Addressing the teacher shortage

Dear Friend,

The numbers are staggering, and they continue to climb. The teacher vacancies across our church body are intensifying: 50 in 2020, 90 in 2021, 140 in 2022, 158 in 2023. What happened? And where will our congregations and schools find additional qualified teachers—teachers with a servant’s heart like Christ’s—to educate our children?

One reason for increasing vacancies is increasing enrollment. Out of a global pandemic and societal changes across our country, God has opened the doors of our WELS schools to more and more families seeking a different educational path for their children.

What a blessing that more families and children will know the love of Jesus! But at the same time, what a challenge to fill more classrooms with qualified teachers!

We’re excited to tell you that Martin Luther College, your WELS college of ministry, has a new program that, God-willing, can become part of the answer!

Competency-Based Education (CBE) is the visionary solution to develop second-career teachers. We regularly hear from church leaders about members who want to make a career transition to teaching. CBE is designed for people at different ages and stages of life. It recognizes their life experiences and job-embedded skills, and allows them to earn their education degrees online while staying in their own communities. These are adults who have a heart for the teaching ministry but cannot uproot their families and move to our campus in New Ulm, Minn. These potential teachers cannot come to MLC, so MLC will come to them!

We have great news! Because of the many prayers and generous financial support from God’s people over the past year, we have already begun to develop this program. Two new professors are in place and moving at a rapid pace, so that we can enroll our first students in CBE next year.

How can you help us move forward toward enrolling students? First, please keep praying about this opportunity. Second, please encourage potential second-career students you know to consider this program. Finally, please consider a donation. We seek just $80,000 more to continue redesigning the online education curriculum and to purchase the necessary educational technology to enroll students starting in 2024.

If you are so moved by the Spirit, can you help us with a gift now so that adult students can begin their career transition to classroom teaching as soon as 2024?

Of course, we’ll continue to train traditional-aged students on campus, where they are surrounded by professors, mentors, and friends who share and encourage them in their faith. But CBE provides an opportunity to prepare second-career teachers who can also fill WELS classrooms—perhaps in your own congregation!

In him,
Rich Gurgel
President, Martin Luther College

P.S. Your gift continues the momentum and allows students to enroll in second-career teacher training as early as next year!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we praise you for redeeming us, making us part of your church, and giving us the privilege of sharing the good news of your salvation from sin. Thank you for the growth in enrollment in our Lutheran schools. We pray that you would help us find more teachers to serve the additional students. May Martin Luther College’s Competency-Based Education program be a blessing to future teachers and students and help increase the number of people who are nurtured in your Word. Amen.