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The Impact and Blessing of our LEA Convocation: A Gathering of Saints

The 2022 Lutheran Education Association Convocation in Milwaukee is now history, but what a time it was! There could not have been a more apropos theme than that of “Together.” It was collaborative, cooperative, with a “can do” attitude by so many, and it was filled with networking, laughter, incredible sponsors and vendors, prayerful moments, inspiration, meaningful worship, keynotes, featured speakers, and close to 190 presenters. And what a privilege of gratitude to be able to wonderfully honor award recipients from the past three years! After all, recognition creates memories, places people in positions of honor, and blesses them for their hearts of service. There was a notable sense of gratitude from all attendees and from all those who serve in Christian education through our Lutheran ministries.

            It is significant to note that of the 3,000+ attendees, more than 1,000 of them were there for the first time to experience all that a convocation entails. This is a significant statistic. People came from more than 40 states and from four nations from outside the United States. Those who presented shared their various and specific gifts. Sponsors and vendors provided resources, advice, opportunities, innovative give-a-ways, and just plain fun. Many promising conversations took place from booth to booth. Some will have come away with new friends and perhaps lasting relationships.

            As we look to our Convocation theme verses, we hear God’s Word and relate it to our togetherness:

            “In Him you also are being built together…” —Ephesians 2:19–22.

It is through Jesus Christ alone that we receive His great gifts and are equipped, together, to share the message of salvation. In our Lutheran schools, this is indeed a strength! When we gather together, we further equip each other to be even more effective. Our collective Gospel work encourages us as we credit God for our existence, how we in Him – live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28a). Also, how He continually teaches us, together, even through others – all of us being His people.

            The banquet and the large-group gathering provided incredible belly laughs—which is so good for the soul. The Skit Guys did not disappoint. And life stories of triumph over tragedy, with Christ central, share with us how God molds us in undeniable and at times indescribable ways. Scott Hamilton’s heart-felt story pushes us towards continual hope— together.

            One cannot forget the power of staff unity, and the entire process of making it possible to live and grow with a staff, outside the walls of the school, classrooms, and offices. In a presentation when this topic came up, one of the attendees simply said, “I just made it a priority to get my staff here. I knew as soon as I got them here, they would be sold on the convocation experience, forever.” I believed him. There is another reality here—that relationships will grow and create further bonds of Christian love and congeniality as we become more deliberate in our actions.

            So…what about 2025 when we will gather again in the name of Christ? What city will host? What blessings will be noted? Let’s pray for those who plan and lead and encourage every staff ministry to contemplate the reality of attending together. There is an undeniable impact and blessing in our Convocations. We gather as saints. We come away different—reflecting on and thanking God for the goodness of the incredible love He shares with each of us through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thomas Wrege is an educator and principal, with 36 years in Lutheran school leadership. He has a desire to further the kingdom of God by providing rich resources that engage others to further their mission of sharing Jesus Christ throughout the world. He loves to be innovative and to collaborate with others in ministry.

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