Hearts for Jesus

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.”