Motel 6

From the Editor

Thank you

Our oldest daughter, Kelsey, recently graduated from Milwaukee Lutheran High School. She's off to Texas in August where she will attend Texas Christian University. We gave her a laptop so she can write term papers (I mean Skype) and a plane ticket for Christmas, but most importantly we gave her an extra dose of Jesus.

Or better yet, we placed Kelsey in your care and you gave her Jesus. With the exception of three years (since there wasn't a Lutheran school close by) Kelsey attended Lutheran schools from Pre-K to senior year. By my calculations she spent more than 15,000 hours in Lutheran schools, not including after-school sports and activities, community service projects, youth retreats, and choir tours.

Was her experience perfect? No. Was there less sinning or more learning that went on at Lutheran schools? I don't think so. But grace and forgiveness were abundant. And stories of hope and love were brought back to our home.

Here's how it worked. God, in his graciousness, sent us Kelsey and asked us to raise her as his child. We said, "Yes, with the help of God," and we gave her to all of you — her Lutheran school educators.

So thank you for holding her hand, giving her confidence, teaching her how to light a candle, dissect a pig, and dance on stage. Thank you for teaching her to write a five-paragraph essay and how to defend her faith. Thanks for countless hours of math tutoring before, during, and after school and for the funny note and bag of smiling gum balls when her science project didn't quite go as planned. Thanks for teaching her how to run even though she didn't want to learn. Thanks for secretly watching her in the hallways and the cafeteria to make sure she was OK. Thank you for encouraging her to sing all of the time and for challenging her to take risks. Thank you for teaching her specifically how to ask for forgiveness and how to forgive. Thanks for listening to her when she was frustrated or disappointed and for rejoicing when things were worth celebrating. Thank you for daily prayers, chapel, and the opportunity to give back to others. Thanks for inviting her to dinner, debating with her, and not letting her take herself too seriously.

This is just what all of you do as Lutheran educators. You help grow little Christians into young adults who are lights in the world. This is no small task. And for all of that and all of you, I am grateful.


From the Executive Director

Rise and Shine

All of a sudden, my eastward commute to the LEA office is adorned with sun! This happens every year. It takes me by surprise. As the winter days waned and the skies became brighter into early spring, the anticipation of sunrise gave me hope. The gloomy dark days were almost behind me. I looked forward to the warmth (if not the glare) of the bright light. And then, one day … BAM! I needed my sunglasses. The change to daylight savings time created a new challenge for Chicago traffic at 5:30 a.m. Summer (and golf) is just around the corner!

I pray that the anticipation of a schedule change, some vacation, a chance to regroup, opportunities to grow professionally, or perhaps the need to transition are underway as you take the time to read this Spring 2012 issue of ShapingtheFuture. The fact is, changes abound for all of us in the coming summer, some of which are planned and others about which we don’t yet know. It should be a period of anticipation and optimism, but for many it requires some time to reflect, to make new plans, and to seek God’s guidance for new direction. I have heard in the last two days about four separate RIF (reduction in force) situations where multiple individuals have been faced with transition scenarios. Schools continue to close and congregations continue to struggle. The “light at the end of the tunnel” seems dim.

As each of us faces the challenges – known and unknown – associated with our ministries, we can be comforted and encouraged with Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 4:6: “We are His servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of the darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God’s glory, which shines from Christ’s face.” We can rise and shine every day knowing that it is HIS light which we reflect in our personal and professional lives. The glory of the Lord shows all around us!

Please feel encouraged by the articles in this issue, as they point to the ways in which Lutheran educators face the world full of God’s bright light. I hope you will make plans to join us in Milwaukee October 24-26, 2013 where several thousand Lutheran educators will join together to celebrate God’s plan for us and to become re-energized as we each Rise and Shine spiritually, professionally, and personally. May God be with you this summer as you face whatever He has planned for you and use the time to prepare for another year of ministry in whatever you do!




Photo: Simon McConnico