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The Lutheran Schools Partnership represents more than 4,000 students enrolled in 17 elementary and middle schools across northeast Indiana, plus Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the right fit for your child!

Lutheran schools are Christ-centered, nationally accredited, and follow Indiana state standards. Private tuition assistance, SGO grants, and Indiana Choice Scholarships are available to help make the Lutheran schools affordable.

Our commitment to education runs deep. Lutherans founded the very first school in northeast Indiana in 1837, and it still serves students today. Come discover why Hoosier parents have been choosing Lutheran schools for more than 175 years!

 
Best Practices
Mark Muehl | September 11, 2017
Proximity
Proximity- (noun) nearness in place, time, order, occurrence, or relation. At the Global Leadership Summit 2017, Bryan Stevenson (founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative- https://eji.org/bryan-stevenson) spoke on the “power of proximity.” His message was especially related to the need of helping the poor and incarcerated- not with money- but with a visible, active  presence in the community. His stories were impressive as they reminded of the need to demonstrate care for all. It’s a good message, this idea of proximity. Jesus life is all about proximity. Instead of a god out of touch, just throwing blessings down from on high, our God sent his Son to be as close as one can be- born of Mary, living in our world, changing the world with his words and actions, dying and rising. Right there- right by us. Immanuel. That is proximity. Thinking about life as a Christian and the impact of Lutheran schools, this notion of the “power of proximity” is integral. In a world where there seems to be a greater disconnect with reality and more and more demonstrations of an inability to communicate with one another, the “ministry of proximity” bears greater influence. Consider this list of examples of proximity in ministry...and then feel free to share your additions- *Parents’ presence. Kids need their parents- both parents- in their lives, participating in their lives, engaged in their lives. It’s God’s idea. Research also supports that it is holistically healthy for kids to have both parents in their lives. *Presence of Christ in communion. We believe in his REAL presence, right there, for us. The God who is Immanuel and lived with us continues to be here, in bread and wine, with us and in us. *Pastors’ presence in our schools. By being there, it shows pastors care and provide opportunities to connect with kids. Pastors’ presence builds relationships with staff, too. *Proximity in the classroom. Teachers next to kids, not walled behind their desks. Teachers at eye level with kids, getting their attention, showing their care for the kids. Teachers who show up for events and are seen in church. Teachers can do SO much by just consistently being there for their students. *Proximity in the community- Rural or city, small town or Fort Wayne, residential or near businesses, Lutheran schools are nearby, affecting their community.  Does the nearby community know the school (and church) are there? If not, it might be time to make the school (and church) actively part of the neighborhood. *Showing mercy. It might be “churchy” language but it’s a call from God to us (Luke 6:36). Perspective is affected by proximity and that perspective will have bearing on a response. It’s compassion and patience and those happen when we are living as a community, living with one another. How is proximity affecting your reactions to your life’s opportunities? We look forward to the sharing.
 
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | October 30, 2017
Repeating the Issues of the Founders
Discipleship school. Missional school. Outreach school. Member school. Lutheran schools are all about Christ. Somehow over the years, some Lutheran school communities have struggled with whom is welcomed into it. Congregational members? Daughter/sister congregations’ families? Other Christian families? Faith seekers? And how do these decisions impact the overall community and program of the school? It’s fair to say that for most folks in Lutheran circles, it’s been understood that the traditional purpose of Lutheran schools is to train the church’s young. It’s only been in recent decades as there have been fewer little Lutherans and declining Lutheran congregational membership throughout the US that schools widely opened their doors to non-members. Our country has a desperate need to know its history and to know history based on historical documents and not on reconstructed notions of how the world used to be. Edmund Burke said, “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” The Old Testament writer penned, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl 1:9). Lutherans need to know their history, too. Many churches and schools are desperately seeking the novel and innovative in an attempt to reach out with the Gospel. Yet one may reference Burke and Solomon and choose to look to the past for guidance for the future. A reacquaintance with our roots might be the greatest gift that the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation could bring. Consider the following items that come from writings at the dawn of the LCMS in the 1800s. “Pastor O.H.Walther had already set the precedent of accepting children of non-members. For the opening of the new school term on October 1, 1840, O.H. Walther had announced from the pulpit that the school would accept the children of non-members “at a nominal fee for the teacher. Students who were not members of the congregation paid 50 cents a month in tuition” (Schools of The Lutheran Church —Missouri Synod. 84-85.) 1840? Accepting non-members into the school? Tuition? There’s more.... “...an official school enrollment policy was passed in the 1850 Synodical Convention which allowed nonmember children to enroll in parish schools and in confirmation instruction even if their parents refused to become members of the congregation. The Synod declared, “It is to be deplored that alas! it has occurred in certain congregations that children of other denominations were either not accepted at all or only reluctantly. It is our obligation to follow the commands of the Lord Jesus, ‘Feed My lambs and suffer the little children to come unto Me.’ A congregation which turns away the children of other confessions may bar them from coming to Jesus and will have it upon its conscience if the little ones are taught false doctrine and are lost.” (Svnodal-Bericht. (1850). 139: trans. Stellhom. Schools of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. 75) What do these quotes imply? First, the LCMS has always understood the power of the Gospel and the Church’s need to boldly proclaim it. Walther and company understood that the true work and blessings of Lutheran churches and schools do not come from our effort. Rather, we hold to Luther’s confession in the 3rd Article, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” Those words are personal but also provide the depth of understanding of the mission and operations for churches and schools. Hold fast to sound doctrine, get out of the way and let God take care of the rest. Secondly, it’s also a good practice for families to directly invest in the operations of the school. Member or non-member (or to quote Walther- “strangers”), support of the salary of the teachers is good and right. The aforementioned quote continues by saying that at times, tuition was discontinued. The point is that situations dictate varying degrees of support from those who were directly utilizing the educational services of the school. Two more quotes- “Makeshift arrangements had to be made, because there was such a shortage of teachers. The congregation minutes of April 27,1840, revealed, ‘A Schullehrer (teacher) Helbig, or Hellwig and his wife were named; apparently he never held a teaching position in America. (Minutes of Trinity Congregation of April 27.1840; trans. Stellhom, “The Period of Organization.” 1838-1847", ed. Repp, 100 Years of Christian Education.)  Also, “Since the teacher shortage was a perpetual problem, Trinity Congregation called Buenger’s younger brother, Theodore, to be the teacher at the “St. Louis Gardens” school. Buenger and Walther had to tutor him and give him a special examination first, because he only had a Gymnasium education.  (Stellhom, Schools of The Lutheran Church —Missouri Synod.) Teacher shortages? Tutoring for teachers? Just as today, the availability of teachers was at a premium. And just like today, the Church did what it needed to do to put teachers in schools. So today, we need to emphasize recruiting of teachers and discounting Lutheran college teacher training, promote the colloquy program as a means of theologically educating non-synodically trained teachers and recognize more and more pastors initiating direct tutelage of teachers in his school. As was the case in the 1840s and is the case here in 2017, we have issues to address, challenges to overcome. But when all's said and done, our schools are still “all about Jesus.”  
 
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | December 11, 2017
Distraction or Focused on Christ?
The reason for the season. Christmas is all about Jesus. There’s no question about this. It might get a bit trivialized with catchphrases like this but it’s absolutely true. Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus’ birth is more than a warm story filled with joy and happiness. To celebrate Christmas, to witness to kids and families about the “reason for the season,” is to see the baby Jesus in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. The two cannot be separated. The true joy of Christmas is about prophecies foretold and the climax of the prophecies to be played out in 33 years. Why human? Why God? Why Mary? Why Bethlehem? Human, because Jesus needed to live and fulfill the Law....as a man. He needed to be a perfect man. He needed to be us to save us (Galatians 4:4-5).  As man, for payment of sin, He died in payment for our sin (Hebrews 2:14). God, because his life and death needed to be God-sized to pay for humanity's sin (Mark 10:45). As God, He overcame death and the devil (Hebrews 2:14). Mary, because he was human and to fulfill prophecy (Is 7:14). Bethlehem, to fulfil prophecy (Micah 5:2) You know all this. These facts center our Christmas celebration. But consider everything else that has become part of the Christmas season. Gifts, cookies, parties, travel, family and so much more. If Jesus is the reason for the season and our schools are uniquely purposed for sharing Christ, why bother with so much of what often becomes burdensome and takes the joy away from the season? Consider then, what are the traditions that point us to Jesus? What do we do that help us celebrate Christ’s incarnation? Gift-giving- The materialism of Christmas marketing certainly is proof of the sinfulness of this world, but giving gifts is a wonderful way to point to Jesus. Jesus is THE gift of Christmas. Giving presents also remind us of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus (which also foreshadow Jesus death). Giving gifts to show love for families and friends also reminds us of the gift of love in Christ. Gift-giving also encourages generosity in our kids. Christmas tree- A quick survey finds the Christmas tree having all sorts of possible pagan histories. However, German Lutherans like to connect Luther with the Christmas tree. Also, as recently as 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity. (Zenit News Agency. December 19, 2004). Lights- Clark Griswold (Christmas Vacation) may overdo it, but Christmas lights can be a striking way to demonstrate light’s overcoming of darkness, something the Gospel writer shares with such depth in John 1 in describing Christ’s entrance into the world and exposing the darkness of sin. Memorizing the Christmas story and Christmas hymns- Luke 2 and John 1. Micah 5:2. Isaiah 7:14, Galatian 4:4-5. These verses have been memorized and recited every Christmas program and service.  “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, “Joy to the World”, and “Silent Night”- all songs that share the Gospel and the sheer joy of Jesus birth. Why memorize? Having God’s word quick to mind is invaluable; certainly God’s word is the Spirit’s means of growing faith. But doesn’t it make sense to fill our minds with the riches of the season rather than those things which can distract or deter us from Christ? Family gatherings- It wasn’t much of a family gathering for Jesus, was it? Step-dad, mom and cattle. However, the hosts of heaven did do a marvelous job of sharing the news and plenty of visitors did show up at Jesus’ birth....some later visitors even brought gifts. The focus was Jesus....and when families gather the focus is probably NOT on Jesus. We may find out quickly WHY Jesus came as bickering occurs, tempers flare and everything and anything squelches the joy of the season. But can those gatherings be about unconditional love? Can they share carols and devotions? Can the generosity of gifts be reflective of the greatest gift of all? Christmas really is not about feeling all warm inside (look what it did to Frosty the Snowman). Christmas is about Jesus redeeming a broken world. There are plenty of traditions that support a sense of the real meaning of Christmas and here’s to a festive Christmas celebration. Remember, when it comes to Christmas (and for our Lutheran schools), it’s still “all about Jesus.
 
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | November 13, 2017
The Generous Samaritan
“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. He had money as well." --Margaret Thatcher What do you think about this quote? Is it true? I have had this quote on my home office desk since ripping it off of my “Quote of the Day” calendar in 2006. I always thought of the quote as reflecting on money as the source of action. That is, you can have all the intent in the world, but without the means to fund your goals, you can’t get there. What better for a fundraiser to have on his desk? We need to ask for money to fund our mission! But in our Lutheran education world, how does this quote stand up? For nearly 200 years, Lutheran schools in Indiana were started by well-intentioned leaders, either to instruct the children of a congregation or reach out the community around the congregation. Members gave, buildings were built, teachers were hired, students were taught. But many time the act of giving is hushed and pushed aside until there is a dire need (“The roof is leaking!”), a capital campaign comes around, the dreaded “Stewardship Sunday” is scheduled, or a board member notes, “if everyone tithed we wouldn’t have these issues!” However, we are instructed by Paul in Romans 12 to use our gifts of giving: “if it is giving, then give generosity.” And I have always considered myself as an evangelist of the Cheerful Giver from 2nd Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Ultimately, using the term my pastor uses every week, we got to own it; if you have the means, give. And give like you mean it. That is your gift. And if Google defines “generous” as “showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected”, then perhaps the Good Samaritan is in reality the Generous Samaritan: he certainly did more than what was expected, he did it cheerfully, and he owned it. It was his gift from God. Anyway, I think I will keep the quote in my stable of funny lines for future presentations, but thanks to my work with TLSP over the last 6 years, my perspective on it has forever been altered. For the good. P.S. And I would be remiss not to note that man, the big sack of maggots that we are, received the ultimate, undeserving generosity through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ. No money exchanged hands there (well, Judas might say otherwise, but you get the point), but oh, what an investment He made.   Picture source: Time-Life
 
School Choice
Jon Dize | November 6, 2017
It’s All about the Kids
In my role as administrator of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, I get to report to everyone on the benefits of the program; the 50% credit, growth of funds raised by our schools to over $1.7 million since July 1, how we are nearing 50% of the credits gone, and how we think the credits will be out again before Christmas.  And I also rave of the program’s secondary benefit to our schools: SGO fundraising has been the catalyst for many of our schools to begin a systematic plan for annual fundraising. They could see the benefit of mailing letters to alumni, inserting a bulletin insert of their scholarship need, and the eventual benefit of asking for estate gifts from those with a heart for educating kids in the love of Christ. But I was reminded a few months ago of what the SGO, and school choice is really all about: the kids. After a $50,000 stock gift was received by The Lutheran SGO to benefit one of our schools, I went to lunch with the donor to get their perspective on why they gave. This donor had lived a few blocks from the school for decades; they would have faced a huge capital gains tax had they not donated the stock; they were familiar with how other state tax credits worked in Indiana; and since any unused SGO tax credits can be rolled over up to nine years afterward, it was a no-brainer after their accountant told them about the options. But then came the final statement from across the table: “It's all about the kids, isn’t it?” $50,000 could mean up to 100 scholarships for families who want a quality, Christian education who might not otherwise have the opportunity. It is easy to forget why we are here. Thanks for reminding me.
 
SGO
Jon Dize | November 6, 2017
It’s All about the Kids
In my role as administrator of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, I get to report to everyone on the benefits of the program; the 50% credit, growth of funds raised by our schools to over $1.7 million since July 1, how we are nearing 50% of the credits gone, and how we think the credits will be out again before Christmas.  And I also rave of the program’s secondary benefit to our schools: SGO fundraising has been the catalyst for many of our schools to begin a systematic plan for annual fundraising. They could see the benefit of mailing letters to alumni, inserting a bulletin insert of their scholarship need, and the eventual benefit of asking for estate gifts from those with a heart for educating kids in the love of Christ. But I was reminded a few months ago of what the SGO, and school choice is really all about: the kids. After a $50,000 stock gift was received by The Lutheran SGO to benefit one of our schools, I went to lunch with the donor to get their perspective on why they gave. This donor had lived a few blocks from the school for decades; they would have faced a huge capital gains tax had they not donated the stock; they were familiar with how other state tax credits worked in Indiana; and since any unused SGO tax credits can be rolled over up to nine years afterward, it was a no-brainer after their accountant told them about the options. But then came the final statement from across the table: “It's all about the kids, isn’t it?” $50,000 could mean up to 100 scholarships for families who want a quality, Christian education who might not otherwise have the opportunity. It is easy to forget why we are here. Thanks for reminding me.
 
News and Events
Mark Muehl | October 16, 2017
2017 Indiana Lutheran Schools State Volleyball Tournament
Last weekend, the 2nd Annual Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (ILSAA) State Volleyball Tournament was held in Indianapolis. ILSAA is a non-profit organization that sponsors annual Christian based sports competitions for Indiana Lutheran middle schools. Ten grade schools were invited to the State Tournament and five of those teams were from the Fort Wayne area. The five Fort Wayne schools included Ascension, Central, Holy Cross, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Pool play began on Friday, October 7 and continued the next morning. Saturday afternoon saw cross over pool play, and the tournament concluded on Sunday with teams competing in Gold, Silver, or Bronze bracket play. Three of our Fort Wayne area schools competed in the Gold Bracket: Central Lutheran, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Wyneken finished the tournament in 3rd place. The Championship game saw the Central Lutheran Charges against the St. John-Emanuel Tigers. This was the third time this season that Central and St. John-Emanuel played each other. St. John-Emanuel won the match in two games and was crowned the state champion. All five Fort Wayne area schools had at least one player nominated to the All-Tournament team. This honor was voted on by coaches, athletic directors, and tournament directors. A special congratulations goes to Ascension for winning the tournament Sportsmanship Award. Ascension, Central, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken take a group picture after the Championship game.
Emmaus
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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