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May "Warrior Thought"

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A May “Warrior Thought”

As a reminder, in each of these publications, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.”  I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

The following statement comes from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”

To Seek Out the Lost:  Lutheran schools, which enroll children from all parts of the community, provide new and varied opportunities for evangelism by the congregation and its staff.  These opportunities are not available in any other way.  That's why Lutheran schools are considered the most effective agencies in congregational evangelism and why pastors of growing congregations with schools in nearly every case, identify the school as the congregation's most effective outreach agency.  Eighty-five percent of the fastest growing congregations in the Synod operate schools.

Last spring we spent some time utilizing an outside consultant to assist our ministry in the review and further clarification of our vision.  During one of the sessions collecting constituent feedback, our table was discussing improving enrollment and how to create additional diversity in our student body.  One of the participants made a great point that has continued to resonate with me.  “If you work to be a school of excellence, you will attract all types of students because they want to be part of something great.  Once you have them in the door, then you get to do ministry with them.”  

What a great argument for the continued pursuit of excellence.  It is what drives our Warrior Team to never stop improving.  Our primary focus in ministry is to share Christ with our students.  Such a focus on Jesus will always define us.  Being excellent allows us to share Christ with more students.  Helping our students maximize their God-given abilities in a setting where there faith is nurtured makes for a wonderful educational experience.

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

“Bigger is Better, Right?”

The nation is full of large and impressive looking high schools, both public and private. A quick tour through some of the area high schools will reveal beautiful gyms, weight rooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, and labs.  It seems only natural that parents would take one look around at the facilities, programs, classes, and activities that a larger public school has to offer and think, “That’s what we want for our son or daughter.”

For smaller parochial schools, like Wolf River Lutheran High School, it is nearly impossible to compete with the endless stream of resources (tax dollars) that a public high school can pour into its programs and facilities.  So in the face of that kind of competition, why would anyone choose a smaller, Christian school? Ask yourself this, “What’s more important…an impressive laundry list of facility features and activities or a spiritually nurturing atmosphere?”

The truth of the matter is that, in time, it is possible to have both!  Many Lutheran high schools have started with nothing more than a handful of students and a borrowed building.  With God’s help, Wolf River Lutheran High School will increase in enrollment and add programs and facilities that rival the best public schools.  Countless Lutheran high schools have experienced similar growing pains only to grow and become regionally and nationally recognized for academic excellence, win state championships in sports, offer valuable services to their communities, and produce well prepared students year in and year out, all while maintaining a focus on Jesus Christ.  In fact, the only real obstacle to achieving many of these goals is having a larger student body.  To that end, we take steps every day to make WRLHS more attractive to area families. We need your support too!

Even at our current size, WRLHS provides advantages that a larger public high school simply cannot:

Students are less likely to get lost in the shuffle

Our teachers and administrators know all of the students in the building.  That kind of intimacy can be a key to the academic and spiritual development of a student.  WRLHS is dedicated to making connections with all students. Relationships, not facilities, are what make a school excellent.

Class sizes are smaller

Instead of class sizes of 30 or more that can be found at larger schools, most Christian schools have class sizes that are in the 15-20 range on average with many advanced courses having even smaller class sizes.

Opportunities to participate in extracurricular are greater at WRLHS

Simple math dictates that a student’s odds of “making a team” or “getting a part” are better if they are competing against fewer people.  Beyond that, smaller teams and greater opportunity to actively participate in other extracurricular activities means that a higher percentage of students are actively involved.  Put simply, at WRLHS, it is easier to get involved and have a quality experience outside of the classroom.

We are a family

At a smaller school, students, parents, and teachers feel as if they are part of community in which they can take pride and have input.  People know each other and relationships become the foundation for excellence.  A caring, Christian environment that values each student as a special child of God is a wonderful thing.  When that environment is small enough that kids do not get lost in the shuffle, it’s even better.

We have serious plans to grow - including construction of a new school

We recognize that our current building isn’t quite what we need it be so we are in the readiness phase of a capital fundraising campaign to raise funds to build a new school on the south side of Shawano.  The school will be built at the intersection of WI-22 and WI-29 on 25+ acres of land already owned by the school.  This proposed structure will not only better meet the needs of our current student body, but provide plenty of potential regarding future growth and needs.

Each year Lincoln Lutheran has students who chose not to re-enroll.  There is a wide variety of reasons for a move to a different school.  I believe that one contributing factor to a majority of the decisions to enroll elsewhere is tied to the “allure” of the larger school.  Reasons stated from families ranges from “course options” to “clubs and activities” to finding a different niche of friends.  

I regularly share with people that Lincoln Lutheran is a Class C school in a Class A pool.  We often feel pressure to offer more, to do more, to be more.  In the end, we are called to make sure we are doing an excellent job with what we have.  We should only grow programs and opportunities in a strategic manner that can be sustained.  In many ways, being a smaller school is what sets us apart in this community.  There are more than enough co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities available at Lincoln Lutheran to keep a student crazy-busy.  The blessing is they can try everything and be a part of as much, or as little as they want.  

I am not a believer that bigger is better.  We recognize increased enrollment allows us to consider additional variety in offerings.  Growing too big would take away the intimacy that is so important to our school community.  Our staff knows their students - very well.  Knowing students so well allows for stronger ministry.  After all, ministry is why we are here!

As we transition into summer, I pray God continues to surround Lincoln Lutheran with a hedge of protection and care.  I pray that our families continue to reaffirm their commitment to Christian education and the role it plays in the development of their children.  I pray for an abundant harvest of students to serve starting in just a few short weeks!  I pray for rest, rejuvenation and a rekindling of the passion that brings our staff to 1100 N. 56th Street every day!

God bless the beginning of summer break!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

https://luthed.org/page/view/id/4/name/Why_Lutheran_Schools%253F

http://wrlhs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Why-Lutheran-High-Booklet-Fi...


Eighth Grade Poetry Reading Night

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Thursday evening, Lincoln Lutheran's 8th grade English classes hosted a Poetry Recitation Night for family and friends at a local coffee shop. 8th grade writers gathered together with excitement to read their original poetry and celebrate their work during National Poetry Month.

Mrs. Nicholas' English students took National Poetry Month seriously this April. They drafted poetry, read poems daily, and revised their work in order to grow in crafting figurative language and theme. They succeeded immensely in composing interesting verses, which inspired their teacher, Mrs. Nicholas, to gather their poems together and print an Anthology called Lincoln Masquerade: Poetry from the 8th Grade

In this unit, Mrs. Nicholas gave students the task to 'unmask' the normal things of everyday life with their poetry.  Each student participated in writing the Anthology, and around 20 students attended the Anthology release party and recitation night, this past Thursday at NuVibe Juice & Java!

The crowd enjoyed smoothies and coffee in the outdoor patio, while flipping through their copies of the Anthology. Mrs. Nicholas welcomed parents and opened with a prayer before reading her own poetry. Students then recited poems of their choosing. 

"These students did such a great job. I am so proud of them," Mrs. Nicholas reflected on the experience. "It is so important for teachers to write along side their students to remind them of the gift God has given us in language. I was so happy that Mrs. Olp, Miss Carr, and my husband, a long term substitute at Lincoln Lutheran, showed up and read their own poetry!"

The poems of the evening ranged from topics of nature, like trees, birds, and nature, to emotions, like courage and anxiety. Many wrote about the difficulties of growing up. Mrs. Olp read her poem recounting the 8th Grade Class trip to Kansas City that left the whole group laughing! Several students read their work out the Lincoln Masquerade Anthology, but others were inspired to write new poems to bring to the "stage." Overall, these middle schoolers showed their immense writing skills and confidence during this celebration of poetry! 

 


Community Outreach Team April Events

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COT Strikes up Support for Big Brother Big Sister

April’s outreach event was unique in the fact that we went bowling – I’m quite certain that’s a first. It was like many other events though in the fact that we really enjoyed being together. Two teams (teachers vs. seniors) raised funds to donate to Big Brother Big Sister’s annual fundraising drive: “Bowl for Kids Sake” held at Sun Valley Lanes.

“It was easy going and fun to participate in” said senior Ashlee Mitchell. “And, knowing it is for a great cause makes it even more meaningful.”

The two teams’ combined effort raised hundreds of dollars in support of this mentoring service. According to its website, (http://www.hbbbs.org), Big Brothers Big Sisters’ impact on our community’s boys and girls is significant.

“We are so grateful to have a strong partnership with Lincoln Lutheran,” said Nicole Hecht Juranek, Director of Corporate Relations. “Our organization depends on the commitment of our volunteers, contributions from our donors and collaborations with our community partners. We have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know teachers and students from Lincoln. We look forward to working together in the future.”

In addition to creating more positive attitudes toward school performance and family relations, researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their “bigs”, the “littles” brothers and sisters are:

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
27% less likely to begin using alcohol
52% less likely to skip school
37% less likely to skip a class
46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs


Partnership with Brownell Elementary is a Meaningful Ride

Wednesday, April 29th at Brownell Elementary (60/Aylesworth) from 6-8pm, Lincoln Lutheran volunteers helped youngsters learn bicycle safety. Students managed safety stations that helped elementary students learn bicycle skills and safety rules. It would be more than fair to say that watching the high schooler’s expressions was even more charming than watching 2nd graders learning to weave figure-eights on a bike.


“It was really fun talking to the kids,” said junior Kacey Kohlhof. “We talked about more than just bicycle safety and it was fun to make a connection with them.”

Brownell’s after school program marks the 14th organization served by the Community Outreach Team in its first year. Service efforts have resulted in over 740 hours by 140 unique volunteers.

The event for May will be serving a meal at the Gathering Place. Contact Joel Stoltenow (jstoltenow@lincolnlutheran.org) for more information.


April "Warrior Thought"

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An April “Warrior Thought”

This Warrior thought represents the fifth of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.”  I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

          The following statement comes from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”

To Provide a Safe, Caring Place for Children:  Unfortunately, in many communities children are not safe.  Lutheran schools provide places where children don't have to worry about being attacked verbally or physically.  Loving teachers and other staff members daily demonstrate Christ's love for them and their love for children.

 

As parents we want our children to be safe.  Our Warrior staff serves families in the name of Christ.  This means we can care for students in a different way.  As a team, we are unified in loving students in a way that Christ modeled for us in scripture. 

Very recently I attended the funeral for the parent of two recent alumni.  This woman was a product of Lutheran secondary education.  She died at age 57, before anyone was ready for her to be called home to heaven.  God knew it was time.  He invited her home.  She had a deep and firm faith-foundation, part of which was in place because of the Christ-centered education she received.

 

She loved her family, and as a mom she loved and cared for her children.  Christian education was a priority in their home.  I sat next to three fellow staff members during the funeral.  Our hearts hurt for this family.  Serving in a ministry where God’s gift of grace is at the core causes each of us to take our job very seriously.  There are eternal consequences for these young people.  It means we love deeper, in a manner only possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I am so thankful to be able to place my three girls in an environment where I know each and every team member has heaven as the ultimate goal.  I know they are loved in an everlasting love - extended by God, through Christ, by way of servant-oriented teachers and staff.  Our Lutheran schools aren’t perfect.  Sometimes fellow students are unkind.  Sometimes staff makes mistakes.  But I have confidence knowing the greater good my children receive more than outweighs a bump in the road along the way. 

 

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

 

Doesn’t a Christian high school shelter students from the real world? Shouldn’t teens experience the real world found in public high schools?

 

The “sheltering concern” regarding Christian education makes two erroneous assumptions about the spiritual nature of the world in which we live:

1. Teenagers need to experience (or be around) sin to know how to avoid it.

2. A Christian high school is somehow without sin (or does not have as much sin) as a public high school.

Let’s start with the first assumption. Scripturally speaking, the Bible does not teach that you should surround yourself with sin 35-50 hours a week and then you’ll know how to avoid it. In fact, the Bible makes a clear case for avoiding temptation and evil influences. One need not experience or observe sin to know that it is wrong. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthian 15, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" In Proverbs 15, King Solomon states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

What are proponents of the “real world experience” hoping to accomplish? At best, it could mean subjecting teenagers to unnecessary peer pressure. At worst, teenagers may ultimately be in an environment that will not respect (and possibly denigrate) their Christian faith. The overriding humanistic philosophies of mainstream academia – Darwinism, moral relativism, secular humanism, etc. – WILL have an effect on the development of a teenager’s outlook. It is hard to see the logic in subjecting adolescents to unnecessary pressure to abandon the Christian truths that have been instilled in them from Baptism. At a time when teens are most vulnerable to influence, is it really wise to surround them with an increase in non-Christian influences?

As for the second assumption, does enrolling a teenager in a Christian high school mean that they won’t have to deal with temptations and other tests of their faith? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Put simply, Christian high schools, including Wolf River Lutheran High School, can have the same problems as any public high school. Anyone who has worked in or attended a Christian school can verify that fact. All of the same issues that arise in other high schools – bullying, drinking, sex, and drugs – can occur in a Christian high school too. So what, then, is the value of a Christian secondary education?

The best benefit lies in the approach to sin – a careful balance of Law and Gospel. Wolf River Lutheran High School students experience temptations like their public schools counterparts – but we use different weapons!

 

Because Jesus Christ conquered sin on the cross, our spiritual arsenal includes: 

  • Reliance upon Word and sacrament 
  • Clear delineation of Biblically defined right and wrong 
  • Teachers and staff who provide Scriptural Christian advice 
  • A supportive environment of fellow believers that promotes growth in Christ 
  • An atmosphere that exalts obedience to God’s Word 
  • Forgiveness given freely 
  • Appropriate consequences assigned when actions call for it 
  • Recognition of each student as a dearly loved child of God

What is “real world” anyway?

At Wolf River Lutheran High School, our students face real challenges, real expectations, real accountability, and real problems. There is no doubt that our students are in the real world every single day. However, as we are reminded in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but…you are not of the world…I chose you out of the world…” Therefore, our Lutheran trained teachers stress the importance of not succumbing to the world’s expectations. In short, we encourage our students to be IN the world, but not OF it (Romans 12:2).

 

This is an argument for choosing public schools that I hear a lot.  I would like to affirm two points.  First, we know we are far from perfect at Lincoln Lutheran.  Mistakes are made.  We are sinful people.  However, we get to work through mistakes and issues using a common ground as Christians, balancing Law and Gospel.  This is not the case in public schools.

Second, society is winning the battle for the attention of our children.  Just probe with your children about some of the hot topics in the media.  Scripture provides us with absolute truth about right and wrong.  Movies, blogs, opinion pages, advertisements and popular music bombard youth with messages attacking any notion of absolute truth, doing everything they can to convince the consumer we have the right to choose “anything” in life – and that no one should tell us we are wrong. 

The sheer magnitude of these messages should be affirmation enough to place our students in a daily environment that teaches them to think critically with a Christian Worldview.  We are training up Warriors to be a light in an ever darkening world.  They need as much training as we can give them.  Thanks be to God we have the Gospel message to reaffirm in our children to take out into our community.

God’s blessings on these final weeks of school.  I am thankful for the opportunity we have at Lincoln Lutheran to love students in Christ!

 

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

 

https://luthed.org/page/view/id/4/name/Why_Lutheran_Schools%253F

http://wrlhs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Why-Lutheran-High-Booklet-Fi...

 


A March "Warrior Thought"

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This Warrior thought represents the fourth of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.”  I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

The following statement comes from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”

To Help Children See All of Their Lives from the Perspective of God's Word:

As the Christian faith is integrated into their lives, Christian decision-making and problem solving are facilitated.

Preparation is the word that comes to mind when I read the statement above.  

Think about the number of decisions we make each day.  Every decision results in consequences, either good or bad.  Most decisions are relatively small and are made without critical thought.  Some decisions are monumental and could alter the course of life.  Even as an adult, I don’t always wrestle through tough decisions by contemplating “What would Jesus do?”  We are blessed at Lincoln Lutheran to help students grow in their decision-making skills daily.

There is so much information readily available to our children.  They can type a few key strokes or ask Siri to find what they need.  Every piece of information is created with underlying assumptions and influences.  Yes - I said every piece!  Christ-centered education can help build the skills our students need to think critically about the information they consume.  The longer our youth learn in an environment that will challenge them to think critically as a Christian, with a Christ-centered worldview, the better equipped they will be to navigate the misinformation that exists in the world.  Because the brain doesn’t fully mature until after high school, secondary Christian education is critical in preparing students to function with a Christian worldview as an adult!  

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to questions they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

Shouldn’t Christian teens be witnesses in the public high school system?

Aren’t Christians called to be the ‘salt and the light?’

Witnessing for Christ takes on three basic forms: intentional evangelism, sharing Christ through word and deed, and defending the faith.  Ask yourself this, is the average Christian teenager equipped to actively engage in all three types?  For example, are they ready to answer questions like these if posed to them by a classmate or a teacher?

How do you know that God exists?  Isn’t the Bible just a book of legends and half-truths?  How do you know that Jesus really rose from the dead?  What right do you have to suggest that Christianity is the only way to heaven?  Aren’t all religions valid?  Don’t they all end in the same result?  If your God is so great, why do bad things happen?

Better yet, direct these types of questions to a teenager you know.  If his or her answers are slow to come, vague, or sound less than confident, then you might want to consider the possibility that many teens may not be an open witness for Jesus Christ or an active defender of the faith in a secular environment.  A FEW Christian teenagers may well have the gift of evangelism and actively speak of their faith in the public high school setting.  For others, their actions and relationships may be an effective Christian model for their peers.  Yet, the majority of adolescents will be uncomfortable speaking of their faith or openly resisting peer negative pressure largely because they are undertrained, untested, and discouraged from doing so.

The analogies are endless.  We don’t send untrained soldiers into combat, we don’t call pastors to lead a congregation without first going to the seminary, and we don’t let surgeons operate without proving their expertise.  Doesn’t it seem a little odd that we would send our Christian youth into a non-Christian environment with only the slightest hope of being effective witnesses?

The teachers of Wolf River Lutheran High School are committed and trained to teach their students to be witnesses to others and to better defend their Christian faith effectively in an open marketplace of ideas.  The existence of God, the historical reliability of the Bible, Jesus’ resurrection, and the validity of Christianity as a proper worldview are topics that are objectively studied within our walls and across all academic disciplines.  God’s Word is used to educate students as disciples.  Our students can then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, be a bold witness and example to their peers and acquaintances both during and beyond their high school years.  In fact, you could make the argument that the emphasis of evangelism and proper guidance while attending a Christian high school may increase the likelihood of a teen sharing his or her faith with a non-Christian peer.

Sharing Jesus Christ can be a daunting task even for mature adults.  Development as a disciple for Christ is a life-long affair.  Therefore, it is important for us as Christians to arm our youth with the tools that they need to adequately defend their faith and spread the Gospel.  It is vital to live the words of St. Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give a reason to anyone who asks for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Wolf River Lutheran High School believes that a Christian education through 8th grade, the successful completion of Confirmation, and regular participation in personal Bible study are all valuable steps in the spiritual maturation process.  However, we also firmly believe that a Christ-centered secondary education can prove invaluable to both student and family and is capable of strengthening the mind and soul of any teen – Christian or not.

Because this is so well written, I don’t have a lot to add.  We certainly desire for our students to grow the skills and confidence to be bold in the sharing of their faith.  This becomes more natural for kids when their personal relationship with God grows deep and when they acquire the knowledge and skills to become confident in sharing their faith.  Let’s be honest, this is tough for most adults.  As a parent, I believe sending my children to Lincoln Lutheran through high school is putting a rock-solid foundation in place so they can be a fertile soil for God to grow His seed for the kingdom!

I will close by sharing that I recently attended the annual Association of Lutheran Secondary School’s conference in Nashville, TN.  I have been blessed to attend this conference a number of times in the past 13 years.  One of the biggest blessings is being reminded of the Lutheran School community that exists around the world.  More importantly, I get to spend time with hundreds of school leaders who care deeply about students and are passionate about the importance of Christian Education!  What a blessing!

God bless your family as you celebrate the gift of grace found in a cross and empty tomb!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

 

http://luthed.org/page/view/id/4/name/Why_Lutheran_Schools%253F

http://wrlhs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Why-Lutheran-High-Booklet-Final.pdf

 

 


COT Events in March

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Saturday, March 14th found 41 students, staff and parents gathered for prayer and devotion before splitting into two groups to serve in the Lincoln Community.  Some sorted, stocked and cleaned at People's City Mission.  Others spent the morning with residents at Lancaster Manor making crafts, assembling supplies for Children’s Hospital and making Easter Eggs for a neighborhood hunt.  And, from Leprechauns to the number Pi, there was joy in serving our neighbors; but, more on that in the lines to follow!


The devotion could be summarized with this phrase: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.”  The point is simple.  We are called to be reunited for eternity with God because of the work of Jesus Christ our Savior.  So, in the meantime a natural response is to be united with Christ by serving our neighbors.  Just like the first apostles, there may be nothing especially impressive about us.  That doesn’t matter.  We are called to lose ourselves in service of others.  As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  And, as the crew found out Saturday, those good works were quite diverse.

    


Girls Soccer Team at Lancaster Manor

As part of a larger team-building effort, the Lincoln Lutheran girls' soccer team worked together to accomplish some off-the-field goals.  Some of the team assembled Easter Eggs (over 1,000 at last count!) to be used in a neighborhood children’s Easter Egg Hunt.  Other girls created an activity book that will be sent to the Children’s Hospital in Omaha.  The remaining girls helped residents with a craft activity.  Last weekend was National Leprechaun Weekend, for those of you who may have forgotten. So, fittingly, the craft activity resulted in many fine art pieces of leprechauns.

    


Students at People’s City Mission

In partnership with Messiah Lutheran’s youth program, the Lincoln Lutheran COT spent Saturday morning cleaning, stocking and organizing goods at People's City Mission.  It was the first time the COT served at PCM, but it most certainly will not be the last.  There was a palpable attitude of joy in service. Volunteers busied themselves with a variety of duties and even enjoyed some pie on national pi day.  So while the leprechauns provided a theme for the soccer team’s service, math and desserts did the same at PCM.


         


FINAL THOUGHTS

Once again, it serves as a great illustration that service is not a “have to” … but rather a “get to.”  Those with servant hearts will find any reason they can to share the love of Jesus.  On a Saturday in March, our Lincoln Lutheran students did just that.  “Well done, good and faithful servants!”


Gala Dinner & Auction

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The 2015 Lincoln Lutheran Gala and Auction is rapidly approaching!  After many years of organizing and working at school auctions in the past, this will be my first Lincoln Lutheran Gala and Auction.  I am very excited to be involved in the planning process and to attend this year. 

The Gala and Auction is a Lutheran Education Foundation event that supports the general operations of Lincoln Lutheran Middle/High School.  It is a special night when everyone comes together to celebrate and support the school that equips young people to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ by providing an excellent, Christ-centered education.

This year our “Founder’s Award” will be presented to Don Duitsman and John Roeber.  This award is given to those who have shown commitment to and steadfast support of the mission of Lincoln Lutheran.  We invite everyone to attend, celebrate, and thank these two for their combined 67 years of dedicated service to the Lincoln Lutheran ministry.

My previous career in Information Technology taught me quickly that CHANGE was inevitable and occurred frequently.  Our 2015 Gala and Auction is no different; there are many changes.

This year’s event will be held Friday, March 27th.   YES, it is on a Friday evening this year, as the following day was not available at the Embassy Suites.  Doors will open at 5:30 pm instead of 5:00 pm, allowing more time for travel after your work day is complete.  This change will be something new for all of us, but we feel it may be a very positive change for the event.

We have many new and unique items for the live auction and the Lutheran Education Foundation has brought back the LEF Scholarship Challenge.  This year, for each $100 donated to the LEF Scholarship Challenge your name will be entered in a drawing for a handmade, custom Lincoln Lutheran quilt that was donated to the school.

It is sure to be another FUN and EXCITING night in the history of Lincoln Lutheran!  If you are planning to attend, you might want to purchase your tickets early as they are going fast.  If you need any additional information or have questions please contact Kristin or Lloyd at 402-467-5404 or you can email us at kbennett@lincolnlutheran.org or lwagnitz@lincolnlutheran.org.

I look forward to seeing you March 27th!

Lloyd Wagnitz
Director of Ministry Advancement


A February "Warrior Thought"

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A February “Warrior Thought”

This Warrior thought represents the third of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education.  As a reminder, in each of these publications, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.”  I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.

Two statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission - School Ministry –

“Why Lutheran Schools”:

To Demonstrate the High Value the Congregation Places on Children:

Lutheran schools require a considerable investment of prayers, energy, money and staff.  Such an investment by a congregation clearly demonstrates to the community that it places a high value on children, God's beloved little ones.

To Fulfill the Congregation's Responsibility for the Christian Education of its Children:

When the Synod was formed, it became a requirement of synodical membership that congregations would provide Christian education for their children.  This was before public schools were available and before Sunday schools were popular.  Thus a congregation was expected to operate a Lutheran School if it was to become a member of the Synod.  The Great Commission was not given only to parents, but to all members of the church.  A current proverb, "It takes a village," reminds congregations that it is their corporate responsibility to provide a Christian education for the children of the congregation.

These two statements represent the true blessing of Lutheran Education.  There is a rich and strong tradition within the LCMS to do what is best for children - to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  The Lincoln Lutheran School Association has seven member and two mission partner congregations.  Most of these churches have either a day school and/or preschool as a part of their ministry.  Those that don’t have schools make considerable resources available each year to encourage families to choose a Lutheran school for their child.  This type of support is part of the DNA of Lincoln’s LCMS Lutheran community.

Being a parent is a very humbling responsibility.  This is not an easy time to raise children.  Our world is full of temptations, relative truth, and many challenging stumbling blocks.  I am thankful that Sara and I don’t have to raise our daughters on our own.  When I think about our Warrior Family, and the Lutheran Schools Family in this community, the proverb “It takes a village” truly applies.  Our families and congregations seek to create a foundation for children built on the ROCK of Christ.  We unite and share resources to make possible an excellent education that teaches a Christian Worldview in a rigorous academic setting to create a wonderful experience for our students – from preschool through high school.

Originally Lutheran Schools were viewed as a way to serve the students within a congregation’s membership.  There are many who still view Lutheran schools this way.  Our schools have become so much more!  While the schools still serve students of the congregations, we also desire to be a resource to families seeking a small, caring, loving and Christian environment for their child, regardless of their church membership.  This type of “Great Commission” ministry allows us to serve students who may come to our campus with limited or no knowledge of Christ.  Some of these students get baptized and join the body of believers.  To God be all the Glory!!!

Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:

Shouldn’t a teenager be able to choose which high school to attend?

One of the toughest challenges faced by any parent is balancing the desire to make their child happy and doing what is in their child’s best interest.  Simply put, teenagers often have issues with decisions their parents make, including decisions related to choosing the right school.  For instance, friends are extremely important to the average 13-14 year old.  It is not surprising that they would want to do what their friends are doing and go where their friends are going.  High school can be a scary proposition in the best of situations and going into a new environment with their best friend at their side can be very appealing and puts pressure on parents to give too much weight to that fact.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking a child’s thoughts on all manner of decisions, including school choice, it is ultimately up to the parents to determine the most appropriate course of action.  When such a decision goes against the child’s will, scripture reminds everyone that parents have the ultimate responsibility of doing what is best, even if the decision isn’t a popular one.

As for the potential loss of friends, the reality is that teenage social circles are constantly evolving…even attending the same school is no guarantee of a life-long friendship.  Personalities change, priorities change, and needs change, all of which can drastically impact a teen’s social outlook for better or for worse.  Besides, they can and will stay in touch with their existing friends wherever they may go, by hanging out after school and on the weekends, texting, and talking on the phone, but they will make new friends as well.  In some ways, in fact, closer, more meaningful friendships are easier to find in smaller, Christian schools like Wolf River Lutheran High School.

The topic of student choice is coming up more and more as decisions are made regarding school enrollment at both the middle school and high school level.  As parents, Sara and I recognize we are fully responsible for our girls through high school graduation.  Once they graduate we will still love them, we will continue to support them in a variety of ways, but they will begin to fly on their own and take more of a role in all of life’s biggest decisions.  Our job as parents is to make sure we provide them everything they need to be a disciple of Christ as an adult.  It is our responsibility to decide what education/school will be best for them.  Our daughters know this.  I believe they find a certain safety and assurance that in our home Christian Education is non-negotiable and a very high priority.

One comment I’ve heard is “my child is very mature and can make the decision for themselves.”  Regardless of how “mature” a child might seem, all the research suggests that the brain doesn’t fully develop until the early to mid-20’s.  An adolescent, regardless of how much responsibility and trust they might have earned from a parent’s perspective, simply doesn’t have the wisdom and bigger picture decision-making skills of an adult.  I certainly want to give my daughters more and more responsibility as they show they can handle it, but their elementary and secondary education is not on that list of responsibilities.

I pray that a Christian education already is, or might soon become, a non-negotiable in the homes of our current and prospective students.  If it isn’t non-negotiable, school choice for our children starts to compete with a lot of other noise - cost, friends, convenience, programs, athletics - the list goes on.  Once it becomes negotiable, kids are smart and they know all the right buttons to press.  Our children are too valuable to let the noise creep in.

I am so appreciative of all those who’ve paved the way to make Lutheran Education possible within our community.  I look forward to continued efforts to provide a ministry parents can trust to connect their desire for growing their children in Christ with strong programs and academics.  I pray we can work together to quiet the noise that can get in the way of celebrating the amazing work God is doing in lives of our students and their families.

May God Bless our journey through Lent as we look ahead to a cross we deserve and an empty tomb we did nothing to earn!  Thank God for His grace found only in Christ!

Because of Him,

Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS

https://luthed.org/page/view/id/4/name/Why_Lutheran_Schools%253F

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COT at Center for People in Need

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Together Everyone Accomplishes More

You may notice the blatantly cliché phrase in this month’s title.  As you probably know, the acronym spells TEAM.  My apologies for the cliché.  However, the reason clichés become overused is because they are simple and true.

Never was this truth more apparent than Saturday, Jan 31st, when the Community Outreach Team spent the morning at Center for People in Need. A total of 39 volunteers, made up of Lincoln Lutheran students, staff and parents, unpacked and organized 22 pallets of donated items.  One of the more touching moments came when a watery-eyed volunteer coordinator shared with us that it would take her staff over a week to accomplish what this group did together in a matter of hours.  Possibly even more touching was our students’ reaction. Without using words, they projected an attitude of “happy to help…”

The COT was bolstered in numbers thanks to the inclusion of the boys’ basketball team, which used it as a team-building service project.  One joy of the day was seeing different groups all working together.  The work was simple: open boxes stacked on pallets and sort the donated goods in preparation for distribution.  Another joy of the day was observing young men and women “get it” so clearly.  That work was simple as well: help those who are helping others in need.

In past events, I have noticed that people are very anxious to do something that involves instant results of service.  And, certainly, that is a good thing.  However, there is also a great need (often times overlooked) for helping those who are doing the serving.  We don’t always need to do everything ourselves.  I guess it ties in once again to the T.E.A.M. mentality.

 “Wow! 22 pallets.   We are so grateful to the Lincoln Lutheran volunteers,” said Special Events Coordination Barb Solomon.  “The Center for People in Need is funded by grants and donations, like the one Lincoln Lutheran made, but we need to have community volunteers to help us assist those in need.”

The day got off to a great start with junior Kacey Kohlhof’s devotion and a basketball mom bringing in bagels and juice.  Kohlhof reminded us that everyone is someone’s “son” or “mom” or “grandparent.”  She had us reflect on the fact that none of us wish for our loved ones to go without care and provisions.  And, those feelings are just the beginning of how God sees each of his creation.  Each person is loved by God and are worthy of giving care and provisions.

This event marks the fifth event this academic year.  Total volunteer hours (446) and total volunteers (90) are well ahead of the goals set by the school when this all began last spring.  A huge thank you to all the people who help grow a culture of love and service at Lincoln Lutheran.

Boys Basketball Coach Jason Glines noted that attitude throughout the day.  “Yes, it is important to serve like we’re doing here today.  But, to me, what is even more important is the serving attitude and the way that service is being done,” Glines said.  “There is always going to be a need in our communities.  If our students learn this at a young age, they are so much more prepared for life.”

If you’d like to help us accomplish more at our next event, please consider how you might help in February.  The event is scheduled for Monday, February 16th at Matt Talbot Kitchen.  We have enough staff to serve the meal.  However, we still need people to donate side dishes or bags of chips.  To do that, you may sign up on the bulletin board at school or contact Mr. Stoltenow (jstoltenow@lincolnlutheran.org). 





Singing Valentines

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The Lincoln Lutheran Choir are selling and delivering Singing Valentines again this year!  Valentines are available in Lincoln and Seward.  You can even request your favorite Lincoln Lutheran music student to deliver the Valentine!  Valentines are $30.00 - order forms are available in the LL office or you can print one from this article.  Orders submitted after February 9th are an additional $5.00.  Call the LL office if you have questions (402.467.5404).  Make your sweetheart's day and order a one-of-a-kind Singing Valentine!