Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
The beauty of the fall season is something to behold in Indiana and Kentucky! One of my German professors of years past was well traveled. He had been all over the world and seen many of the great sights. He even showed slides (some of you have never heard of slides) projected on a screen. However, he said the most beautiful place on earth was Brown County, Indiana in the fall! It is beautiful, but his comment made me realize we do not always see the beauty that is right around us: Always start with your Beautiful Savior! See the beauty of your spouse and children and thank God for them! Don't miss the beauty of the people you minister to daily - they are gifts from God! Take a look at the beauty of your place and space! Make your dwelling your home. Enjoy the beauty of your favorite music and art. As you look in the mirror give thanks for yourself!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
"The Indiana District's 'Outreach Kentucky' is finding a ripe harvest field in our own backyard," said Rev. Peter Cage, senior pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. "It is hard to believe that such a populous region, almost devoid of any familiarity with the proclamation of 'Christ for us,' could be located in our own patch of 'religious' middle-America. But, of course, this isn't the 1950s anymore and the arena of mission is no longer someplace else, but right here close," Cage said. St. Paul's Lutheran Church is one of several congregations across the Indiana District to step forward financially to support Outreach Kentucky. "As our congregation watched the recent 'Outreach Kentucky' video, we were struck by loss of the privileged place that the Church once had among us as we heard the sad voices of those living in the mess of our own American spiritual confusion. They are crying out. They need the clear Word of God's love in Jesus and the support of all our congregations," Cage said. To learn more about how your church or school could be involved with Outreach Kentucky, contact Rev. Geoff Robinson at the Indiana District office. Online gifts are being accepted, and an updated brochure is available for download.
Mr. Ron Bleke
Below is a memo concerning the new FSLA Overtime rules that will be effective 12/1/16 from Thompson Coburn LLP providing official guidance from the LCMS on this topic. This memo has been shared with the COP. You can download and read the official memo here. Specific questions on this topic should be directed to the office of Val Rhoden-Kimbrough, Executive Director, Synod HR at 314-996-1360.
Dr. Jon Mielke
The quality of schools is dependent upon the quality of the teachers that comprise that school, or better yet, the learning environment of that school. Whitaker (2004) promulgates two ways to improve a school is to either get better teachers or improve the teachers in the school. The Christian teachers embedding their Christian faith into their respective content areas in our Lutheran schools are what make our Lutheran schools great and personable. So often, school boards and administrators revert back to educational programs as an integral component for effecting change. Programs are good; however, programs are not the only means to enhance teaching and learning. By providing continual support to improve one’s pedagogical approaches and skills, administrators are also more likely to foster and cultivate a more effective and healthier learning community. So, as principals and teachers, these are a few things to consider as you lead and teach: Do you favor or observe a particular approach to teaching more so than another? All of you are familiar with different approaches to teach students – constructionists or traditionalists. Teachers, as traditionalists, are likely to accept more responsibility than the student to learn a particular concept, skill or procedure. On the other hand, teachers, as constructionists, are more likely to share responsibility for a learned endeavor. All of you have readily implemented both of those approaches. For example, teachers as constructionists are likely to afford students more open-ended activity and more responsibility for learning. Teachers, as traditionalists, are more likely to carve out time for discussion coupled with drill and practice. Ask yourselves, “Is there a balance between student-centered and teacher-centered instruction happening in your classrooms?”Both approaches are appropriate. Both approaches are effective. Both approaches engender good teaching. Effective teachers known when to oscillate between approaches to enhance the teaching and learning for students. Principals should observe for both and affirm when seeing both approaches used with balance. Where are you on the interventionists/path-gnomonic continuum of teaching? Rosenfeld and Rosenfeld (2008) report teachers possess a continuum of viewpoints about teaching and learning. Teachers, as interventionists, take a position that learning is a shared endeavor. Teachers, as interventionists, challenge themselves to critically reflect, adjust their instruction appropriately, and offer a medley of instructional strategies according to ability level and need. On the other hand, teachers resonating more with a path-gnomonic viewpoint ascribe learning to include a multitude of factors – student’s innate ability, motivation, study skills, or possibly parental influence. Ask yourself this question, “Do you have a tendency to project the lack of learning or lack of understanding or mastery back on the student.” The point is to be ready to recognize one’s thinking so as to adjust appropriately. As administrators and teachers, having an understanding about the two viewpoints can espouse more discussion and guidance after observation. Did you realize you hold epistemic beliefs about knowledge as well? How content is taught and learned varies according to teachers’ epistemological orientations toward that particular discipline (Gobbo & Giardi, 2002). One’s epistemic orientation further develops when one develops a deeper understanding of content and gains experience over time. Challenge yourself to balance your teaching between textbook to that of inquiry, investigation, and discovery. Whether you hold one belief or another or oscillate between beliefs about the content you teach is not what is important; rather, having an understanding about one’s epistemic orientation about their content is. As for teachers and administrators, having this understanding enables good discussion after observation as well as a baseline to think and act accordingly in your daily preparation and instruction. Are you teaching your students to defend their faith? The present culture continues to erode and dismiss the Biblical teachings that align with Scripture and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Jill Hasstadt, penned a written essay in Pedagogy of Faith: Essays on Lutheran Education, on radical relativism. Take time and be deliberate in your preparation and instruction to help students discuss and challenge using Biblical and Catechesis truths those worldly viewpoints, particularly challenging the idea of individual truth and morality. The meshing of one’s Christian faith is what distinctively separates instruction in a Lutheran school from another private or public setting. God’s Word is absolute truth; relativism proclaims no absolute truth, only individual truth. For more information, refer to Pedagogy of Faith: Essays on Lutheran Education. As administrators, affirm when you observe such practice. Conclusion: The putative contribution that teachers bring to their classrooms is an amalgamation of skill, Christian belief and practice, approach, or any combination of them on a daily basis. As you reflect on the four questions alone, with another colleague, or with your administrator, I would encourage you to be honest with yourself and provide yourself some constructive critique. I would further encourage you to delve a bit deeper into one of the resources provided below or ask to observe another colleague in their classroom. A collaborative spirit is likely to bring a different perspective or some additional insight into your preparation and teaching. Finally, give thanks to God for the students God has entrusted to you on a daily basis. We give thanks to God for Christian teachers and their repeated effort to keep the presence the Jesus in all that do and say. And, we give thanks to God for His continual grace, mercy and love for each of us, our students, and their families. Resources: Bull, Bernard. (2015). Pedagogy of Faith: Essays on Lutheran Education. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Rosenfeld, Melodie & Rosenfeld, Sherman. (2008). Developing effective teacher beliefs about learners: the role of sensitizing teachers to individual learning differences. Educational Psychology, 28(3), 245-272.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also go online to www.lcef.org. Applications Secured Loan Application Rostered Church Workers RCW Direct Housing RCW Consolidation RCW Home Equity