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From the Editor

Warming the soul

Brrr! No matter the chill, Lutheran education continues to warm the souls and minds of children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the wonders of God’s creation. This issue of ShapingtheFuture has lots of fuel to feed the flames! Accreditation, mission, fine arts, policies, parents, and more—see what your colleagues share about these topics. Once again, LEA gratefully commends our stable of authors, all of whom share their knowledge, skills, and ideas freely in the pages of ShapingtheFuture. I’m also thankful for the sharp eyes, minds, and hearts of the editorial team that assists me: Sharon Stadtwald, Kathy Slupik, Kathryn Brewer, Jonathan Laabs, and Mike Spice.

If you have a topic to share in future issues, contact ed.grube@lea.org with your ideas. You don’t need to be a seasoned author to appear on ShapingtheFuture pages. You just need to be a dedicated Christian educator who can help us all to grow in our various teaching ministries.

From the Executive Director

salt and lightTwo Kingdoms: One Mission

We have a short break (very short) in the second week of November every few years when the radio and television political ads have disappeared, decisions are finally made (longer process in certain states), and the hype that accompanies all of the campaigning finally subsides. Of course, as quickly as we feel at rest, new campaigns pick up, and we are off and running again. We are definitely part of a world embroiled in political intrigue, fast-paced positioning, and jockeying for position: all a part of our democratic system protected by the U.S. Constitution.

As Lutheran educators carrying out our Great Commission call, we stand alongside all Christians as citizens of two kingdoms: Christ’s kingdom (the Church) and the earthly kingdom (our country, government). Martin Luther brought forward the need to understand the relationship between the two for each person and apply it to our roles as parents and teachers. Each of us has responsibilities that relate to both kingdoms. The ministry of Lutheran education needs to take place in both the spiritual and earthly contexts.

On a daily basis, every educator is faced with the challenges of two-kingdom ministry.On a daily basis, every educator is faced with the challenges of two-kingdom ministry. Policies and laws from the government force certain actions that protect the education and rights of all children and families, as well as employers and employees. However, when such regulations challenge the practices and beliefs of faith-based organizations such as schools, action needs to be taken. In recent years, several challenges have been taken to court (even to the Supreme Court) regarding rights such as access to public funds for school improvements and the ability to hire or dismiss workers.

Christians (including Christian educators) have the responsibility of influencing the “kingdom of the left” as we find ways to be visible and active in the public square. Individually, we exercise our right and privilege to vote. Publically, we can support local, state, and national initiatives and leaders that improve our schools and the choices that parents have about where to send their children. We should all know our leaders at all government levels and express our concerns when we believe something needs to be changed.

LEA’s National Administrators Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. February 17–19, 2019, to raise up the importance of our two-kingdom relationship and to enhance our ministry. We are partnering with the newly formed Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL) led by Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz to bring noted speakers from our nation’s capital in front of Lutheran education leaders and others who share our vision. I would highly recommend the participation of administrators and other church leaders in this event under the theme “Salt and Light” from Matthew 5:13–14: “You are the world's seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavor, what will happen to the world?” I would also recommend participation in the semi-weekly blog produced by LCRL, which can be accessed by sending an email to info@lcrlfreedom.org.

I pray that your middle months of the school year are filled with the same joy that comes from the anticipation of the Savior’s birth that we celebrate during Advent. I thank God that He has given us all the means by which we can minister in both kingdoms with our God firmly in control of both!

Photo © iStock/Michael Burrell