Leadership Thoughts from Dr. Jon Mielke

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…
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…
Each May the pastors of the Indiana District gather for a spring conference – The Northwest & Northeast pastors in the northern part of the state, and the Central & Southern pastors in the southern part of the state.  This is the report Jon Mielke gave to the pastors concerning Christian Education & Congregational Services…
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…
January through March are great months to educate young adults and children.  The next three months bring lesser disruptions and distractions into our classrooms.  Teachers and students alike rev up and settle in because the winter months are great time-on-task, time-to-teach months. Yet, the months of winter bring shorter days and longer periods without sun. …
Lutheran schools are the second-greatest investment that we have for passing on the Christian faith to our children and young adults. LCMS churches are our first investment for helping us accomplish this task for children, young adults and adults. The teaching of the Christian faith—Christian pedagogy— separates our Christian classrooms from other private and public…
You are cordially invited to the Tri-District DCEs & DFLMs Conference in February at Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center near Toledo, hosted by the Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio Districts of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Mark your calendar for February 26-28, 2018 and plan to attend this exciting conference with your fellow DCEs & DFLMs from the Great Lakes region. Together, we…
“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6) Larry Bird was an excellent basketball player and overcame many obstacles prior to making it to the National Basketball Association.  He wrote about some of those obstacles…
Years back, I knew of a person who actually indicated that he would take a stance on not taking a stance.  I guess it is somewhat like deciding not to decide on something.  Hearing it the first time, my reaction was “say what?”  I really had to think about that response a bit and still…
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. If you are one that has watched some, most, or all of the past few Super Bowls, you must admit that the commercials, as much as the game itself, have provided some entertainment…
Lutheran education returns to Gary, Indiana On August 16th, Ascension Lutheran Christian School opened their doors to students for the school’s inaugural day. The new school, located at 1150 W. 49th Ave. in Gary, serves children K–2nd grade with plans to expand grade levels in the future. They held an opening service in the sanctuary,…
The game of golf and life in many aspects are similar.  In golf, you can be moving around the course and playing well until you find a hazard or two – sand trap, water, or woods.  What was once the possibility for a relatively good score quickly has changed to a score that is pretty…
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…
At Lutheran South Unity School, the school mascot is the phoenix, a mythical creature who rises from the ashes to soar again. It is a fitting emblem for a school that is reviving private, Christian education on the south side of Fort Wayne. Eleven Lutheran schools in the area have pledged help to Lutheran South…
It has been written that great leaders are remembered for their ability to cultivate change, create a culture for success, and earn trust. Many have penned that great teachers are remembered for their ability to show genuine care, respect, and to set high expectations for all. Whether you are a principal, teacher, or DCE, you…
Extracurricular school events are fun to watch.  If we have a family member that participates in such an event, that event becomes even more interesting and brings about a heightened sense of interest.  Whether that event is an athletic, musical, play, or pageant, each event brings about a sense of individual or collective competitiveness and…
As a principal, the winter months – January through March – were those months of lesser disruptions.  That was a good thing because these were months that afforded teachers and students quality time on task.  Yet, those months also provided many challenges – resolving or attempting to resolve parent and student issues, budget and planning…
Principals perform many short and long-term tasks for teachers and students.  More often than not, a principal’s daily tasks are interrupted with pop-in meetings, phone calls, troubled students, parental concerns or issues, and the like.  So, trying to attend and focus on the daily operation while also trying to carve out time for those more…
The start of a new year causes one to reflect and even anticipate what the upcoming year may bring.  Reflection on those activities that were most memorable or eventful causes one to pause and remember.  That anticipation for approaching activities, events, vacations, or for those well-thought out new resolutions for 2017 yet to come help…
For all of us, education is not simply a job we seek to perform daily.  Many may not even consider teaching a profession; rather, most if not all would consider teaching young adults and children a Christian vocation.  Teachers who choose to teach in one of the many Lutheran schools located throughout the Indiana District…
What a privilege it is for me to be able to visit our Lutheran schools and observe teachers in their classrooms.  I am always appreciative of the preparation that precedes the lesson as well as the depth of content being taught.  Whether visiting early learning centers, elementary or high school classrooms, teachers are intentional to…
The turning of seasons from summer to fall brings about some refreshing change.  Not that the summer months didn’t provide beautiful days and warmer temperatures to experience the outdoors, the season must certainly did.  But, summer to fall brings about some additional and pleasant opportunities that can be observed and felt, such as the beauty…
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…
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  (NKJV) So often, we move from day to day without stopping to take just a few minutes to read Scripture.  Yes, I must admit my sinful nature has caused me to…
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…
Wherever you may travel in the United States, you will eventually get a glimpse of the American flag.  Whether that be hanging above a courthouse, place of business, or possibly at a residency, the American flag carries with it respect and dignity.  That is because the American flag represents freedom, justice, and liberty for all.…
Much thought and energy is exercised by teachers as they seek the best possible way to deliver content.  In fact, earlier research germane to teaching draws correlates between teachers’ actions and student achievement (Beattie, 1995).  And, teachers soon emulated the practices of other teachers recognized as successful teachers and embraced the educational theory and educational…
This time of the year finds principals and teachers gearing up for yet another academic year.  When this article is released, most, if not all, will be preparing for their first day of school or may even have begun. It is no secret that our beliefs about teaching mitigate practice and provide a significant influence…
Christian teachers serve their students wholeheartedly.  They serve Jesus with great joy and zeal.  They do so because they love their students and Jesus dearly.  And because of this love and devotion for Jesus, teachers seek to remain current in their content and Biblical knowledge.  Sustaining and enhancing one’s acumen for Biblical and content knowledge…
Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District and LCMS are tremendous blessings to children and families.  Lutheran schools owned and operated by members of a single Lutheran church or an association of Lutheran churches makes financial sacrifices to keep open their Lutheran school and to keep the cost of tuition at a reasonable rate for families.…
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). Have you ever wondered about these two constructs:  learning and achievement?  As teachers, you most certainly strive to prepare lessons and deliver information…
Christian teachers in Lutheran schools provide students a nice balance of good literacy – that being a heavy dose of reading, writing, speaking and language arts instruction. I know this to be factual because I have observed many reading and language arts lessons in the last ten years. And, many of our Lutheran schools throughout…
“I thank Christ Jesus or Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service” (I Timothy 1:12). Sometimes it is just difficult to make up one’s mind.   I really like ice cream.  I probably could eat ice cream every night but I don’t.  So it is difficult for…
“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, 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…
1) What does Luther pen about Lutheran schools? The Reformation was as much concerned with Lutheran schools and education as it was with church and home.  Luther was deeply committed to schooling the young.  Luther established a school in Eisleben, prior to his death in 1546 (Pastor Beckmann, 2010). 2) What does the Lutheran Church-Missouri…
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:1 & 10). We can teach our students with confidence because we know who we belong to and who has claimed us. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has redeemed…
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). I really enjoy the months of winter.  The cold air and white snow seem to refresh and cleanse the air.  What I don’t enjoy though is the ice and snow…
“For everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Hope is a funny thing. Hope requires patience and trust too. I can hope that it will not snow tomorrow, but what if it does? Then what? I can hope that…
If God were to give you one gift, what would you request? What if you asked your students that same question? What might their response be? You already have His love and forgiveness. You already have the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. The Holy Spirit continues to work the gift of faith in you which…
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 I am sure you have heard or read this saying somewhere or sometime, “Knowledge is power.” Yes, knowledge is important. Knowledge is needed to master different areas of content and move from one grade level to the next. An accumulation of knowledge…
“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I, whom you have redeemed.” Psalm 71:23 OK. We have been back in school for nearly two weeks now. I am sure you have heard your students say more than once, “But, I didn’t know I had to…, or “I didn’t mean to.” Perhaps,…
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 I am sure more than once that you have felt that you have taken all that life has thrown at you. You just can’t take anymore. Whatever the circumstances, events, or happenings…
The story of Jesus’ birth is told by prophets from days past. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This same story is…
You will not find Martin Luther listed as an Old Testament character in the Bible, yet it is important to our Christian education that we reflect back on this man and his work. You see, Luther couldn’t accept the fact that he was going to be saved, no matter how many good things he did.…

Dr. Jon A. Mielke is the executive counselor for Christian education of the Indiana District, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.