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Question
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.

Answer
Clint,

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.

Lutherans

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Rev. Jason P. Peterson

Expertise

I welcome the opportunity to answer questions regarding the beliefs and practices Lutheran Christians, especially questions comparing Lutherans with other Christian denominations or questions which contrast between various kinds of Lutherans. I am especially familiar with the more conservative Lutheran denominations (LCMS, ELS, WELS, etc.). I also take a great interest in examining new Christian movements and popular trends in Christianity from a Lutheran perspective. In addition, I can answer most questions about the original Greek text of the New Testament and its meaning, as well as questions regarding liturgy, evangelism, and preaching. A special area of interest in my ministry is race track chaplaincy/ministry, and I would love to provide information and guidance for anyone interested in this area.

Experience

I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod for the past six years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Burt, IA. I currently serve as chairman of the Commission on Ministerial Growth & Support of the Missouri Synod's Iowa District West and as Track Chaplain at Algona Raceway in Algona, IA. I also write as a religion columnist for two local newspapers.

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Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

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Algona Upper Des Moines (newspaper) Bancroft Register (newspaper)

Education/Credentials
B.A. Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI (Biblical Languages) M.Div. Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Ministry & Missions)

Past/Present Clients
Zion Lutheran Church (Columbia City, IN) Zion Lutheran Church (Altamont, IL) St. John's Lutheran Church (Burt, IA) Zion Lutheran Church (Lu Verne, IA) Algona Raceway (IA) Fairmont Raceway (MN) Hancock County Speedway (Britt, IA) Clay County Fairgrounds Raceway (Spencer, IA)

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