There are certain numbers that stand out because they represent something important. The year 1776 reminds us of “The Birth of our Country,” and 9-11 prompts us to remember a tragic day in U.S. history. Michigan District Lutheran schools share the number 90,244, which represents the total amount collected in chapel offerings during the 2014-15 school year by 41 of our 78 Lutheran elementary schools.*
The amount of $90,244 was collected to make an impact not only on a “global scale”—like the over $18,000 collected to support Wheat Ridge ministries ABan Against Neglect in Ghana—but much more to support local organizations all across Michigan that impact the lives of residents in small and large communities. Local food banks, crisis pregnancy centers, cancer victims, and those serving a wide variety of physical and emotional needs were aided by local Lutheran schools extending a helping hand in their community.
Lessons About Stewardship
2 Corinthians 9:7b says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Lutheran congregations with Lutheran schools seek to instill this core value in students as they continue on their journey to becoming good stewards as adults. Three important lessons shared in Lutheran schools about stewardship are:
- God loves a cheerful giver.
- God gives us every blessing we have, including money. We are care-takers.
- The blessings of God are used to help others. See the world through a window, not a mirror.
Having a Positive Impact
There are at least 90,244 methods God uses to work through students and teachers at Lutheran schools in order to impact our culture positively. None of us knows for sure who had “only a meal” and who had a meal that changed their attitude about life or were encouraged because they were reminded that someone cares about them.
Many Lutheran schools combine their offerings with community service learning. They intentionally send capable students (usually high school or junior high) to rake leaves, clean debris, and connect with those in the community who need a friend and want to experience Jesus through interaction with his disciples. Many Lutheran schools have followed the lead of Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, Mich. by building a day around service with an emphasis on impacting their local community.
The money raised through chapel offerings matters! More importantly, Lutheran schools daily strive to show the love of Christ by meeting the needs of the community. Followers of Christ at any age can show compassion. Please keep Lutheran schools in your prayers as preparations are made for another year of learning, growing, sharing, and modeling the faith. If you are a THRIVENT member, you could form an Action Team to assist your school in sharing Christ with the community and impacting the hurting in an even more powerful manner.
*Preliminary total as not all schools have reported their offerings yet.