By John Brandt
When Crucified 2014 on Concordia Wisconsin’s campus ended, I greatly enjoyed listening to my daughter recount her week as a College Conference Volunteer (CCV). She mentioned President Harrison’s outstanding plenary session, the intriguing breakaway sessions she attended and her circle of CCV chums that keeps expanding with every Higher Things conference. I was happy for her and the young men and women that would return to their families, friends, congregations, and schools with a week’s worth of Divine Service, Matins, Vespers, Evening Prayer, Compline and Lutheran instruction by confessional Lutheran pastors and speakers.
Now what? How can the ripple effect of a great, confessional Lutheran youth conference benefit the young men and women long after Chris Loemker has played the last note of the last hymn during the closing service of a Higher Things conference?
Consider becoming a Lutheran school teacher.
Before I attempt to convince you, let me digress. Perhaps it was because I was in the middle of reading my students’ Beowulf essays, but when I glanced at the C.F.W. Walther poster in my room (Yes, I really have his poster on my high school classroom wall) I thought it resembled the iconic Uncle-Sam-Wants-You poster. The connection clicked. C.F.W. Walther… and principals and teachers and parents and future students want you to be a Lutheran school teacher.
Visually, Walther as Uncle Sam isn’t that much of a stretch. Well, not if you squint long enough. Not seeing it? Keep squinting. In the meantime, let me explain why I think you should consider my proposition.
Your interest in Higher Things is what every Lutheran school needs. We need young men and women who desire to become experts in English, history, math, music, physics and other subjects. We need young men and women who understand the importance of teaching God’s Word in all its truth and purity (Titus 1:9). We need young men and women who understand the important distinction between Law and Gospel. We need young men and women who possess a passion for the Divine Service and liturgical worship. We need young men and women who know the difference between teaching about the saving Gospel and actually teaching the saving Gospel. We need young men and women who understand and use hymns that teach Christ and His redemptive work on the cross.
As a Lutheran teacher you will have daily opportunities to share God’s Word with your students. You can instill the value of great hymns by teaching and singing them with your students. Remember what singing “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God” was like at the conference? What about “God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It”? As a teacher at a Lutheran school, you are free to share the hope and truth of those and many other hymns by teaching and singing them for chapel or a classroom assignment or even during indoor recess.
This past year, my A.P. literature class was reading George Orwell’s 1984 and we were discussing the destruction of words and the harm it causes. It was a perfect transition to the importance of remaining steadfast in God’s Word and examining this excerpt from Luther’s Large Catechism, “Therefore, you must always have God’s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle, and the Word does not make a sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware.” (LC I 100) The night’s assignment was to explain parallels between Ingsoc’s Newspeak and Matthew 13:24-30. Now that’s my version of a Lutheran teacher’s trifecta: literature, the Book of Concord, and God’s divine Word!
Each day will be filled with opportunities like that to share God’s wisdom, love and mercy with your students.
As a Lutheran teacher you can also be a Lutheran drama director, forensics leader, choir instructor, and coach. These roles will present many opportunities to teach, counsel and remind your students they are cleansed in Christ’s blood and their worth is found in Christ crucified, not in trophies, ribbons or conference championships.
The final reason you should consider becoming a Lutheran teacher is the day of your installation where you will vow…
Lutheran schools desperately need young men and women who dare to be Lutheran and who dare to teach Lutheranism.
Lutheran schools want you to be a Lutheran teacher!!
John Brandt has been a Lutheran high school English teacher for 29 years and currently serves Lutheran High School North in Macomb, Michigan as the Academic Dean, English dept. chair and teaches A.P. Literature and expository writing, while coaching the Freshmen Fillies, Lutheran North’s freshmen girls’ basketball team. He would love to answer any of your questions about becoming a Lutheran teacher. You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org.