Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
This is a big week in our country! It is the Inauguration our newly elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. As with all elections some people are happy with the outcome and some are not. Some are hopeful and some are fearful. Yet we all know that no two presidents are the same and no president can please everyone. However listen to these 35 words, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." President Trump will be our 45 president (depending on how you count President Grover Cleveland who served non-consecutive terms). Generally this has gone rather smoothly and the transition from one president to the next has been a happy time for our nation. As Lutheran Christians we know about the "kingdom of the LEFT and the Kingdom of the RIGHT." We always pray for our elected leaders who have huge responsibilities in the kingdom of the LEFT (earthly matters) but the work of the Church is in the Kingdom of the RIGHT. The kingdom of the left will always change leaders with various elections, but Jesus is Lord of lords - forever. He never changes and He is our hope and salvation. So, as you watch the inauguration and listen to the oath of office, thank God for the nation we enjoy and pray for the new leadership our new president will bring to our nation and to the world!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The Word of God should unite us! St. Paul writes, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV) Strife and division in a congregation works mightily against evangelism and numerical growth of a congregation. What is the answer to strife in a congregation? The Word of God! Remember that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God not only to call us into the Christian faith, but also to give us a new heart, mind, desire and will to do the Will of God. When you are walking according to God’s Will you will be serving God and your neighbor above yourself. When you are serving others, you will be doing what Jesus exhorts us to be about. Namely, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)
Mr. Ron Bleke
A new “Legal Resources” page with links to some 31 documents is now available on the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s website. Those links are grouped under five tabs labeled “Church Administration,” “Facility Usage,” “Schools and Education,” “Sexual Misconduct” and “Other Topics.” The new webpage is offered to help LCMS churches and schools navigate those complex issues. The 31 resources include Protecting Your Ministry (From Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Lawsuits)— the downloadable manual the Synod developed in collaboration with Alliance Defending Freedom. Also included among the resources are policies; sample policies, agreements and letters; guidelines; published articles; and other information from the Synod, Concordia Publishing House, government agencies and others. Questions about the site or suggestions for additional resources may be directed to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer at email@example.com.
Dr. Jon Mielke
The start of a new year causes one to reflect and even anticipate what the upcoming year may bring. Reflection on those activities that were most memorable or eventful causes one to pause and remember. That anticipation for approaching activities, events, vacations, or for those well-thought out new resolutions for 2017 yet to come help brings about a sense of excitement and do occupy one’s thoughts. Some of the commercials during the past few days reflected on those memorable moments in 2016. Other commercials focused on things like wealth, health, and well-being. Purchase an investment seminar or product and improve one’s financial prowess and financial security. Invest in a particular diet product, like weight-watchers, Jenny Craig, or Nutrisystem, to shed those pounds gained during the holidays or just simply gained over time. Acquire a piece of exercising equipment or adhere to an exercising routine or program promoting quicker workouts and better results. There is nothing wrong at all about eating healthy and maintaining a healthy well-being. We certainly appreciate the value of a dollar and do put some away for a rainy day or even to make bigger purchases over time. Exercising, eating reasonable portions, and enjoying foods in moderation are important to maintain good health. With that being penned though, almost every commercial desired to couple one’s happiness and joy to temporal things – financial security, healthiness, and physical appearance. As Christians, the New Year should bring about for us those realizations that have stood the test of time! New hope gifted to us in our Baptisms and anchored in the Cross of Jesus Christ. New life secured in the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus. New joy brought forth by the grace, mercy, and love lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father. New peace and reconciliation for ourselves and each other because we know we are reconciled by the blood of Jesus, forgiven and restored people of God and heirs of His kingdom. As you begin 2017, focus not on oneself but on the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and give great thanks, praise, and honor for our gift of Christian partnership we have with each other and eternal life with Jesus, our Lord and Savior! May God grant you a blessed 2017! Dr. Jon Mielke, Superintendent of Lutheran Schools, Indiana District LCMS
Rev. Phillip Krupski
Each year we plan on giving gifts at Christmas. We get asked for the work place gift. We shop for the perfect gift for our loved ones. We spend a lot of time and money in December on gifts that are out of proportion to the rest of the year. We do all of this in celebration of the greatest gift ever given in our Heavenly Father sending His only begotten Son that in the flesh He would save us from our sins on the cross and in the resurrection. Yet despite all the gift giving, have you ever really thought about the fact that you cannot really give a gift? Ultimately, all things belong to our Father and are His to give. So in essence, we don’t really “give” gifts. We “transfer” them. As we engage in this transfer of blessings this year, consider gifts that also support ministry. If you are older than 70, you may have Required Minimum Distribution on a retirement account that you can use to support the Lord’s work, at the District or in your congregation. Using charitable rollover from your qualified retirement plans, you avoid paying taxes and maximize the greatest amount of gift transference. So for example, if you have $5,000 of RMD this year, and you take that distribution, you may very well owe $1,250 of income tax on it. But if you use that RMD for your support of ministry, you avoid the tax and instead of your gift being $3,750, you could give $5,000. Plus, you still receive your charitable deduction for the transference of the gift! Maybe you have appreciated stock and are afraid to cash it in because of capital gains tax. Maybe you have a piece of appreciated property that is costing you more in taxes than any value you receive from it. Again, these become great opportunities for “transferring the blessings”. If you need help, send me an email or give me call. God bless your Christmas as you celebrate Him as the true giver of every perfect gift! Learn more about LCMS Foundation Gift Planning by calling (317) 840-3202 or emailing Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Steve Strauch
Editor's Note: University Lutheran Church is on the move, heading to a new physical location by the fall of 2017, just in time to celebrate the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. A decision of this magnitude didn’t come lightly—or quickly. Here, Steve Strauch, district vice president of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, shares the moments leading up to the decision to vacate the aging Chauncey Hill location in favor of the highly visible Exponent building in the heart of Purdue’s campus. #ULuOnTheMove Since 2012, University Lutheran Church (ULu) knew they wanted to do something about their existing facility, which was in desperate need of updates and renovations. The district office took those concerns into consideration and worked with ULu on developing a solution. It was decided to add a new building addition to the existing Chauncey Hill structure. This decision, in turn, led to a capital campaign, with the benchmark of breaking ground for a new addition to the Chauncey Hill location in October of 2015, which we did. We planned to start building in March 2016. All was moving according to schedule, when I received a call in between Christmas 2015 and New Year’s Day 2016, asking if we would be interested in sell the property. This call absolutely came out of the blue. Of course, I told the broker we weren’t interested. “In fact,” I said, “your timing couldn’t be worse. We are getting ready to start building in March.” The broker asked if we would entertain a letter of intent. “Probably not,” was my reply. “You can send the letter, but it’s not going to happen.” Over the course of the next few weeks, the broker kept sending us communication. Finally I told them, “Look. The only way we would ever consider selling is if we could find a better facility closer to campus.” Little known to us, The Exponent was also looking for a solution for their facilities at the same time. They weren’t thinking of selling the building at first; instead, they were looking for lessees. We entered into a discussion with them, but it was multiple months before we could come to an agreement. Keep in mind that both parties in this discussion, LCMS and The Exponent, are non-profit organizations. We’re not really in the business of swapping properties, so it took us awhile to get to the table. Ultimately, the deciding factor to move the ULu ministry came down to this. For years, our campus ministry wasn’t on campus. True, we’ve been located in the heart of the village, but that location hasn’t helped us connect with students, particularly underclassmen who might not have access to off-campus transportation. The move to the former Exponent building means that we will be right there for people to touch and feel and understand what University Lutheran is, creating more contacts and greater visibility. This, in turn, will give us a more robust campus ministry. Now that we have come to an agreement, we are making steady progress toward the move. You can read more about the timeline for ULu relocation here. And be sure to check back often for regular updates on our progress as we meet milestones and march steadily toward project completion, resulting in a dynamic new space for ULu’s campus ministry.