Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
Knowledge is great and wisdom is essential! Fallen though we are we are called upon on a regular basis to make decisions! Some are relatively simple and not of long-lasting impact. What to order for lunch? Brown or black shoes today? Toll road or freeway? Other decisions relating to our work, family or future are often tougher and with greater impact. We try to be wise, thoughtful and careful. We would like to be as wise as Solomon, "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore." 1 Ki 4:29 Today your Indiana District Board of Directors is having its September meeting. Their agenda often calls for them to make decisions - careful, prayerful decisions! The Board of Directors is elected at the District Convention to think about things, investigate things, discuss and debate issues as they arise in the district and make decisions. You may have such a responsibility in your congregation or community. Often these decisions are not so easy and you know that you can and will be "second guessed." Martin Luther observed, "Councils can err" and that is true of course. Infallibility belongs to God alone. Yet, in order to do things decently and in order we are called upon to make wise decisions. For us, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise." Psa 111:10 If you are a "decider" in your home, work or church, pray for wisdom and pray for others to whom the responsibility of being a "decider" belong!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The District's new Outreach Kentucky video emphasizes the importance of reaching the next generation with the truth of the Gospel, says Rev. Mark Wood, Director of the Witness and Outreach Ministry for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. “As people become more aware of the challenges that we face as an aging church body, many in the LCMS are wondering ‘How do we reach young people with the Gospel?’" Wood said. "This video shares an answer to this question that goes beyond one college in one town while reminding us that reaching a generation of Americans who are disconnected from Christ and His Church starts with doing something somewhere.” The video was filmed in Richmond, Kentucky, where Census data shows 61% of residents are religiously unaffilated. Video producers asked college students and local residents probing questions about faith, church, and Jesus Christ. Click here to watch the video and learn more about Outreach Kentucky.
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
Effective teaching is not the result of teachers knowing their subject matter well or having a broad knowledge about pedagogical practice alone. Having an understanding about content and practice certainly enhances the instructional process; however these are not the only factors that contribute toward effective teaching, student learning and achievement. As Hashweh (2005) suggests, teachers also bring their values and beliefs which are intertwined with their subject and pedagogical knowledge. There is good research to suggest that teachers’ beliefs about taught content, or education in general, become powerful filters through which a plethora of instructional judgments and decisions follow (Shavelson, 1983; Chen, 2008). After gaining knowledge about a particular strategy, concept, or educational approach, teachers are free to believe or disbelieve, accept or deny, dismiss or impart such information or plan or not plan a strategy or approach into their lesson preparation. In other words, teachers possess personal, epistemic assumptions about the nature of knowledge, educational beliefs, theoretical constructs about teaching in general, and religious beliefs that impact and influence teaching and learning. Research reports that teachers’ personal, epistemic, pedagogical, and religious beliefs impact how other disciplines are taught and learned too. Rupley and Logan (1984) denote causal relationships between teachers’ philosophical beliefs about reading literacy and the instruction offered to students in their classrooms. Teachers who carve out more instructional time to teach phonics believe phonemic discourse and phonetic skills are integral for reading literacy whereas teachers who espouse a whole-language belief will set aside more time to teach students to derive meaning from words using different types of reading strategies. Cady, Meier, and Lubinski (2006) report beliefs influence the teaching of mathematics. For instance, some teachers may or may not spend as much classroom time on the memorization of mathematical formulas or may or may not provide more opportunity for their students to explore different solutions to the same problem as might others. Teachers truly believe that technological content and knowledge is a relevant component for twenty-first century learners. Teachers further believe technological skills enhance learning and provide students a more efficient means to solve problems and complete tasks. Yet, even when school districts make available computers and software packages to students, teachers use technology in superficial ways unless the technology is beneficial to students and improve teaching (Chen & Chen, 2009; Albion & Ertmer, 2002). The reality is the beliefs that teachers are exposed to become salient qualifiers and influence their observed behavior. What about the teaching of creation and evolution? Student textbooks embed untruths about the age of the earth and the origin of life. Yet, Christian teachers are compelled to bring into their lessons their Christian faith and expose such misinformation and deception. And this is so because teachers’ Christian beliefs underpin the type of instruction offered to students. And, teachers modeling and teaching their students about their Christian faith remains steadfast even in the presence of external persuasion, cultural distraction, confrontation, or even persecution. Why is this so? Christian teachers believe and teach God’s Word as absolute truth. We (Body of Christian Believers) give thanks to God for Christian teachers and Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District and LCMS. Lutheran schools are great places to grow because Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our instruction and activity. Christian teachers in our Lutheran schools, providing that Christian instruction, enable the Holy Spirit to work through that Biblical instruction to strengthen the faith of young adults, children and families. Our beliefs are rooted in the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – Three in One. A Christian teacher’s propensity to deliver instruction is rooted in their Christian beliefs and impervious to change. As a result of their conviction to teach these Biblical truths, students in our Lutheran Schools receive God’s grace, mercy and love every day. That grace, mercy and love is revealed in a kind word, friendly greeting, or redirection back to the Cross of Jesus for calm and heal. Teachers believe instructing children in a Christian environment engenders quality instruction. Furthermore, teachers in our Lutheran schools realize that faith development must become a way of life, ensconced in one’s actions, and not limited to an instructional period that happens sometime during the instructional day. Below are eleven themes/indicators of effective instruction identified by Christian teachers in LCMS districts contiguous to the Indiana District as well as the Indiana District. Integrate one’s faith into their teaching Reflective evaluator Differentiate according to student need and ability Maintain a safe and positive learning environment All students can learn Engage students in the learning process Inspire students to want to learn Integrate technology into one’s teaching Prepare students to be upstanding citizens A competence to communicate to constituents Build relationships with students In closing, the teaching of one’s faith separates faith-based schools from private and public institutions. The integration of one’s faith is of particular interest to all of us as we, together, provide the best possible Christian instruction for our students. May God continue to bless your ministry and the ministry of the Indiana District! Jon Mielke
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