Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. Pro 25:11-12 It is 4H time and 4H is pretty big in the Midwest! Most counties have 4H fairs with all kinds of 4H exhibits, cotton candy and modest carnival rides. It is a bigger deal in rural areas. Our family loved it and often took a number of projects to the fair (including dairy and swine). It was fun and it was quite competitive in St. Joseph County! When I was a youngster, we were allowed to sleep in the barns with our livestock during fair week! That probably doesn’t sound very appealing to most of you, but it was to us then. When the rides shut down and all the people leave, the fairground becomes a quietly eerie place. If you go to a county fair take note of the hard work represented in the various project and handsome livestock. If you see the 4Hers around give them a high five and tell them, “Nice work!” It will mean a lot! It also says a lot about you – you see, admire and respect the good work done by others. As we live out our lives a people redeemed in Jesus Christ we know the little things are not so little and often reveal much about what is inside of us. As “poor miserable sinners” we are all too aware of our need for forgiveness as well as our need for encouragement. A simple compliment can make a person’s day and lift up someone who has one kind of struggle or another. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Th_5:11 Back to the 4H fair. There is only one grand champion in each area. We raised Hampshire hogs and I entered every year for 10 years. Once I received a grand champion ribbon, but every year I received compliments from parents, family and friends who were intending to encourage me. It really helped! It was in my 9th year that I won! Encourage and build one another up in Christ! Go to a fair and have a giant Elephant Ear! To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! Prov.15:23
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The phrase “human care” may evoke many images in your mind. Human care includes helping those who have just experienced a disaster. In our district, we are blessed with men and women trained to be early responders who also become part of a team; hence the name Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT). They provide human care by going to disaster sites and helping people clean up, and restore and rebuild their homes. Human care also evokes images of life issues. All of us are called by God to promote and support the dignity and rights of unborn children, those who are handicapped and the aged. We have task forces in place that deal with senior adult ministry and the needs of the physically and mentally disabled in our Indiana District. We also try to help the impoverished and displaced. All of these things involve human care. There are 11 Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) in our district that deal with helping people in various ways. For example: Lutheran Life Villages is an RSO that provides “Aging Services, Chaplaincy Services, Children and Youth Services and Housing Support.” Lutheran Social Services, Inc. provides “Abuse Prevention/ Treatment, Adoption, Advocacy, Children and Youth Services, Counseling and Mental Health, Emergency Services, Information and Referral, Life Enrichment Services, Pregnancy Counseling, Addiction Prevention/Treatment and Trauma Intervention.” Hands of Mercy provides “Advocacy, Life Enrichment Services and Developmentally Disabled Services in South Sudan.” Human care is indeed important and it is something that we all should be involved in. Why is that so? Because Christians are people who live to serve God and others above themselves. The Rev. Dr. Jacob A.O. Preus III has aptly written: “Before God we are only passive and receptive. But before our fellow human beings, we are only active and giving. We live in the neighbor through love. Good works have nothing to do with our relationship of faith with God, but they have everything to do with our relationship of love with our fellow human beings. Our good works are irrelevant and even shameful before the perfection of Christ, but they are not only relevant, they are absolutely necessary before the needs of our neighbor. Thus, the Christian pours himself out and herself out in love for others and gives unstintingly in good works for the neighbor.” LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison reminds us that we have not done all that we should do as Christians if we simply show mercy to others without sharing with them the greatest news of all time. Harrison writes: “This fundamental truth of the Bible, that there is no salvation outside of faith in Christ and His merits, animates the church’s work for those in need. If this is not so, such work becomes merely secular, and may be performed by any entity in society.” Human care is how we show genuine love for others. But it is a rather hollow love if we don’t share with them the Savior, Jesus the Christ! Written by Rev. Geoff Robinson, Outreach Executive First published in the June / July 2017 edition of the Lutheran Witness
Mr. Ron Bleke
Looking for a free and joyous activity for your church with a whole-life stewardship emphasis? There are now three sets of materials are now available for downloading free from the District’s website. These programs from Stewardship Advisors are Scripturally-based, grace-centered, copy-ready, and contain everything your LCMS church will need: Bible studies, bulletin messages, commitment forms, daily devotions, flyers, worship helps, newsletter articles, letters, Powerpoint slides, and more. These study sets are available for your stewardship focus: "Disciples Living as Grace-Filled Stewards" (new for 2017) “Experiencing the Joy of Generosity” “Bearing Fruit for Jesus” You can print and use any materials from any or all three of these program material kits at no charge to your congregation. Help your members excel in the grace of giving with these user-friendly kits. Please note that these programs should only be used by LCMS congregations in the Indiana District as per our agreement with Stewardship Advisors. You can download the stewardship programs here.
Dr. Jon Mielke
Students at Lutheran South Unity School are learning what it means to live generously by taking the lead on a service project that will benefit school children in Liberia. Students are preparing a 40-foot shipping container, which will be filled with school supplies and used as a classroom when it arrives in Liberia. Despite financial challenges, the school remains outwardly focused, forging ahead with both local and global service projects, and continuing to impact students of all backgrounds and abilities. Lutheran South Unity School serves an ethnically diverse group of students who are excited to give back to the global community. With the phoenix as the school mascot—a mythical bird that rises from the ashes—students are reminded what it means to rise above circumstances and soar despite obstacles. "We try to ingrain in them, no matter how limited your resources, you need to help someone else,” Maurice King, Director of Development at LSUS, says. “No matter how bad you think you have it, there’s someone who has it worse. You have the capacity to give of your time and talent.” LSUS students are learning by doing. Students in grades five and six are painting the exterior of the shipping container in Liberian school colors, while other grades prepare the interior. The third phase of the project consists of filling the container with donated school supplies, books, desks, chairs, a door and two windows. Home Lumber in New Haven provided the wood resources for the interior conversion. Harris Corporation donated chairs and desks for the project. LSUS students are learning hands-on math lessons while working on the project, blending academic goals with life lessons about generosity and serving. Inspired by their phoenix mascot, students are learning about persistence, too. In the past, the school has struggled with ISTEP scores. Last year, though, LSUS students scored much better on the ISTEP — enough to earn their school a B in statewide grading. Testing data showed that students who had historically lagged behind their peers showed remarkable growth, and high-achieving students demonstrated strong proficiency. Persistence will be key to the school’s future. Currently under consequences for past ISTEP struggles, the school is currently unable to enroll new voucher students. School leaders are focusing on sustaining enrollment with voucher returning students, as well as assisting new students with private scholarships. “It all ties into what we’re trying to teach the kids. Some come from a background where resources aren’t as plentiful,” Mr. King adds. “We’re teaching them to use the time and talents we have, so we can be a blessing to someone else.” Once the container project is completed, the pre-fab classroom will be shipped to a Lutheran school in Liberia under the direction of Joe Boway, a Liberian-born Fort Wayne resident who is also a LSUS parent. Boway was instrumental in starting many Christian schools in Liberia, which now serve over 3,500 students. “Who would have thought our little school would take on a container project and help someone they’ll never see?” King adds. “Our kids can say, ‘I had a hand in being a blessing to someone on the other side of the globe.’”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-840-3202.
Mr. Steve Strauch
It’s official. After all the work leading up to the sale of ULu’s Chauncey Hill location and the purchase of the former Exponent building—now the University Lutheran Building—at 460 Northwestern Avenue, all that remained was signing more than a few official documents at two separate property closings. We are thrilled to announce that we were able to close on the property at Chauncey Hill on April 28 and at Northwestern Avenue on May 1—both without a hitch! Artist's rendering of concepts for the sanctuary at the new University Lutheran Church on Northwestern Avenue. Throughout the process, Steve Strauch, Lutheran Church Extension Fund district vice president, has seen the hand of God at work in multiple ways. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this is what we are supposed to be doing,” says Steve, who has felt that assurance at each step along the way. “Every time we got close to thinking it wouldn’t work out, or we thought we had encountered a problem we might not be able to step over,” says Steve, “a new opportunity opened up, and the deal became much better in our benefit.” For ULu pastor Justin Herman, the closings mark a change from a “what if” stage to an action phase. “We now have direction and can clearly think about the future that God has laid out before us,” says Pastor Herman. “Now we can begin to focus on how we can use the building. It’s a time when dreams can be shaped and formed.” From here, the relocation process is really picking up steam, with redevelopment construction beginning in June. Initial efforts will focus on the third-floor sanctuary, which will feature a modern look with completely custom-sculpted sanctuary furniture. “It will be very light and airy,” says Steve. “It’s designed to be very inviting and unique to the ULu ministry.” Stay tuned for more details about the sanctuary, along with construction updates, as #ULuOnTheMove progresses this summer.