• Letter from the Executive Director: Fresh Eyes on Lutheran Education

  • From the Executive Director

    Fresh Eyes on Lutheran Education

    I was privileged to serve for 13 years in Lutheran education ministry at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church and School in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Already in my college years at Concordia, River Forest, I was made aware of the fascinating heritage of Christian education in specific areas of the United States that began with missionaries settling in locations such as central Michigan in the mid-1800s for the purpose of reaching into new communities to spread the story of Jesus. When we arrived in Frankenmuth in 1980, I quickly became familiar with how such a long-standing mission was able to grow and thrive through the decades, as well as plant seeds for ensuring future ministry.

    Among the many important elements of the rich mission and ministry at St. Lorenz:

    • Holding true to its mission – Since its founding in 1845, the congregation has based every part of its mission on its original desire to “show others by word and deed how beautiful it is to live with Jesus.”
    • Preparing future church workers – St. Lorenz has always encouraged, nourished, and supported its members and the students served at the school to consider professional church work, but to also understand the meaning of church vocation in any area of work. To that end, large numbers of Lutheran pastors, teachers, and other church workers have been generated through the congregation.
    • Connectedness with community – The congregation and school have a large footprint in Frankenmuth. In addition to its historical significance, its members and school population are extremely active in community activities, service, and leadership.
    • Responsiveness to change – Throughout its 178 year history, St. Lorenz has constantly planned its Lutheran education ministry based on changing community needs, educational developments, technology shifts, and best practices of all types. Attention to innovation and openness to change are valued, while the focus is always on strong adherence to Scripture and its core mission.
    • Vision for the future – From its early days, the leaders of St. Lorenz have kept their eyes solidly on immediate needs, while also looking creatively toward what might lie ahead. Preparing its members and school community for their future lives and for what their ministry can offer both locally and throughout the Church and world has contributed to their almost eighteen decades of mission and ministry.

    The above are just samples from one congregation and school which are replicated in thousands of diverse settings across the USA and around the world. These are examples of how “fresh eyes” on Lutheran education are critical to sustaining and growing that ministry while remaining firmly grounded in what God has planned for each location. We are blessed to be in a world today where countless fresh eyes are looking at us today with different expectations and needs. Lutheran education continues to provides us with many new ways of responding to and initiating means of reaching all who hunger for learning, safety, continuity, and trust in the truth that can only come from our reliance on a faithful God. Let’s keep our eyes open as we look forward to shaping the future that is already part of God’s plan and the basis for our calling.

     

    Photo @ Kathryn Brewer

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