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“Holding Up the Profs’ Hands”


The title is not a misprint; it is an adaptation from a line of a well-known mission hymn: “You can be like faithful Aaron, Holding up the prophet’s hands” (TLH 496:3). This, in turn, is a reference to the biblical event found in Exodus 17:8-13: “Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.’ So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”

Not all are pastors, teachers, and professors in the Church of Jesus. There is an army of lay support, and thankfully so. Where would the body of Christ be if there were no lay support, but only teachers? Jesus has designed the structure of His Church wisely. The members are to support the preachers of the Word so that the Gospel may be proclaimed.

“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Galatians 6:6).

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”
Romans 10:15a).

It is not too hard to see how that plays out on the local level. Members give of their time, talents, and money to provide support for their pastors and Christian day school teachers, the called servants in their midst.

It is not quite as obvious how that support is carried out on the synodical level; that is, for the workers called by the whole church body. Such workers include our missionaries both here and overseas, as well as the professors on the campus of Immanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Some of the regular offerings to the local church go to the general budget of the synod (the Cooperative Budget Plan) and are used to support the salaries and benefits for these called workers.

But how can time and talents be given?

Several years ago the Convention formed a special committee called the Immanuel Professorage Committee (IPC) and charged the IPC to oversee the maintenance and improvement of the professorages on the campus of Immanuel. The IPC has been active in assessing what needs to be done and in organizing work crews for various projects. Thanks to a ground swell of volunteer help, usually available during the summer months, we have been able to re-shingle all the professorages, re-side several, put new windows in some, and upgrade a couple of the kitchens and a couple of bathrooms. Funds have also purchased some new furnaces and air conditioners and made possible various repairs, including a number of upgrades to electrical systems.

The many hours that volunteers have given to this purpose have stretched the limited funds to accomplish much more than would have been possible if the work had been hired out.

Several special offerings to the IPC have also furthered the work. Such funds enabled us this past year to rework one bathroom and one kitchen.

We want to thank all who have contributed time and talent and money for these projects. Part of the thanks goes to those families living in the professorages who have offered their patience and understanding, necessary ingredients in any such do-it-yourself projects.

Even though we are still in the cold of winter, the IPC is already planning projects for summer of 2015—and beyond. Watch your church bulletin for an insert with more details. And consider ways that you can help hold up the profs’ hands—all with the goal of proclaiming the Gospel of salvation.

Paul Tiefel, Jr. is pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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