by Rev. Jeff Duncan, Mission and Ministry Director
Do you have something to say? Help increase the understanding and wisdom of others by sharing it!
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance ….” (Proverbs 1:5)
This sounds like a project all grades 6-12 Lutheran youth can join in on. This sounds like the Lutherans For Life Essay Contest!
Every year a verse guides the contest and content, and a discussion is proposed. With guidance from teachers, pastors, counselors, and parents, students form their expression as opinions with paper and ink. Wisdom grows even deeper when one forms arguments by exercising reason and sound logic to convince others how to act, think, believe, and speak. Standing up for life and caring for the most vulnerable in society as an adult often begins by formulating sound and reasonable thoughts about life issues as a youth. The one who understands well buys good counsel along the way!
The 2020 Essay Contest submission deadline ended May 1. It was extended from April 1 due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme was From Invisible to Indispensable, based on 1 Corinthians 12:22: “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”
Youth from federation and non-federation states competed by grade level. Winners go on to compete at the national level for a chance at a $250 prize plus free registration and one-night hotel fare at a national or regional conference. Even better, they obtain the satisfaction of sharing well-reasoned and beneficial argumentation on an important life issue that gives counsel and wisdom to others!
Parents, pastors, teachers—you want your youth to grow in wisdom and stature. You want them to seek good, sage, and factual counsel on life issues. You want them to form opinions backed by sound doctrine and biblical acumen. You want them to be able to speak up in the public square, winning more and more to the For Life movement—for generations to come. You want them to stand strong and faithful against the culture of death. You want them to obtain this knowledge with the ability to communicate their wisdom winsomely to their contemporaries.
Engage them in learning toward understanding! Challenge them to listen to other wise Gospel-motivated voices For Life. Encourage them to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest all they can on the topic and to compassionately act. Help them form their own voice. Teach them well-reasoned arguments and let them form their own responses. Increase their knowledge through exposure to others with wisdom, those who have gone through the crucible of experience. Then watch as the flower of understanding blooms into a beautiful expression that all may see and give glory to the Lord in heaven.
Turn this into a Confirmation project. Teach your English composition, grammar, social studies, or science using the theme. Bring it home and involve parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends. Take a field trip. Start a journal. Make a reading list. Invite a speaker to address the topic. Post the theme and Bible verse in multiple formats. Use them in various productions throughout the year. Make an effort to focus on wise hearing and increased learning in life issues. Encourage their understanding. Inspire youth to obtain guidance and acquire wisdom that will follow them all the days of their lives—for their benefit and the good of their neighbors who are all loved by God equally.
Prepare now to involve your youth in the 2021 Lutherans For Life Essay Contest this fall!