Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
As we read from Exodus 36 we might marvel at the outpouring of generosity that Moses was experiencing when building the new sanctuary: “So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary." So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.” Exo 36:6-7 This seems amazing and we may wonder if such a thing could happen today. Actually it could and it does happen. We do hear of congregations that have an “oversubscription” to various mission efforts! It might be a building program, but not always. We see it at times of disaster relief or unusual local need. There are a host of “GoFundMe” and other such efforts that yield an abundant response. When something is really, really important to us and when we respond with a sacrificial faith the results can be way more than we expected! Sometimes people respond out of obligation or civic responsibility and at other times it is to a clear and obvious need. While these may be fruitful, a higher reason for response is because of a joyful and thankful heart! It is a joy to give a gift that you truly WANT to give! As we enjoy God’s generosity to us we often respond with generosity. St. John writes, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. I John 3:1-2 While God does not need “our” money it is good for us to learn, know and practice generosity in the response to His love for us! "Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God's family, the Church, in managing all of life and life's resources for God's purposes.". LCMS Definition of Stewardship.
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The Holy Spirit sanctifies us so that we are renewed in our spirit, will, attitude and desires. The Holy Spirit enables us to rise above our natural inclinations. The natural inclinations that we all have are inclinations of selfishness and self-centeredness. Godly stewardship is the opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness. The desire to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves is enabled in Christians as the Holy Spirit through the Word continues to bring about the desire to put others and their needs above oneself. The motivation for godly stewardship is a grateful response spurred on by the knowledge and understanding of what God has done for you. Jesus Christ our Savior gave His all in serving all sinners. Yes, He gave His all in serving you and me. Jesus was born under the Law, lived under the Law of God perfectly and died in obedience to that Law of God so that He might completely pay the price of your sins and give to you forgiveness of your sins and life everlasting. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to you to create faith in your hearts through the Gospel and to change you so that you are released from being a slave to self-centeredness. So how do we best serve God and our neighbors above ourselves? Well, certainly we serve those whom we know in our local congregation, in our neighborhoods and in our families. But could there sometimes be a bit of selfishness in what we do? More and more LCMS congregations are serving only locally or supporting only those missions that they determine are valuable to them. Serving others through financially supporting districts and synod is falling by the wayside. Could this be due to a lack of properly motivated stewardship? This is perhaps the result of thinking that LCMS leadership has not always handled mission dollars judiciously or it might be due to the LCMS leadership supporting some effort that you disagree with. Nevertheless, the leadership of the LCMS has been placed in their positions of oversight by God’s direction. Realize that God is blessing us at this time with an economic boon in our country. Praise God that unemployment is low and job opportunities are good. Praise God that by God’s grace there are many areas of opportunity to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves. For example there are at least twenty foreign countries who have asked the LCMS to send them theological educators. But the educators haven’t been sent due to lack of resources. Remember that we Christians live in community. Our vision isn’t simply focused on the local or only far away but on the whole “Una Sancta” that is the whole Christian Church. God grant us the determination that since we are all through faith in Christ part of the catholic (universal) Christian Church our stewardship of talent and treasure be offered up to God and all of our neighbors. Not just a select few. Rev. Geoffrey L. Robinson
Mr. Ron Bleke
Church Mutual offers live quarterly risk management webinars on important topics to help our customers protect their property and their people. All previousl recorded presentations are archieved on the Church Mutual website. These websinars are on several important topics to help congregations and schools protect their property and their people and they can be viewed at any time. Some webinars include: Social Media: Best Practices for Congregations and Teen Ministries Preventing Fraud and Embezzlement at Your Worship Center Key Liability Risks for Religious Organizations Learn How Severe Weather Preparedness Planning Can Protect Your Grounds, Property and People Faith and Law: Understanding Same-Sex Marriage and Transgender Law Armed Intruders: How to Spot the Warnings, Handling an Intruder, and Communicating during a Crisis View all webinars and other safety resources here.
Dr. Jon Mielke
If you were to ask parents why they have chosen a Lutheran school, you most likely would receive answers such as: “I am seeking a school that is safe”; or, “I am looking for a school that has small class sizes”; or, I am seeking a school that provides academic rigor.” Anecdotal data, like that provided, provides opportunity for Christian educators to teach God’s Word to those who may be familiar with Scripture or may be hearing about Jesus for the first time. Christian principals and teachers have begun or will soon begin another academic year. For whatever reason or reasons parents in your school have chosen to enroll their child or children, you now have opportunity: to teach young adults and children a variety of subject matter, thus equipping and helping each of them to grow intellectually; you also have great opportunity to teach about Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord and Savior, thus helping your students grow in a personal relationship with their Savior. The Indiana District is comprised of Lutheran schools with different historical beginnings. All will begin the 2017 academic year during the 500th celebration of the Reformation. Churches and schools have activities planned throughout the year to celebrate and rejoice together the 500th year of the Reformation. For others, 2017 may begin with events planned at different times to celebrate a milestone year of Christian instruction for church and school as well as the 500th Reformation. For one, Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary is a new school start. What a great time our Lord has chosen to work through various Christian people – during the 500th year of the Reformation - to begin a Lutheran/Christian school in Gary, Indiana. Ascension Lutheran Christian School begins with sixteen (16) students in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade. For many, if not all, this will be their first opportunity to learn about Jesus. The 500th Reformation is still all about Jesus. Our Lutheran schools consistently and deliberately have kept Christ as their cornerstone in all that we do. Ascension Lutheran Christian School as do all Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District and LCMS exist so Christian teachers and students can interact through Christian instruction providing the Holy Spirit that means to strengthen the faith of students. How is this accomplished? Christian teachers are intentional about planning and creating learning experiences that interpose God’s left and right-hand kingdoms. Lessons about creation, exodus, flood, incarnation of Christ, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, Paul’s journeys, history of the Israelites, the early church in Acts, and work of the early Apostles meshed with and taught with curricular content creates a learning environment by which the Holy Spirit strengthens the faith of students. Academic rigor coupled with God’s Word provides spiritual, social, and intellectual growth. And by doing so, that instruction brings about a learning experience for a life “worthy of calling” to which we have been called (Ephesians 4:1-5). Christian teachers are so skilled at discerning which approach, which high-yield strategies, and which questions to ask and when to ask do pique student interest and thought. Christian instruction is not merely an add-on extra. This Christian task of didactics, the pedagogy of teaching Law and Gospel ministry, is a ministry of the church and not merely a rehash of public or private education in our Lutheran schools. Students are taught Christ is life itself and life abundant now and forever (John 10:10). The same Word that is present and powerful in our public preaching and the Sacraments is this same Word entangled with curricular content in the classroom. Why is this important? Lutheran schools exist for the good of the congregation and for the community being served. The sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit – calls, gathers, enlightens, and keeps us in that One, True faith – is happening as God’s Word is being taught. The Christian teacher’s lesson is prepared in effort to strengthen the Christian faith of students, to equip young adults and students to be blessings to their parents, to prepare joyful servants in the church, and worthy Christian citizens now and in the future. The Christian motives and convictions of Christian teachers make the education personable and unique. What blessings given to children and families even though parents may or may not be choosing a Lutheran school for that Christian purpose. By doing so, the academic progress of students is coupled with the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to create a learning culture for students that encourages and affirms students to use their intellectual talents and their ethical and moral decision-making skills now and in the future well. In a culture that pursues and encourages relativism, Lutheran schools are counter-cultural – proclaiming the only way to the Father is through His One and Only Son. Young adults and children are re-assured that their identity is rooted in the Cross of Christ, God’s Word is absolute truth and infallible, and salvation is for all believers in Jesus – life now and life abundant forever. We give thanks to God for Ordained and Commissioned Ministers of the Gospel! We give thanks to God for Lutheran schools! We give thanks to Lutheran congregations who give of their time, talents, and treasures to sustain and celebrate Christian education! We give thanks to God for the partnership we have with each other (Philippians 1:4-6) and with the partnership we enjoy our heavenly Father because of Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension! It is our prayer that God grant a most blessed and memorable start to your 2017 school year! Dr. Jon Mielke
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
Time lapse video of new sanctuary construction. Upcoming events welcome students and highlight new building University Lutheran Church is gearing up for a full month of activities in preparation for students’ arrival to Purdue’s campus. Renovations are nearing completion at the church’s new location on Northwestern Avenue. On August 6, University Lutheran began meeting for worship services at the Lutheran fraternity, Beta Sigma Psi, 525 N. University St. The church will continue to collaborate with Beta Sigma Psi throughout August, moving outside for worship and a cookout on August 20. On August 27, they will meet under the tent again, holding a student picnic after service with inflatables, a dunk tank, and music. During the University’s Gold Rush Week, ULu will promote their new ministry space, building anticipation and attracting interest for their grand opening on Northwestern Avenue later this fall. University Lutheran has been making steady progress on the move since the April 28 sale of the Chauncey Hill property and purchase of the former Exponent building at 460 Northwestern Avenue; a centrally-located building in the heart of Purdue’s campus. With summer renovation projects in full swing, University Lutheran is moving rapidly ahead with plans for the grand opening this fall, in time for the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. The new three-story location with basement provides better visibility, easier access, and more student-centered gathering spaces. Located across the street from the Purdue Engineering Mall, the location includes a new sanctuary for the congregation on the third floor, as well as space for a future coffee house and study center on the ground floor. The projected date for opening their new sanctuary is tentatively September 24. The transition to a new building may have seemed unimaginable a few years ago, but God knew what the future held for University Lutheran. By relocating to a modern space in the heart of campus, God is doing immeasurably more than anyone could have imagined for student outreach—an idea that is highlighted in the congregation’s theme verse, Ephesians 3:20–21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” We appreciate your continued prayers as University Lutheran completes their sanctuary renovation and begins this next exciting chapter of ministry.