Lutherans/Coming to LCMS from Lutheranism in France
Dear Pr. Peterson,
I am an LCMS layman and a member of some online discussion blogs where I try to discuss Confessional Lutheran beliefs in my spare time. Naturally, I dialog with a wide range of people due to the internet. For about 6 months I've corresponded with a young man from France, I was blessed enough to point him toward a more Confessional Lutheran perspective since he is currently in the Reformed/Lutheran church in France which is more liberal than the LCMS. Anyhow, he is currently finishing up a degree in Education in France. However, he is fluent in English and several other languages. He wants to move to America and teach in an LCMS school for awhile to gain experience in a solid environment. I told him that's a great goal to have but I have no way of knowing how to help him. All I could do was send him links to the LCMS website, and then my own districts's website on requirements for LCMS teachers. He has the degree and is brilliant but what other advice as far as becoming eligible to teach in the LCMS could I give him?
I realize there is no silver bullet answer you can give me. I was just wondering if you knew of what the proper channels he should make contact with would be, or how to get someone's attention to get a potential job in an LCMS school. I know it varies from district to district. I'm just a layman, I don't know folks at my district office or many in LCMS education (though my wife is a teacher in an LCMS school but one that isn't very solid in many areas so we don't feel comfortable pointing him there)? Should one email the district, the national level or what? I fear they receive so much email, phone calls and letters that it's unlikely they'd be able to respond...
Again I realize you can't do much but just any advice on how to approach helping this young man would be much appreciated. He has a zeal for confessional Lutheranism and would be an asset to any LCMS especially because he is multi-lingual..
May God's peace be upon you and your family.
Thanks for your question. I apologize for the delay in responding.
LCMS schools staff teaching positions in 2 ways: The first, and more traditional, way is the called teacher. These teachers are certified as Lutheran School teachers, listed on a roster maintained by the synod, and are called to their positions. They are considered by the IRS to be in "ministry," and have tax status similar to pastors. The second method of staffing teaching positions is with contract teachers. These teachers usually lack the synod certification and therefore do not receive calls. They are considered to be employees by the IRS and have the same tax status as employees in other professions. The reason for these contract teachers is the lack of synod certified teachers on the roster in comparison to the number of teachers needed. These teachers are often restricted from certain duties in LCMS schools, such as leading chapel services or teaching religion classes. Some contract teachers are non-LCMS, but most are LCMS members who simply lack the certification by the synod. This certification can be obtained by state-licensed teachers who are members of LCMS congregations through an online colloquy process.
Your friend could easily teach in one of these contract positions at an LCMS school if he obtains the appropriate teaching license in the state where he will serve. Upon joining an LCMS congregation, he could also begin the colloquy process toward his Lutheran Teacher Diploma. A district president or education executive, depending on the district, would be the best contact for the colloquy process, and the state teacher licensing authority would be the contact to obtain the required license to teach in that state. Once he has completed colloquy, he would be eligible to receive a call and be rostered by the synod as a Lutheran School Teacher.
Obtaining a contract teaching position would be done through the individual Lutheran School, but a district education executive might have leads on who is seeking teachers. Unfortunately, there is no central synod-wide clearinghouse for teaching positions in Lutheran Schools. All called positions are handled by the individual districts, and contract positions by the local schools. Some of the best districts to look into would be Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, and the three Illinois districts, as these seem to have some of the highest concentrations of Lutheran schools, particularly Michigan, which is the synod's largest district.
Regarding the confessional/liturgical character of the school, it is much like synod as a whole--a spectrum of commitment levels, so one would need to look into the individual church/school info. However, websites like http://www.lutheranliturgy.org
can be helpful in identifying some of the congregations of a more liturgically traditional posture.
If you have further or more specific questions, feel free to post a follow-up and I will do my best to help.