Friday, November 28, 2014

Why Choose Lutheran Schools?

Why choose a Lutheran school? As Lutheran schools are struggling with enrollment and communicating the importance of a Lutheran school to communities that are increasingly non-Lutheran, are we being proactive about our role in this great opportunity for outreach that we have? A new study (Bedrick, 2013) reveals that parents are choosing private schools for the following top five reasons:
  1. Better learning discipline
  2. Better learning environment
  3. Smaller class sizes
  4. Improved student safety
  5. More individual attention
How are we communicating these strengths of our schools to current and prospective parents? One method is through a school website. As you look at your school website, are these five reasons effectively communicated to parents through words and pictures?
  1. As Lutheran schools, we have the unique opportunity to teach Christian faith and values set in God's Word and Lutheran doctrine.
  2. Lutheran schools have some of the best academics and receive accreditation through the Lutheran and secular agencies. 
  3. Lutheran schools can offer smaller class sizes (Finn, 2002) that lead to higher grades, better test results, and improved relationships between the home and school.
  4. Lutheran schools with accreditation and strong morals create communities that are safe for student learning.
  5. Smaller class sizes allow Lutheran school teachers to focus on the individual needs of student growth in the classroom.
If you were to review the communications from your school, would you see these reasons highlighted on your website and in your newsletter? Take a moment this week to find these five aspects. Lutheran schools are a great place to be, and we want our parents to know it as well!



Bedrick, J. (2013) New study explains how and why parents choose private schools. Retrieved from http://www.cato.org/blog/new-study-explains-how-why-parents-choose-private-schools

Finn, J. (2002) Class size reduction, grades k-3. Retrieved from http://www.asu.edu/educ/epsl/EPRU/ducments/EPRU%202002-101/Chapter%2002-Finn-Final.pdf
-
Finn
-
Final.pdf

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Teach by Faith

What does it mean to teach by faith? The title of this blog derives from my philosophy that I teach by faith. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was about seven years old, and I would help my mom in the classroom after school. My best friend and I would help in the library in elementary school. In high school, I aided for a teacher, and by the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to go to a Concordia for a degree in education.

As teachers, we teach by many things. We teach by the standards of education. We teach by the assessments we give. We teach by the lesson plans we use. We teach by the curriculum. We teach by the school handbooks and state laws. In Lutheran schools, we teach by something that is greater than any of these - faith.

All of the above are very important, but that is not what makes Lutheran schools great. We are great because of an awesome God! For it is by faith that we teach by our worship on Sunday mornings. We teach by our personal devotions with the Lord and our prayers. We teach by the daily time our students spend in religion classes and integrating faith into other subjects. We teach by our interactions with others.

At times, we fail. Yet, we awesome God has also sent his Son to die cross for our sins so that we may freely serve Him! How will you be more intentional about teaching by faith this week?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Responsibility in Leadership

According to Merriam-Webster, leadership is the office or position of a leader, the capacity to lead, and the act or instance of leading. I am currently in my last class on leadership, and it is fascinating to learn about the traits that make a great leader. Leadership is attractive to people for many reasons. I know that I first aspired to go into leadership to make a difference in the lives of other people. As a child, I received so many benefits from Lutheran schools - caring teachers, quality education, and most importantly, a deep faith in an almighty God. I have been privileged to work with some impressive leaders over the years who took the time to train me. Leadership is not always about the glory, the power, or the great things we do. Sometimes, it is tough. Our Lutheran schools are going to need leaders who are prepared for the responsibilities that come with them. What better place to look for examples than God's Word?
  1. Are you prepared to make the right decisions even if you are alone? In Genesis 6, God tells Noah to build a boat because he is going to destroy the world. Noah did not have a team of supporters encouraging to build that boat. He did it because God told him to do so. How are you making decisions as you serve in ministry because they are the right thing to do?
  2. Do you embrace the unknown? God told Abraham to leave the comfort of his hometown and go to a new place in Genesis 12. How are you doing something different in your ministry?
  3. Are you enduring in spite of your circumstances? God orchestrated the events in Joseph's life to make him second in command to Pharaoh. He had a vision from God to sustain them in difficult times. Are you prepared to help your ministry during difficult times.
  4. Do you stand up for your people? In Exodus 3, Moses gave every excuse as to why he was not the person for the job. When he finally answers God's call, he goes to Pharaoh and tell him to let his people go. They were his native people, and he stood up for their freedom. As leaders, are we prepared to stand up for the people we serve?
  5. Do we lead by example rather than commanding others? In Joshua 24, Joshua tells his people that his house will serve the Lord. The people answer in a united voice that they will serve God. Joshua didn't tell them to serve God or threaten them to do so. They did it by following His example. As leaders, what example do we set for those we lead?
  6. Are we afraid of challenges? In 1 Samuel 17, a small boy named David defeats a 9-foot Goliath. The Israelites thought the challenge was too great, but David had the conviction and strength to do so. How are you facing the giants in your ministry?
  7. Do we rise to the occasion? In Isaiah 6, God asks for a prophet for His people. Isaiah responds, "Here am I. Send me!" He doesn't wait to see if someone else will do it. He has initiative. They speak up and make decisions. How are you taking action in your ministry?
  8. Do you know how to recover from failure? Peter denies Jesus three times, realizes what he has done, and weeps bitterly. In Acts 2, Peter gives the first sermon after Jesus' ascension. Leaders don't become discouraged when they fail. They have the problem solving skills to carry on. How do you recover from your mistakes in ministry?
  9. Are you passionate about what you do? In Acts 9, Paul changes his mind. He goes from violently opposing Christianity to spreadin the Gospel throughout the world. He has a sense of purpose and feels compelled to lead. How are serving passionately in your ministry?
  10. Are you a servant? In John 13, Jesus, the King of kings, washes the feet of his disciples. He focuses on serving those who follow Him. What an excellent example of teamwork! How are you serving others in your ministry?
Finally, remember the responsibilities that are truly God's decisions. We are his workmanship, but it is by His grace that we are saved. It is not our doing, but it is a gift of God. We can only boast because of Him!



Bible Gateway. (2001). Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/

Merriam Webster. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leadership

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Worker Approved by God

This evening, I sat down to read the Portals of Prayer, my daily devotion of choice. The text for the devotion was from 2 Timothy 2:14-19. The following selection includes the full portion regarding workers approved by God from the second book of Timothy.

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

As I was reading, there are some key points that Timothy is making regarding our work for the Lord. Take a moment to consider the following dos and don'ts:

1. Don't quarrel about words.
2. Don't babble irreverantly.
3. Don't pursue youthful passions.
4. Don't be involved in ignorant controversies.

1. Do your best to present yourself to God.
2. Do cleanse yourself from what is dishonorable.
3. Do pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
4. Do be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

How often do we, as sinners, quarrel over simple things? We disagree over words, gossip, act immature, and dispute matters of little importance. How frequently do we miss moments for ministry with these things? God calls us to present our best to Him. He reminds us to repents of our sins and honor Him. We are to pursue matters that are righteous, demonstrate faithfulness to Him, proclaim His love, and work in peace with others. He calls us to be kind to everyone, teaching and correcting with gentleness, even enduring evil.

God's word certainly does not say that His world will be perfect. Gossip, disagreements, and immaturity are not worthy of praise. As church workers, we are called to live to a higher standard in righteousness, faith, love, peace, kindness, and gentleness with the knowledge of forgiveness we have been given so freely through Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that He has already approved of our work!

God's blessings on your week in ministry!

2 Timothy 2:14-25. (2001) Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%202&version=ESV