Concordia Nebraska hosts luncheon for church work students

Published by Amy Crawford 3 months ago on Mon, Nov 20, 2023 1:31 PM
Students at the luncheon participated in a
Students at the luncheon participated in a "What is your why?" activity, where they discussed their purpose behind pursuing church work.

On Tuesday, November 14, Concordia Nebraska hosted the university’s first church work student luncheon.  

“The idea for the event was sparked by Concordia President Dr. Bernard Bull’s challenge to the university church work curation team to host a church work-focused student event each semester,” explained Dr. Lorinda Sankey, dean of the Concordia Nebraska College of Education. “We worked with faculty across campus to ensure a date and time where all church work students would be available to gather together for learning and fellowship.” 

The event featured networking opportunities and an Italian lunch buffet.  Students from various church work programs were intentionally seated at each table, allowing participants to mingle with those outside of their area of study focus.  All participants were encouraged to participate in icebreakers at each table. 

Several speakers addressed the group including Dr. Jonathan Laabs, Executive Director of Lutheran Education Association (LEA). The program also included a review of the six church work programs at Concordia Nebraska: director of Christian education, director of parish music, classical Lutheran educator, Lutheran Teacher Diploma, pre-deaconess, pre-seminary. 

“The call to serve is not a setting above the priesthood of all believers,” said Dr. Mark Blanke, DCE program director. “Our call to public ministry is distinct, but not better than others. The call to serve in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is the call to an individual to be set apart to serve a congregation in public ministry in one of the various professional church vocations.” 

Dr. David Rindt, secondary education program director, spoke to attendees about why he went into church work as a Lutheran teacher. He recalled the story of his parents sending him to Lutheran elementary and high school and the influence that his teachers and pastors had on him majoring in secondary education, choosing to attend Concordia University, Wisconsin, and accepting a call to teach in Lutheran schools.  

Following Rindt’s address, students were asked to document their “why” on cards, and then share their thoughts with other students at their table, resulting in lively and engaging conversation. Many students cited teachers, pastors and church workers who had inspired them. 

Rev. Dr. Brian Gauthier, pre-seminary and pre-deaconess program director shared Romans 10:17 with attendees, reminding them that faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of Christ. He briefly told of his experience of Lutherans witnessing to him and his family to bring them to faith in Jesus, and he encouraged all present to hear God’s word and share it with others now and through their future vocations in the church. 

More than 170 students attended the event, along with 30 Concordia Nebraska faculty and nine LEA board members. There are currently 264 students in church work programs at Concordia Nebraska. 

The next Concordia Nebraska church work student lunch will take place on January 24, 2024.  Guest speaker will be Rev. James Baneck, director of Set Apart to Serve

Are you interested in learning more about church work education opportunities at Concordia Nebraska? Learn more here