LEAven Blog


Celebrating Lutheran Educators

Spring is an exciting time for me. During the course of several months, I have been blessed with the opportunity each year to join congregations, schools, and associations in their celebration of a Lutheran educator who has been selected by LEA as a recipient of a special award. We have set up a process for nominations and selection of individuals annually who are recognized nationally or internationally for distinguished ministry in any of fifteen categories. (See our web page for more information.) In almost every case, we are able make the presentations in a local context including church services, school assemblies, special award ceremonies, and conferences.

Why does LEA facilitate a process of recognizing outstanding and distinguished Lutheran education ministry?

  1. It is God-pleasing. Paul write to the Thessalonians, “Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. (I Thessalonians 5:12)
  2. ALL educators deserve recognition. Knowing that is it never expected and sometimes a source of humble embarrassment, we believe that thanking and supporting all those who minister in God’s field … and thanking God for the blessings they have been … is not done enough and should be a time for joy and celebration.
  3. Others in our communities need to be reminded of the blessings they have in their workers and should be given opportunities to share in celebration.

In reading through the nominations of hundreds of candidates these past 26 years, I am constantly amazed at the many ways that Lutheran educators are impacting the lives of those they serve. Our process calls for recommendation letters to be generated by colleagues, administrators, pastors, parents and others who are familiar with the nominee’s ministry. Allow me to share just a few samples of the statements that are ABUNDANT though the nominations:

  • “She immediately became partners with our school parents as she went above and beyond to communicate with them and forge relationships in multiple ways.”
  • “He is a caring individual who exceeds in administration, supervision and most importantly, educational leadership … he has a talent for bringing out the best in those around him.”
  • “Nearly every time I enter the school, she is there, smiling, offering an encouraging word, and asking about our day. She knows each child by name and offers hugs and smiles abundantly.”
  • “She cares deeply about the education of each child in her care but is also concerned with the whole person and meeting a wide variety of needs. More than anything, she seeks to lead them to Jesus.”
  • “She well-understands the unique ministry we are in and navigates it well. She serves as a consultant and model for other colleagues too, who may not have as much experience in teaching the faith.”

You get the idea. God has truly blessed our world with thousands of faithful, dedicated, and competent educators who are committed to their ministries in Lutheran schools and congregations. I pray that you have experienced the support and encouragement from others around you which you richly deserve in your ministry. Please reach out and thank your colleagues for their roles as well! In fact, consider submitting the name of someone for national recognition in the next round of nominations (coming in early fall).

Are you curious about seeing the names of those who have been selected for awards through the years? You can find lists of 227 award recipients in all categories here.

I’ll close with the verse that we include on most of award plaques:

The Lord your God … celebrates and sings because of you (Zephaniah 3:17)

Please share any stories that you have about Lutheran educators who have specifically impacted your life and ministry.

Posted in , ,

Jon is the Executive Director of LEA. He has served in that position since 1997. He previously served as Director of Education at Concordia University, Ann Arbor and 15 years as teacher and administrator at schools in Texas and Michigan. Jon is actively involved as a speaker, consultant, board member, and collaborator with schools and organizations on six continents.

Leave a Comment