Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
The Church is the “Bride of Christ” of course, but it was my privilege to spend time with the brides of many our pastors in Greencastle, IN at the Katie Retreat for Pastors wives! Time was spent in Bible study, worship, fellowship and “crafty” projects! It was throughly enjoyable and a blessing to so many of the wives as time was spent in considering the first Lutheran parsonage (Martin and Katherine) and life in the parsonage today! There are of course joys and challenges to being in a parsonage (either church own or self-owned) but the key for the Luthers was their understanding of the partnership they shared in the Gospel! Katie and Luther were unique people with very specific gifts and talents! The gifts and talents were critical to the reformation and to life in the Luther family! It was the faith and love of Christ that held them together! Some people may think that’s the way it always is in the parsonage. Unrealistic and too romanticized you say? Martin and Katie would agree! People of God living under the same roof – what could be more heavenly? Martin proposed to Katie and they were married the next day. June 13, 1523 Their marriage was one of shared tenderness and joy as well as disappointment and sorrow. Their marriage did not always run smoothly; there were bumps, twists, and turns along the way. But in their nearly 21 years together as husband and wife, the two became one, each loving the other with intention, hospitality, grace, and devotion. As Luther himself once said, “There is no more lovely, charming, and friendly relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.” Martin and Katharina Luther had a good marriage and one that was lived out in the real world as it yours. It is a blessing to spend time with these woman of faith and to be encouraged by them! This is a treasure in the Indiana District and I thank the ladies who spend the time and energy planning this retreat – especially my beloved Judy! Planning is already underway for 2019!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The Indiana District received the following invitation from Mission USA. Dear partner in the Gospel: As you may know, a new online church-planting resource has been developed by LCMS Church Planting to serve the Lord’s Church. An email went out last week to workers and congregations in your circuit. Please encourage them to use this free resource. Of course, all church-planting activities are conducted through our congregations as they work with their districts. But it is our hope that the Mission Field: USA initiative, and this resource specifically, will act as a catalyst for reaching the least and the lost through new missions to new peoples in new places. The e-learning resource — the first of its kind in the LCMS — has been developed as a planning aid for future church planters and core groups. The four one-hour video and audio training modules give the necessary theological underpinnings of establishing a new Lutheran presence, while also providing a practical step-by-step approach to chartering a new congregation that is fully engaged in the community. We are also happy to assist mission developers through ongoing coaching. The United States is the third-largest mission field in the world. We pray that every LCMS congregation will consider how they can be part of Mission Field: USA, whether through helping to start a new mission nearby or by supporting a mission elsewhere in the U.S. In Christ, Rev. Dr. Steve Schave Director of LCMS Church Planting and LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission Reporter Online: ‘Mission Field: USA’ new online tool ‘first of its kind’ in LCMS
Mr. Ron Bleke
The benefits of regular financial reviews are well documented, however many churches and non-profits fail to take this needed step. The majority of small churches and non-profit organizations do not have the resources to hire an outside accounting firm or have members who are capable and willing to take on the responsibility of performing such a review. We have learned of a Fort Wayne couple, Chris and Julie Walda, both experienced accountants, who in their service to the Lord and the Church perform affordable financial reviews for churches and non-profits under their business name, Faithful Solutions. Their business focus has been in Northeast Indiana, but they are willing to travel to other areas of the District. For more information contact: Chris or Julie Walda 1625 Hawthorne Road Fort Wayne, IN 46802 Phone 260-249-7268 or 260-416-9248 Email: ChurchAudit@gmail.com Rev. Paul Shoemaker, Sr. Pastor at Emanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven, IN and member of the Indiana District Council for Congregational Resources expressed interest and his congregation contracted with the Walda’s for their services. Pastor Shoemaker had this to say about the experience. “The Board of Finance was wrestling with the same problem we have every year. Who can review our books? All the members with these skills already serve on Boards and Committees so there is a conflict of interest. We heard of a possible solution through Ron Bleke at the Indiana District, a married couple that does financial reviews as part of their service to the Lord and His Church. We contacted Chris and Julie Walda of Faithful Solutions and contracted them to do a financial review. What a blessing! For a modest fee they reviewed our books and practices and provided a written report of their findings with suggestions for improvement. We have already scheduled them for next year’s annual review.”
Dr. Jon Mielke
A Valentine’s Day Legacy Continues in Lutheran Schools In schools across the country, Valentine’s Day is little more than a chance for kids to exchange cards and eat candy hearts. But in some Lutheran schools, the day has taken on a new purpose: a chance to give generously to a worthy ministry project through a program started over fifty years ago. Arthur Amt, who served as the Indiana District’s superintendent, created Hearts for Jesus in the late 1950’s. It originated out of his desire for Valentine’s Day to have a different focus. “He had the idea from seeing Valentine’s Day celebrations,” says Arthur’s son, Phil Amt. “He wanted to counteract all the attention.” Mr. Amt named the program “Hearts for Jesus” and created an annual mission project that Lutheran schools could support through their offerings in February. To build excitement, he created an original filmstrip and record each year that was sent to Lutheran schools. As a result, students all across the country experienced Hearts for Jesus as they united in a mission project. The program still exists in Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Northern Illinois, and Ohio. In Michigan, the program has remained active since 1972 with over a million dollars raised. Today, each district decides which mission project to support. Phil Amt says his father would be proud of the legacy of Hearts for Jesus. “He’d be very pleased it’s still going on in a different way,” he says. “He would be awestruck by the technology that’s being used today to relay the message. It’s a real blessing and it speaks to the worthiness of the project.”
Rev. Phillip Krupski
“Thy Will Be Done.” We pray these words regularly in our use of the Lord’s Prayer. Our souls earnestly desire to live in God’s will, living by faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ and living to respond in faith with works of service. Yet if we be honest, we often segment our lives and the gifts we find in them. We easily ask God’s will for certain gifts. Other gifts we reserve from that domain, often claiming that things like “time” or “finances” belong to our own lordship. In reality, we have much praying to do, asking the Lord in His mercy to bend our wills so that we may walk in the plans He created for us before time began. In my work as Planned Giving Counselor for the LCMS Foundation here in Indiana, my privilege is to serve God’s stewards in helping them discern God’s will for the faithful stewardship of His gifts in their estates to care for family and provide for ministries close to their hearts. At the LCMS Foundation, we follow the “5 P’s” of Gift Planning. They are: Prayer, People, Property, Plans and Planners. Notice that the process begins with PRAYER. If you have been sitting on the sideline for a while, procrastinating about writing your plans down on paper, I would be privileged to work with you. Together we can PRAY and talk and struggle to discern the plan of God’s design. At completion of your plan, you will have the peace and joy of following Jesus as He bids us carry His cross to the world. Give me a call or email me and we can begin working together. I do not charge a fee, as the LCMS Foundation and Indiana District partner together to make my service to the saints possible. Let’s keep on praying, knowing that the Lord will continue to make His grace in Jesus evident to our souls. In Christ, Rev. Philip Krupski email@example.com|317-840-3202
Mr. Steve Strauch
Indiana District LCMS-Board of Directors Dear Board of Directors, Many of you are aware that LCEF has been going through many changes in the last year. These changes will continue for the next couple years. The primary changes are developing three regions, West, Central and East. These regions will oversee the LCEF programs in their respective areas. The primary goal is to bring more relevant assistance to the ministries within the regions. One size does not fit all, and the need to have a better resource model for all ministries to pull from is critical. LCEF has identified and selected me to lead the West Regional. I have accepted the position and have been making the transition to California for the past month. My office is in Orange County California. Alex and Morgan are enrolled in St. John’s Lutheran School in Orange California. We have purchased a house in Anaheim Hills California and our current home in Lafayette Indiana is scheduled to close on September 29. Lots of changes in a relatively short timeframe. Please keep us in your prayers. What happens to the LCEF Indiana District Program? Currently, I have been traveling back and forth between Indiana and California. I have connected with many congregations that are in the process of loans or future loans to let them know the change. I have brought over individuals from LCEF National, so there is no disconnect. Also, I have introduced Vanda Toner to a few ministries in Indiana. Vanda is the LCEF District Vice President for Northern Illinois District. During this transition, the Indiana District will post the position. I have had many qualified individuals inquire about the position. With Gods help, the LCEF program in Indiana will be in competent hands. The timeline appears to be 60 days. In the meantime, I will filter calls and quarterback the program to the right people. I am very grateful for the time I have spent in the Indiana District. It always amazes me when I look back and see the path God has put me on. Seven years have passed very quickly. I was very happy in the Indiana District. I was not seeking to leave. President May knows this as does the Executives in the District. After many months and lots of prayers, it became clear that God was calling me to this new position. For many of you, our paths will cross many times again. Blessings, Steve Strauch Regional Vice President – West Region Lutheran Church Extension Fund 26522 La Alameda, Ste 280 Mission Viejo, CA 26522