What a blessing you are to God’s church and the Indiana District:
Greetings to you each of you in the name of Jesus, our Risen Lord and Savior! God’s great peace through His Son is yours today.
We (Amy and I) celebrate with you as you begin to close out another academic year. Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District, including the northern portions of Kentucky, offer students outstanding Christian instruction. Teachers continually strive for excellence in their instruction as well as the curricular content prepared and offered to their students on a regular basis.
It is with great joy that we have a tremendous partnership together. It is with great peace that we also have that same partnership with our heavenly Father because of Jesus’ death and resurrection for all believers. I pen these concluding thoughts to recognize and affirm your marvelous effort to teach young adults and children about their Lord and Savior.
When one chooses to serve the church, or to instruct adults or children in a God-fearing manor, the reason is not for wealth or fame; rather, that decision is made in prayer and continued with a life-long yearning for growth in two areas: professional and spiritual.
Teachers in our Lutheran schools are indeed very professional. Professional is just what it implies – growth in the profession of teaching. Your academic training has equipped you to know what is best in pedagogy and curriculum, child psychology and development as well as planning and assessment for the students entrusted to you. You strive to remain current in those areas through conferences, workshops, and additional course work. You readily seek to maintain a positive relationship with colleagues, parents, and students through written and oral communication. You give 100% of your effort to your Christian vocation in grateful response for God’s grace, mercy and love shown to you.
Spiritual embodies our growth in faithfulness. Christian educators in our 100 Lutheran schools commit and vow to grow in Lutheran doctrine and ministry. How wonderful that is as this doctrine is built on the solid foundation of God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions – an expectation of all teaching ministries. As Paul teaches, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). The Christian faith continues to strengthen as you attend worship, partake in Holy Communion, attend Bible studies, confess your sins, receive absolution, and give thanks and praise with all believers.
A Builder of Christian Community with Parent(s) and Child(ren)
You most certainly are a builder among other Christians. The apostle Paul talks to the people of Philippi regarding relationships: “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4-6).
Parents have that primary responsibility from God to bring their children up in that Christian faith. Proper relationships among parents, students, and teachers grow from mutual understanding of and respect for the roles God has assigned.
Parents demonstrate a supreme conferral of trust when they place their children into the hands of their child’s teacher. You, in return, continually earn that trust by treating your students with respect, love, and care while investing yourselves in the lives of your students as God’s representative. Out of respect and love for each other, we pray for each other and nurture a spirit of cooperation and helpfulness. When this happens, the Holy Spirit works within and among all of us to strengthen that Christian community.
Sowers of the Seed:
Each of you are fabulous “Sowers of the Seed.” Not only do you trust in God’s promises and rely on the Holy Spirit to strengthen the faith of those you teach, but your 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 are meshed with and taught with curricular content. And by doing so, your instruction brings about a learning experience for a life “worthy of one’s calling” to which we have been called (Ephesians 4:1-5). That 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.
As you bring the 2017-2018 academic year to a close, we (Amy and I) commend you by telling you, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Dr. Jon Mielke
Superintendent Lutheran Schools/Executive Counselor for Christian Education