A Sucession Plan
I’m guessing that Mr. Hoffman was not thinking about his succession plan when he was teaching my 6th grade class at Danz Elementary School in Green Bay, WI. He was just a young public school teacher working on his master’s degree.
Mr. Hoffman taught me how to outline, a skill I use today in writing sermons. He taught me to write theme papers using conversation text, a thesaurus, and creativity. I use these very skills in my many writing assignments today. Mr. Hoffman taught me to do a job well done the first time, that there are no shortcuts in doing something well, as I stayed after many nights correcting poorly-done assignments. Mr. Hoffman led an exercise where one student gave instructions to draw a picture and the other student would have to draw it. To this day, I strive to state clear and precise instructions and goals.
Who would be “Mr. Hoffman” for the students coming through sixth grade in the years and generations to come? Who was your “Mr. Hoffman?” You are “Mr. Hoffman” to your students, and even more. You teach God’s Word! Through you teaching God’s Word, the Holy Spirit creates and sustains saving faith in your students every day. Life skills are great and needed in serving our neighbor, but God’s Word and salvation is forever!
I wonder if Mr. Hoffman had a succession plan. How would he or the school system make sure there were more “Mr. Hoffmans” to shape and form children into adults for upcoming classes? Whether you’re young or nearing retirement, just earned your bachelor’s degree or working on your master’s, teaching early childhood, elementary, or high school – I ask you this: what is your succession plan? How will we supply our Lutheran classrooms where God’s Word is taught everyday with Mr. Schmidts, Ms. Humphreys, or Mrs. Jones for years and generations to come?
I have an answer – Set Apart to Serve. To be honest, there aren’t enough of you. There is a great shortage of Lutheran school teachers who not only teach all subjects with excellence, but who also teach the Scriptures in accord with the Lutheran Confessions for saving faith. Two years ago, there was a request for 450 new graduating teachers from our Concordia universities. There were only 98 available. The shortage is troubling because this means fewer faithful Lutheran teachers are teaching the faith to our children for their life and salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Set Apart to Serve is not the only answer to our succession plan, but it is a good answer. It’s an answer being developed and endorsed across the Synod. It is the answer that encourages influential adults like you to form and encourage your students to consider the sacred and joyful vocation of being a Lutheran school teacher. Please go to https://www.lcms.org/set-apart-to-serve to discover the SAS resource hub that provides Lutheran teachers with guides and helps to form and encourage future Lutheran teachers for generations to come. Now, that’s a succession plan!
Rev. Dr. James Baneck
Executive Director, LCMS Pastoral Education
and Set Apart to Serve