Mark G. Schroeder
Twelve years ago, I was first given the privilege of serving as your synod president. And now, after serving three terms, you have given me that privilege again.
I thought it would be interesting to dig out the first article that I wrote for Forward in Christ and share it with you. The following appeared in the October 2007, edition of Forward in Christ, entitled, “Faces Change; God’s Grace Doesn’t”:
Remember how you felt on your first day of high school? Excited. Nervous. Self-conscious. Mildly confused. There was a thrilling sense that you had entered a new chapter in your life, a chapter whose pages were sure to bring new adventures, new experiences, new knowledge. At the same time there was also a lurking sense of dread and fear of the unknown. What will this be like? Will I make friends? Will I ever get a date? What will my teachers be like? Will I make the team?
At our synod’s convention in August, you were led by God to call me as your synod president. It’s been a humbling and almost overwhelming experience. In many ways I feel like that kid starting high school. Thrilled and excited at the opportunity to serve God and you in this office, but at the same time recognizing that I have no idea of exactly what is waiting for me on the unopened pages of this next chapter of my life.
What I do know is this: I am deeply grateful to you for the confidence that you have placed in me. I want to thank the thousands of people who sent expressions of encouragement and promises of continued prayer. I am thankful to God for giving this “chief of sinners” the opportunity to serve him and you in this office. And, most of all, I know that it is God’s grace, God’s power, and God’s unbreakable promises that will enable us all to serve him.
This is the first time I have served in a calling where I will need to get to know the people I serve from a distance. So here are just a few things I would like you to know about me and my family.
My parents were originally from a little town in southeastern Minnesota (Eitzen). My father was the first in his family of farmers to become a pastor. He spent most of his ministry as a professor of Latin and as the librarian at Northwestern College. My mother, still living in her own home at the age of 90, made our house a home. They had eight children (six boys and two girls). I’m the youngest of those eight, and when I received my first call into the pastoral ministry, I became the eighth of those eight to enter the pastoral or teaching ministry.
I married Andrea Kuester, my high school sweetheart, in 1977. Thirty years later we’ve been blessed with four children and one grandchild. I can’t say enough about the blessings God has given me through my supportive wife and children.
I began my ministry at Faith, Fond du Lac, Wis. After six years there, I served at King of Kings, Maitland, Fla. In 1989 I was called to serve as president of Northwestern Prep, and, since the amalgamation in 1995, of Luther Preparatory School, one of our synod’s two preparatory high schools.
And now the Lord, through you, has given me a new task. While I don’t know the details of what God has in store for us as we work together to share the gospel, I do know this: the future is firmly in the hands of our gracious God. He has adopted is as his children in Christ. He has given is the gift of eternal life.
He has called is to share with the world the precious news of a Savior. We can all look forward to the future—the future of our own individual lives and the future of the synod we love—and know, without any doubt, that God himself will guide us with his Word and will bless us with his grace.
Some things have changed for me since I wrote that first article. One grandchild has become six. My mother and one brother have joined their Savior in heaven. My marriage to that high school sweetheart has now been a blessing for 42 years. My hair is thinner my face has a few more wrinkles, and I now know a little of what the work of synod president entails. But some things have not changed. God’s grace still amazes.
God’s wisdom and power still overwhelms. I continue to marvel at the privilege of continuing to serve as your synod president. And, as I did in 2007, I ask again for your continued prayers for me and for our beloved synod.
Mark Schroeder is president of WELS.
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 106, Number 10
Issue: October 2019
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