Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
As the summer moves along you may be saying, "It's been a long hot summer and I am bored!" Or you may be saying, "this summer is flying by - I can't believe school starts in a few weeks!" Whichever it is for you, I hope you can get a little "hammock time" yet this summer. A nice cold drink, a shady spot and quiet spot can afford some great dreams. Dream a little about how you might grow in faith and service in your Christian life. God says through the prophet Joel, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." Joel 2:28 Do you have spiritual dreams for yourself or your family? How about for your congregation? We still have the freedom to dream - even dream big! See if you can catch a little "hammock time" during these "Dog Days." If you fall asleep and wake up without dreaming, you may need to learn to dream with your eyes open!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
Christian Evangelism can be a scary thing for many Christians. What should you say to a person? When should you talk of your faith in Christ? How do you gain permission to share your faith with others? These questions and more will be answered in the upcoming Evangelism Conference which will be held at Our Shepherd Lutheran in Avon, Indiana on September 9 and 10, 2016. Expert evangelists will share with you their thoughts on gaining a relationship with others so that you may confess Christ to them. Rather than wringing your hands in despair about the way that culture is changing, come to this conference and learn how to confess Christ to your friends, relatives, associates and neighbors! To view all the sectionals offered at this conference, view and download the brochure here. You will also find a registration form included with the brochure. More information about the conference schedule is included here as well. We invite you to share this conference with those at your church who may be interested in learning more.
Mr. Ron Bleke
This week, we received the following leadership letter from our friends at the Lutheran Federal Credit Union. They are ready to serve your family, church, and business. Open and Ready to Serve all Levels of LCMS TO OUR DISTRICT LEADERS: After a soft opening in 2015, Lutheran Federal Credit Union opened to all eligible members in first quarter 2016. With a robust product set now available, solutions are available for all types of entities, church members, school families and volunteers that are part of our community. ___________ We are reaching out to you today to share information that may be of value to your churches, schools and community of families and to notify you that we will be sharing information with all churches throughout your district in July. ___________ From the beginning, Lutheran FCU accounts have been designed to remove hassles and fees. In addition to an easy online member application and remote signature processes for signers, there are no monthly minimums or fees on many of the checking, plus we have highly attractive loan rates. What you end up with is easier banking in a friendly, personalized environment, where financial benefit is put exclusively back into the LCMS. “The products are designed to make it easier for our churches, entities and individuals to manage daily banking,” said Tom Buuck, President of Lutheran FCU. “Because we are directly chartered to serve the LCMS community, we are uniquely positioned to know our members and make it easier for them at every level.” For groups and individuals who may have believed credit unions are too small to handle big business, the landscape has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Lutheran FCU is on a highly scalable technology platform. From inception, Lutheran Federal Credit Union has been designed to be at the forefront of online banking, mobile banking, online and remote deposit capability and real-time settlement. Checking and online banking are seamlessly linked to Lutheran FCU loan accounts too, for simple monthly payment. “There has been a nationwide upward growth trend of credit unions since the banking debacle of 2008,” said Jane Dulle, Chief Operating Officer for Lutheran Federal Credit Union. Total deposits held in credit unions jumped by 49 percent over the past eight years alone, largely fueled by businesses and consumers moving to credit unions for better service and product structures. Lutheran Federal Credit Union is the only credit union solely dedicated to the LCMS community and has already started joining in outreach programs, such as sponsorship at the LCMS National Youth Gathering and various national and regional events. In addition, there are special products exclusively for Rostered Church Workers that offer added benefits…(Like free checks for life on your checking account!!). Districts, churches and schools have an important role in growing the credit union and broadening the ministry through opening personal or business accounts, originating or refinancing personal auto or home loans, including tuition loans, credit cards and other services. Every new member can make a difference in continuing the credit union theme of “Countless Blessings, Joyful Sharing.”
Dr. Jon Mielke
Christian teachers serve their students wholeheartedly. They serve Jesus with great joy and zeal. They do so because they love their students and Jesus dearly. And because of this love and devotion for Jesus, teachers seek to remain current in their content and Biblical knowledge. Sustaining and enhancing one’s acumen for Biblical and content knowledge means seeking opportunities to enrich both. Teachers strive to do so through a variety of ways – Bible study, worship, workshops, conferences, and classroom settings as well as through personal and professional reading and studying. As you continual to pursue your professional growth, you may want to consider the following. Content Knowledge: Having a deep understanding for the conceptual structures and nomenclature of one’s subject matter is paramount in being able to prepare and deliver excellent instruction. Teachers extend much effort, time, and energy to learn their content and how to present that content in different and meaningful ways. And, teachers utilize different instructional strategies that are age-appropriate which further brings about a deeper understanding for students. Reverting back to those ‘tried and true’ as well as adding a few more instructional strategies to your toolkit is good practice and keeps you fresh as a teacher. Pedagogical/Methodological Knowledge: In addition to instructing, teachers also manage the learning environment. Having a good grasp about pedagogical knowledge is important too. Pedagogical knowledge includes those general principals of classroom management, some understanding about child development, instructional strategies for teaching, and techniques for evaluating the learner. As teachers, we continually strive to sharpen our knowledge in this domain through professional development, through conversations with an experienced teacher or even possibly a teacher/mentor arrangement. Having a better understanding of pedagogical knowledge fosters a mindset that enables one to maintain a healthy ebb and flow between classroom organization and instruction. Pedagogical/Methodological Content Knowledge: Wow, that is a mouthful. But, having a solid understanding of pedagogical knowledge or content knowledge may or may not lead to a productive learning environment for students. Another integral piece is the transfer of that knowledge in meaningful and comprehensible ways for students. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is that continuous interplay between teachers’ thoughts (knowledge) and actions (technique) to employ the most powerful illustrations, examples, demonstrations, and presentations that brings about student understanding of content. Teachers’ ability to present content in meaningful ways differentiates teachers from other scholars, education from other scholarly professions and mediocre teaching from exceptional teaching (Shulman, 1987). Seymour and Lehrer (2006) give more information about (PCK) through a two-year longitudinal study tracking a teacher’s growth in (PCK) through observation, videotape, and interview. A strong understanding for (PCK) promotes a generative dialogue reported by Seymour and Lehrer (2006) that produces deeper teacher understanding for student misrepresentations and misunderstandings about content. This ability to recognize students’ misconceptions of content enables teachers to discern when conversations are facilitative or dysfunctional for a particular learner and a particular learning environment (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Fisher, Frey and Hite (2016) heighten one’s awareness by teasing out differences between students’ mistakes and errors. Awareness and understanding of this difference is pertinent for teachers as they monitor students’ learning and adjust their instruction accordingly. Students make mistakes and errors on their journey to master content frequently. Both mistakes and errors produce incorrect responses as we all know. After you pointed out a mistake to a student or students, you most likely have observed them take the appropriate action to fix their mistakes. Errors, on the other hand, are not as easily remedied as you probably have also experienced. The reason being is that students don’t always know what action to take or how to formulate a plan that will fix their error or errors. Fisher, Frey, and Hite (2016) give four examples of students’ errors in learning: Factual errors are errors that come about due to misunderstanding of content vocabulary; Procedural errors are errors that result from incorrect application of concepts; Transformational errors are errors occurring because one is incapable of applying new knowledge when appropriate or trying to apply this new knowledge when it is not appropriate; Misconceptions are errors that reinforce previous misunderstandings of learned material. Knowing the difference between student mistakes and errors as teachers and intervening where appropriate, not only enhances one’s pedagogical content knowledge, but further contributes toward rich, generative dialogue between teacher and students and leads toward a deeper understanding and mastery of content. Biblical Knowledge: We cannot lead or teach without being in God’s Word daily. Attending church and partaking in Holy Communion regularly enables the Holy Spirit the means to strengthen your faith and better equip you to be faithful servants for those entrusted to you. Devotional time with colleagues, chapel times with colleagues and students, and praying for and with students are integral to maintain and enhance your Christian relationships with one another. And by doing so, the Holy Spirit is present with you, strengthening your Christian faith and the Christian faith of those around you. Ervin Henkelmann (1984) speaks about responding to one another and our students with Christian love and care in his book, Feed My Lambs. Instruction in Lutheran schools is unique and different from other private and public schools for good reasons. You teach your students that God’s Word is infallible and absolute truth. You take time to strengthen your faith through worship and study, thus being equipped to keep the Good News of Jesus front and center for your students and the wisdom to direct your students back to the Cross of Jesus for forgiveness and heal. You know that your students are gifts from God, uniquely created in His image. You so beautifully discern when to confront wrongdoing and correct or bring the peace of the Gospel and forgive, and you teach your students how to do the same. As you take some time this summer to relax and read, may I suggest a few resources for professional and personal study. Technological pedagogical content knowledge: a framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Intentional and Targeted Teaching a Framework for Teacher Growth and Leadership. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Feed My Lambs. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House May God grant you a safe and peaceful summer!
Rev. Phillip Krupski
He is a simple man. All his life he has grown in faith and served the Lord with passion. Life has been full of challenges and blessings. As he approaches his retirement years, gift planning made sense. At first he thought his children could take care of his estate after he was gone, relieving him of the burden. But as he dove into the process and saw the opportunity to plan well, not only could he take care of his children better but he could also leave a six figure gift to ministry. Almost in tears he looked at me and said, “Who would have ever thought that I would be able to do all of this?” That is the stewardship journey I, as a gift planning counselor, have the privilege of sharing with God’s faithful people. Together we can discover God’s plan for your life as His grace shines through! Rev. Philip Krupski, Gift Planning Counselor
Mr. Steve Strauch
Attention Pastors! Are you paying more than 3.125% on an unsecured educational loan? The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has developed an educational loan repayment program to help LCMS ordained ministers successfully reduce their existing school debt. With loans directly to the pastor or to his congregation, LCEF can help meet this sometimes burdensome obligation. Two loan programs are available: Direct Pastoral Education Loan Repayment Program: This loan program is provided directly to the active LCMS pastor, normally in the first five years after seminary graduation. Loans up to $50,000. Terms are up to 10 Years. Congregation Pastoral Education Loan Repayment Program: This loan program is provided to the congregation who acts as the eligible borrower to provide support for an active ordained LCMS pastor, normally in the first 10 years after seminary graduation. Loans up to the amount of indebtedness, not to exceed $100,000. Funds may be drawn on for a maximum of two years, with interest billed monthly during the period. Both loan programs have the following features: Interest rates are based on LCEF’s Cost of Funds, plus 1%, adjusted annually. The interest rate is NOT based on credit score. Ability to consolidate outstanding unsecured loans for education purposes incurred during seminary tenure, such as: privately held student loans, loans from family, credit cards, etc. Loan funds are disbursed to creditors. LCEF has friendly, knowledgeable loan officers and service staff. Internet and automated telephone access to loan information. For more information about these loan programs, please contact Steve Strauch, LCEF District VP, at 765-464-4579 or email him at email@example.com. You may also go online to www.lcef.org. Applications Secured Loan Application Rostered Church Workers RCW Direct Housing RCW Consolidation RCW Home Equity