHM LCFS, LCEF, district and synod conventions, conferences, etc.? How many of our universities and seminaries can they name? Does it really matter if they know? "Church is where I go to worship. I don’t need to know anything else!” On one level that may seem to be true, but as kids grow up and move they are often quite uninformed about the church at large. They don't sense they are part of a bigger picture than the local congregation. When it comes to stewardship it all is pretty local! What does this have to do with Planning? If we don’t plan and prepare to share we probably will never get around to it. You could tie it in to the Reformation, Thanksgiving, budget planning, Fall stewardship effort etc. I hope you can find some time to do that this fall. We have stuff to help you! I think a lot of people will be amazed! There are many resources on our website. Our congregational profile is one of them. The best way to find things on our website is to do a search on a keyword. If you don't find what you are looking for please give us a call or email us. We will be happy to help in anyway possible.
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The Holy Spirit sanctifies us so that we are renewed in our spirit, will, attitude and desires. The Holy Spirit enables us to rise above our natural inclinations. The natural inclinations that we all have are inclinations of selfishness and self-centeredness. Godly stewardship is the opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness. The desire to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves is enabled in Christians as the Holy Spirit through the Word continues to bring about the desire to put others and their needs above oneself. The motivation for godly stewardship is a grateful response spurred on by the knowledge and understanding of what God has done for you. Jesus Christ our Savior gave His all in serving all sinners. Yes, He gave His all in serving you and me. Jesus was born under the Law, lived under the Law of God perfectly and died in obedience to that Law of God so that He might completely pay the price of your sins and give to you forgiveness of your sins and life everlasting. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to you to create faith in your hearts through the Gospel and to change you so that you are released from being a slave to self-centeredness. So how do we best serve God and our neighbors above ourselves? Well, certainly we serve those whom we know in our local congregation, in our neighborhoods and in our families. But could there sometimes be a bit of selfishness in what we do? More and more LCMS congregations are serving only locally or supporting only those missions that they determine are valuable to them. Serving others through financially supporting districts and synod is falling by the wayside. Could this be due to a lack of properly motivated stewardship? This is perhaps the result of thinking that LCMS leadership has not always handled mission dollars judiciously or it might be due to the LCMS leadership supporting some effort that you disagree with. Nevertheless, the leadership of the LCMS has been placed in their positions of oversight by God’s direction. Realize that God is blessing us at this time with an economic boon in our country. Praise God that unemployment is low and job opportunities are good. Praise God that by God’s grace there are many areas of opportunity to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves. For example there are at least twenty foreign countries who have asked the LCMS to send them theological educators. But the educators haven’t been sent due to lack of resources. Remember that we Christians live in community. Our vision isn’t simply focused on the local or only far away but on the whole “Una Sancta” that is the whole Christian Church. God grant us the determination that since we are all through faith in Christ part of the catholic (universal) Christian Church our stewardship of talent and treasure be offered up to God and all of our neighbors. Not just a select few. Rev. Geoffrey L. Robinson
Mr. Ron Bleke
To All Indiana District Congregations: I am pleased to report that the first Church Mutual Group Safety Dividend Program checks have been mailed. Our Church Mutual / Indiana District Group Safety Dividend Program was established in 2014. The objective in establishing this program was to provide our churches and schools with a more stable and affordable insurance program with the added benefit of a financial incentive for operating safely. All Indiana District congregations that were insured with Church Mutual at that time were automatically included in our group program and will receive their share of annual declared dividends which are based on overall group loss ratios. Because claims experience was good, the total group dividend that was earned and paid for the 2014 period was $17,400. Checks were mailed recently for your specific share which is based on your property and liability premiums for that period. Looking ahead, our group loss ratios in 2015 were even better than 2014, so we are anticipating receipt of larger dividend payment next year. As a participant in the Indiana District Group Program, your benefits go beyond the dividend payment noted above. Following are some of the other benefits of the program: A special 5% premium credit is applied to your Church Mutual multiperil insurance policy. Risk management materials are available. Including various legal forms and documents. All at no cost to our members. If you have a question or are looking for guidance the Risk control research center is a great resource. Just connect with the consultants and let them do the research for you. This service is available to all of our District affiliated organizations, not just those insured with the group program. Sensor program is available to qualified customers. Free 24/7 temperature and water sensor monitoring kits available. Trusted employee is a background screening and administrative services organization. (With reduced pricing for those in our group insured with Church Mutual.) Seminars provided. Nurse hotline. To help your employees triage their injury. Free webinars available on a multitude of subject matters including “Understanding same-sex Marriage and transgender law.” If you are evaluating your insurance program and not currently insured through Church Mutual contact Don Inglis to learn more about the potential savings and benefits for your congregation. You can reach him by calling 800-554- 2642 - select option 1 and ask to speak with Don Inglis, call his cell phone (317) 502-0493, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God’s Blessings, Ron Bleke
Dr. Jon Mielke
Lutheran education returns to Gary, Indiana On August 16th, Ascension Lutheran Christian School opened their doors to students for the school’s inaugural day. The new school, located at 1150 W. 49th Ave. in Gary, serves children K–2nd grade with plans to expand grade levels in the future. They held an opening service in the sanctuary, installing staff members Dr. Sue Zientara, principal; Hollye Blossom, first and second grade teacher; Marissa Mongold, kindergarten teacher; and Benita Nicks, office administrator. Several years ago, the Indiana District LCMS saw a need for a school in Gary and set out to rally support for Ascension. The school is located at Our Savior Lutheran Church, which was home to the former Gary Lutheran School. The school is operated by LUMIN (Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative) and The Lutheran School Corporation of Indiana is the fiscal agent for the school. Special guest speakers for the opening service included Rev. Delwyn Campbell, Strategic Mission Developer for Gary; Rev. John Albers, President of the Lutheran School Corporation of Indiana; Dr. Jon Mielke, Executive Counselor for Christian Education; and Richard Laabs, President of LUMIN Schools. Other guests included Rev. Rick Boshoven, Pastoral Advisor to Ascension and a member of the board of directors and Maria Wartgow, Director of Human Resources for LUMIN. The school initially planned to open during the 2016–17 school year, but postponed to reorient their focus, bolster their enrollment, and implement a more robust community outreach. “It’s a school for the entire Gary community,” says Rev. John Albers, President of the Lutheran School Corporation of Indiana. “Its mission is to lift up the city and the people of Gary.” With the help of Rev. Delwyn Campbell, Strategic Mission Developer for Gary, whose presence has “energized the school” according to Albers, Ascension is now more prepared to serve the community this school year. Before opening their doors, staff members, including Principal Sue Zientara, traveled to Milwaukee for two days of professional development with LUMIN Schools. LUMIN, a recognized expert in operating successful urban schools, operates six schools in urban neighborhoods, all in southeast Wisconsin. The building has undergone a number of improvements, but the need for funds is ongoing in order to complete upgrades and to add classrooms for new grades next year. In addition, they have raised approximately half the funds for their first year of operations, but need to raise support for the other half of the operating budget. “Because we’re serving in an under-resourced community, the families we serve are not able to pay significant tuition,” Rev. Albers adds. “Long-term funding will rely heavily on the Indiana Choice Scholarship, but there will always be a gap.” The school is hoping to enroll 30 students this year in kindergarten through second grade. Because late enrollment is common in Gary, the school is moving forward in faith, making plans for future grades and building on the strong educational foundation that the LCMS schools are known for. “This first year is going to be a work in progress. But we’ve made our plans and we’re going out in faith,” Albers adds. “We need Christ-centered, high-quality education as a means to share the Gospel. The LCMS does this well. Because of that, let’s reach a city that desperately needs that good news!”
Rev. Phillip Krupski
We pray to the Lord, asking Him to bless our lives with the outflow of His grace. It all centers in what He has given us in His Son Jesus. From that flows all the other things that enrich our daily experience. So we have prayed for our economy. If you have invested in the stock market, you may very well have had huge gains during the past years. You talk with your tax advisor who advises that if you sell that stock, you will have a big tax bill to pay on the capital gains. It has now become a sizable asset that you will never be “able” to use. What do you do? You could consider a Charitable Gift Annuity with the LCMS Foundation. You “gift” the asset to an LCMS ministry of your choice, such as the Indiana District, your congregation, a seminary, Worship for Shut-Ins, etc. The ministry will pay no tax on the gift. You will receive a charitable deduction for a portion of the gift. And the gift will produce a guaranteed annual income payout to you for life. When the Lord calls you home, the ministry will benefit. As we think about outreach and mission, we can contemplate the gifts of the Lord and put them to use in support of ministry, that generations after us will come to know Jesus for their salvation. If I can help you joyfully manage the Lord’s gifts, contact me at email@example.com or 317-840-3202.
Mr. Steve Strauch
Time lapse video of new sanctuary construction. Upcoming events welcome students and highlight new building University Lutheran Church is gearing up for a full month of activities in preparation for students’ arrival to Purdue’s campus. Renovations are nearing completion at the church’s new location on Northwestern Avenue. On August 6, University Lutheran began meeting for worship services at the Lutheran fraternity, Beta Sigma Psi, 525 N. University St. The church will continue to collaborate with Beta Sigma Psi throughout August, moving outside for worship and a cookout on August 20. On August 27, they will meet under the tent again, holding a student picnic after service with inflatables, a dunk tank, and music. During the University’s Gold Rush Week, ULu will promote their new ministry space, building anticipation and attracting interest for their grand opening on Northwestern Avenue later this fall. University Lutheran has been making steady progress on the move since the April 28 sale of the Chauncey Hill property and purchase of the former Exponent building at 460 Northwestern Avenue; a centrally-located building in the heart of Purdue’s campus. With summer renovation projects in full swing, University Lutheran is moving rapidly ahead with plans for the grand opening this fall, in time for the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. The new three-story location with basement provides better visibility, easier access, and more student-centered gathering spaces. Located across the street from the Purdue Engineering Mall, the location includes a new sanctuary for the congregation on the third floor, as well as space for a future coffee house and study center on the ground floor. The projected date for opening their new sanctuary is tentatively September 24. The transition to a new building may have seemed unimaginable a few years ago, but God knew what the future held for University Lutheran. By relocating to a modern space in the heart of campus, God is doing immeasurably more than anyone could have imagined for student outreach—an idea that is highlighted in the congregation’s theme verse, Ephesians 3:20–21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” We appreciate your continued prayers as University Lutheran completes their sanctuary renovation and begins this next exciting chapter of ministry.