‘Jesus Christ Is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever’ was the theme of the 1999 CLC Teachers Conference which was hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church of Mankato, Minnesota from October 13-15. Fifty-four teachers from twelve different states enjoyed the opportunity for fellowship and spiritual growth.
Each day the conference was opened with a devotion by Matthew Thurow (Spokane, Wash.). Using the conference theme, he showed that Christ was the Master Teacher yesterday as He patiently instructed His disciples and then prepared them to teach in His place. Jesus is still the Master Teacher today as He works through His called workers. They are like Christ’s substitutes with the Master Teacher at their sides. They have the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). Finally, Jesus will be the Master Teacher forever as His Word is passed down from one generation to another (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The papers which were presented to the conference covered a variety of topics, but they all had two things in common–stressing the power of prayer in the teaching ministry and the necessity of using God’s Word in everything we do.
Philip Strike (Phoenix, Ariz.) offered many practical ideas for “Getting Students to Turn in Work that Is on Time, Complete, and Done Well.” He also encouraged the teachers to pray for their students and to lead them to make the best use of the gifts that God has given them.
Barb Gurgel (Eau Claire, Wis.) presented many helpful suggestions on “How We Can Help the Lonely Child and the One that Just Doesn’t Fit In.” “Training these fearful, shy children to see themselves as brothers and sisters of Christ is a task we take on as Christian educators.”
Thomas Skinner (Markesan, Wis.) spoke on the use of “Rewards in the Classroom,” reminding the teachers that “if we keep the soul the goal of our education, then any motivation that we use will have Christ at the center.”
Two Title Five papers were presented. Laila Fleischer (Mankato, Minn.) covered the topic of “Teaching Nutrition and Hygiene to Grades 5-8” with an interesting presentation and helpful handouts. Donna Klammer (Mankato, Minn.) involved all the teachers in a hands-on physical education lesson on bowling.
The teachers were privileged to have several pastors speak to the conference. Pastor Wayne Eichstadt (Mankato, Minn.) presented “A Study of Proverbs and Applications for Living Today.” With this overview of the entire book of Proverbs, the teachers were encouraged to make use of this beautiful and practical book of wisdom in their private lives and in their classrooms. Pastor Elton Hallauer (Morris, Minn.) showed the conference “What Constitutes Teacher Misconduct” from a spiritual point of view, as he reviewed the nature of the divine call and also from the world’s viewpoint as seen in Minnesota state policies.
Pastor Paul D. Nolting (Mankato, Minn.) reviewed the book Teaching Law and Gospel by William E. Fischer. He highly recommended the book for all the teachers as a guide for dealing with children in the Christian classroom. Pastor L. Dale Redlin (Mankato, Minn.–retired) reviewed Christ Light, the new WELS Sunday School material. He found that “the material appears to be well done and in general, quite user-friendly.”
One of the highlights of the conference was the Wednesday evening service conducted by Pastor Paul Fleischer (Sleepy Eye, Minn.). The teachers were encouraged with the words from Acts 2:37-40 that “The Promise Is For Us and Our Children.” Special music was provided by the organist, Barry Hay (Markesan, Wis.), and by two choirs directed by Lane Fischer (Mankato, Minn.) The conference choir sang “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” and the Immanuel High School and Grade School Choir sang “Christ Is With Me.” The offering was designated to go toward the cost of reprinting Prof. Michael Sydow’s Catechism.
R & R was provided for the teachers in the form of a field trip on Thursday afternoon to an historic site 14 miles north of Mankato called Traverse des Sioux. An important Indian treaty was signed at this fording place in 1851. On Thursday evening many of the teachers enjoyed playing volleyball.
The conference re-elected Karl Olmanson as president and elected Sara Pfeiffer as the new secretary. The 2000 Teachers Conference will be held in Saginaw, Mich. from October 11-13. In 2001 the conference will be in Phoenix, Ariz. from October 17-20.
As always the teachers left the conference feeling refreshed, spiritually edified, and encouraged to return to their calling with renewed zeal to do the work of the Lord.
(We regret that we have no pictures, since those taken are no longer available. — Ed.)