Of Drafts, Call Services, and Education

This time of year is marked by two great vocational benchmarks:  The NFL Draft and the LCMS Call Day. (Note:  Sorry for the 2014 link… I can’t find the link to the 2015 call services for both seminaries.) My friends and I would often discuss what Mel Kiper Jr.’s take on this year’s crop of seminarians would look like.

Young men going into their vocations… and with a great deal of scrutiny and perhaps unease leading up to the events.

Two similar (at least at face value) methods, yet extraordinarily different due to the secular v. religious nature of the two.

Continue reading Of Drafts, Call Services, and Education

It’s Easter

I’m not sure how you are feeling this Easter season.

Maybe you are feeling refreshed and excited.  Many schools had Spring Break (or at the very least a few days off) around this time.  You might be looking forward to what is coming in the next month two months of the school year.  Your school may have some exciting field trips or spring performances planned.  And, of course, the warmer weather helps the mood, too!

Continue reading It’s Easter

Church Work, part 1

Soon the seminaries of the LCMS will have their Call services.  Teacher and DCE candidates from the Concordia systems will be graduating and entering the world of church work in the next few months.  This is a very exciting time!

I want to share some thoughts with you, young church workers.  Please understand the spirit in which I share this:  I share this so that you can have a broader view of the church we serve.  I share this so that you are not taken by surprise.  I do not share this out of any personal frustration or problem.  In fact, a major reason I share this is that I recently found an article called “Church Politics 101” by John Killinger.  It appeared in “Leadership” in Spring, 2006.  (Another version of this can be found here.)  I do not necessarily agree with some of what Mr. Killinger says, and so I will only share some of the article with you here with some of my own comments interjected.  Please refer to the link above for the original.

Here are some tips for you as you go to the new places in which the Lord has placed you:

1.  Cultivate memberships with church members across all strata.  You serve members of many backgrounds, so be sure to reach across those backgrounds.

2.  Be meticulously honest.  Lies inevitably return to haunt you.  If you fail at anything, be quick to admit it.  Don’t try to cover up.  Small deceits mushroom into bigger problems.  Remember that “I’m sorry” is a powerful statement that covers a multitude of sins–whether perceived or real.

3.  Be open, but do not share everything you know.  Discretion is important.  Always keep confidences inviolable.  Nothing undermines your relationship with a congregation than betraying a trust.

4.  Live your personal life beyond reproach.  It may not be fair for congregations to expect more of you than they do themselves, but it is a fact of life that they do.  Fulfill obligations, avoid the appearance of evil and be especially aware of the appearance of relationships with the opposite sex.

5.  You do not have to tolerate liars, gossip, and troublemakers.  Every church will have some hurt, disgruntled, or even morally evil people who will try to sabotage you and/or your ministry.  Be sure that these people are removed from leadership positions… and then minister to them.  Leadership of your church and school must come from vision.  If a person in a leadership position is more concerned with lies, gossip, and stirring trouble, that person is harming the entire congregation/school.

6.  You are not Superman.  Don’t be afraid to admit when you are hurting or troubled.

7.  Be generous in giving credit to others, especially in public.

8.  Concentrate on the big picture.  Remember that you have been called to minister.  You more than likely were not called to write a newsletter, change light bulbs, put salt on the ice, etc.  Do the things that only you can do.  If someone else can do it, delegate it.  You were called for certain aspects of ministry.  This is not to say that there are several functions that are “beneath you.”  Rather, you are human.  You have limited time and energy.  That time and energy must be focused on those tasks which will be accomplished through only you and you alone.

9.  Embody love and forgiveness to all.  You will be slighted; you will be insulted–even by those with whom you have a very close relationship.  Some will be intentional, some will be accidental.  If you focus on your own hurts, you cannot minister to those who need to hear the Word.

10.  Always exalt Christ.  The ministry should always be about Him.

Some Things I Have Noticed

These are some nuggets of wisdom passed down from my father to me when I first began teaching:

Some Things I Have Noticed

Those loudest in demanding apologies are often quietest in giving them.

Proof that adults learn more slowly than children is that most youngsters learn to say “no” long before their parents do.

The Light of a Christian does not shine brightly from the top of a high horse.

I am convinced that people want all children to be held accountable for their actions… except their own.

If Abraham Lincoln really said this, he was right: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Before you can communicate a thought, you have to have one.

Those who never learn to play pianos will probably end up moving them for those who can. Those who play say, “I need to have it over here.” Those who don’t play can only reply, “I’ll move it there for you.”

Those for whom you do the most appreciate your efforts the least.

Those first to criticize are the last to volunteer assistance. Volunteers are seldom recruited from critics.

Some people really are victims, others only play at it. Those who play the victim have insulated themselves from the ability to forgive and have forgotten their own part in the matter to such an extent as to refuse to see that they also need to ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the key to a happy life. To be truly happy, it is necessary both to forgive and to be able to be forgiven.

The only real cure of immaturity is time, and even that often fails.

Christian schools gave birth to public schools and will likely be present at their funerals.

Blame is so quickly spread and so slowly accepted.

Some parents will do anything for their children, except love and forgive each other.

Unrepented sin blinds its victim completely.

Nothing angers the liar more than the fact that his lie is not believed.

Some parents expect more from teachers than they themselves are willing to give.

Parents who choose to see teachers only through the eyes of their children are bound to see all of the monsters of society the immature human mind can conceive.

Pietism is born at home; unfortunately, it doesn’t stay there.

Pietism is a merciless judge that attempts to make God obsolete.

Some things are actually true.

God is as He is and I thank Him for it; I am what I am and I can find no good excuse for it.

Love for yourself brings grief yourself; Love for God brings joy to all.

As a principal I noticed that some parents are very concerned that I don’t know the names of their children; others are very concerned that I do.

God really does love us all.