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See the letter from the LEA Director of Educational Resources From the Executive Director


It’s difficult to know what direction things are taking these days. By the time you read this issue of Shaping the Future, the world has been dealing with the COVID pandemic for three quarters of a year. Who would have known as 2020 was ushered in that we would all be in the positions we are in at this point? Nothing in recent history has created the global fear, economic uncertainty, and changes in lifestyle experienced by the majority of the world’s population today. Education is certainly one of those areas directly affected, including all of Lutheran education.

LEAconnectsAmong myriad changes precipitated by the pandemic, the term pivoting emerged as a household word. Until late last spring, my definition of the word was limited to a basketball move, a type of men’s electric shaver head, and a drill applied to physical therapy. It took on a whole new meaning during the COVID era. The need for individuals, organizations, and the government to make immediate and strategic shifts in the way they carry out what they do became a necessity and a norm. The uncertainties associated with the crisis demanded a new skill: the ability to find new directions, new methods, and perhaps new priorities at an accelerated pace—and be ready to do so at any time.

From the Editor

You are shaping the future
Big time!

You are addressing content standards, so you’re teaching religion and catechism and finding ways to show how everything in the universe connects to God and His love for creation. You are teaching language arts, science, social and emotional skills, problem solving, and history—all bathed in faith and Scripture. Knowledge isn’t enough. In fact, knowledge is feeble without also teaching attitude, action, and praise for the One who created all there is to know. You can shape the future only by acknowledging the present.

Chances are you’re shaping the future with shapes that already look and operate far different from the way you did things only last year. Most of you, having at one time successfully navigated kindergarten a decade or few in the past, would never have dreamed that classes would look and act as they do today. To that extent, most of your teachers would be in awe. Or shock. But you know, if yours was a Lutheran school, it’s likely that LEA was around to serve them too! That makes you part of a legacy.

LEA strives to help you in ministry and pedagogy through its vast resources, now so handily taking new shapes for the future—LEAconnects being foremost in the project with its functional and efficient touches that connect you with relevant resources. One of those resources is this magazine. Over its many years, from paper to pixels, writers and colleagues wrote professional growth pieces never meant to languish on some shelf or hard drive. Now you can search topics and harvest ideas both old and new—and nearly always harboring adaptable relevancy.

Please don’t break the chain of charitable and generous colleagues. Remain stalwart and vigorous in Lutheran education. From LEA’s perspective…

You are Shaping the Future.

It’s your turn to help colleagues of today and tomorrow grow Lutheran education and educators into people committed to biblical, Christian education. And it will not be easy. We need educators who serve on the front lines of Lutheran schools and congregations. You are one of them. Would you be willing to write for Shaping the Future? I’m especially interested in how to wrap the biblical Christian worldview into how and what you teach. This could be a feature article (1,500–2,000 words) or a regular article (1,000–1,200 words). Feel welcome to query a topic or get more details. Email ed.grube@lea.org. You may also request an LEA Writers’ Guide.

God bless you and continue to grant you the privilege and responsibility of shaping the future in the Name of the Master Teacher.


The circumstances propelled Lutheran educators into learning how to pivot as quickly as anyone. Dealing with the new technologies required educators to accommodate remote learning, apply new strategies for communication with students and parents, and develop brand new plans for cleaning and social distancing. This need to pivot so quickly required a great expenditure of energy and resources during the early stages of the pandemic. Summer allowed for re-grouping, but the need to be ready for change at a moment’s notice has required the skill of “pivoting” to be refined.

Lutheran Education Association was in the same position of needing and learning to pivot during the COVID crisis. While holding firm to its mission of “linking, equipping, and affirming educators in Lutheran ministries for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ,” LEA developed a variety of new pivotal directions to best serve its members and Lutheran education at large. Although LEA accomplished much behind the scenes, I would like to highlight some of the pivotal steps taken by LEA staff during the past nine months:

  1. LEA redirected its plans to move into a new membership database to instead acquire and develop a platform for collecting and organizing resources now known as LEAconnects. It was obvious that access to resources would increasingly be virtual and the thousands of videos, documents, and articles that LEA has in its collection needed to be more accessible. We have already added more than 1,500 LEA resources to the platform for LEA members to access.
  2. In order to meet the growing and changing needs of educators, parents, and others in their communities, LEA needed to produce additional resources of immediate relevance and assistance. LEA developed the video series Teachers to Teachers, with early episodes covering topics directly related to the COVID crisis, changing needs in schools, and immediate challenges of racial inequity and social injustice. Another recent production is the weekly video series Words on Wednesday, intended to encourage and strengthen stressed professional church workers.
  3. Responding to the cancellation and postponement of most educator events across the United States this fall, LEA created the capacity of the LEAconnects platform to house virtual and hybrid events. In partnership with Leah Abel and Phil Grimpo of Inspirmedia Productions, we provided assistance to districts and other entities in running virtual alternatives to in-person meetings, while retaining maximum engagement. This partnership resulted in producing and using nearly 200 keynote and workshop sessions with four district conferences. LEA also created a Virtual Exhibit Hall to facilitate important relationships with organizations that provide products and services in support of Lutheran educators.

Learning how to effectively pivot allows LEA to be more creative in offering what the field of Lutheran education needs most in growing new partnerships. Confident that God is always in control and knows what lies ahead, we will remain open to new ideas, respond to new needs, and explore new opportunities—especially in times of crisis. God will continue to bless and make our work even more effective in carrying out our mission to serve Lutheran educators like you!