Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
The Easter Parade is Coming Soon! Yes, there's still more than a week of Lent. We look forward to Palm Sunday and Holy week and our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. All of these are vital to our spiritual journey towards Easter. We all wish that all of our members -- and those outside of the church -- would honor this whole journey, but we know that Easter morning will bring people we have not seen for a long time (and some we have never seen). How do we feel about that? We wish we would see them more often, but we are glad they are here on Easter. So we plan big! Great music, Easter décor, maybe a sunrise service and/or an Easter breakfast! And we do want to welcome them with the spirit and attitude reflected in the hymn, “Today Your Mercy Calls Us.”Today our Father calls us; His Holy Spirit waits; His blessed angels gather Around the heavenly gates. No question will be asked us, How often we have come; Although we oft have wandered, It is our Father’s home.Even those who rarely come and those who never come are welcome in our Father's house. This is something for us to think about! I am often asked by congregations how to re-engage inactive members. This Easter may be a great starting point for some of our in-actives. If a person has been away for a while it can be challenging to return – not knowing what people will say or how they will be welcomed. They are likely pretty fragile and tender. My encouragement is for all of our congregations to welcome any “wanderers” that may arrive at our church doors this Easter!
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
Are you an ordained or commissioned minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod? If so, be sure to download and read the 2017 edition of Taxes and Ministers Manual. This brochure is designed for ordained or commissioned minsters of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This brochure covers the IRS’s definition of minister, housing allowance, reporting income and expenses, paying federal and state taxes, social security taxes and tax-favored saving plans. Click here to open the LCMS Taxes and Ministers Manual.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org|317-840-3202
Mr. T.J. Mattick
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