Every other month we get an update on what’s been happening recently at our
Immanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
We read of a problem in the early New Testament church. It involved using, in a coordinated and effective way, the gifts that the Spirit of God had given to the Christians.
“Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.’” (Acts 6: 1-4)
The overall work of the ministry was suffering because those gifted for “table-serving” were not being used while at the same time, those gifted for teaching the Word of God were being sidetracked. So the work was reassigned according to the Spirit’s allocation of gifts, and we read that “then the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” (Acts 6:7a).
And so our churches today realize the value of having lay-people use their gifts from the Spirit to support those gifted to be teachers and pastors of the Word. We have boards of property and elders and deacons and ladies’ aids and help from ushers and counters and secretaries and other such “support groups” so that our called servants can tend to the Word of God and not be sidetracked.
That principle also carries over to those servants called by the larger fellowship: professors on the campus of Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary.
There is, of course, a group of paid supporters: office personnel, groundskeepers, kitchen staff, janitors, and the like. But to stretch our Cooperative Budget Plan offerings a bit further, the 2010 Convention of the CLC established the Immanuel Professorage Committee (IPC), a committee of volunteers to maintain and improve the thirteen homes owned by the CLC for housing professors.
Minor issues involving plumbing, electrical, appliances, or heating and cooling are handled by the IPC. In addition, the IPC has organized bigger improvements including re-shingling, new windows and siding, remodels of bathrooms and kitchens, and floor coverings. Most of the thirteen homes are over fifty years old, but have seen little improvement over their years until now.
This past summer, the IPC oversaw the updating of one professorage for the arrival of the Dan Schierenbeck family, a remodel of bathrooms for the professorage used by the Sipperts, and improvements to the professorage now being used by the Reim family. Next up is a complete rework of the professorage formerly used by the Sullivan family in an effort to get it ready for the professor being called for the 2020-21 school year.
The IPC has the potential to save money and stretch your offerings. For example, the IPC can re-shingle three roofs for the price of hiring outsiders to do one roof. The IPC tries to save money by buying materials wisely and by using volunteer help.
But for this to work, the IPC needs the support of the larger fellowship. Obviously, offerings are needed to buy supplies and fund repairs. Likewise, volunteers are needed to accomplish major makeovers. IPC would like to thank all those who have served over the years and invite others to join in future efforts.
And, of course, we can use your prayers as we all seek to “serve tables” so that our professors can serve our youth with the Word of God.
Paul Tiefel, Jr., is associate pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.