Today’s Front Line Hero: Upbring

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

May 14, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Upbring, which is honoring their staff, whom they call “warriors,” in their valiant efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

May 13, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN), which is hosting a series of virtual events for the caregivers and care receivers in their Caregiver Support community.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

May 12, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND), and the dedicated Aging Life Care staff who are delivering meals and groceries to their neighbors in Minot, ND who are unable to shop or cook for themselves.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Services in Iowa

May 11, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI), which is deeply committed to ensuring children in Iowa are safe and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Making a Mark during Older Americans Month

May 11, 2020

By: Christopher Findlay

Since 1965, our nation has designated the month of May as a time to honor seniors and raise awareness about the challenges they face. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, we recognize seniors during an Older Americans Month unlike any other as we all confront a threat the likes of which we have never seen.

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Reflections: In gratitude for all that you do

As leaders of organizations centered and rooted in faith, we draw strength from each other as we persist in our mission to bring hope and healing to people.

I began a weekly CEO Update at the start of the pandemic because I thought it was important to stay in touch and communicate through a dark and uncertain time. As one of the largest nonprofit health and human services networks that cares for one in 50 people in America, we were hit especially hard by the pandemic.

While some CEO Updates were about important advocacy issues or programs, others were more reflective. I always received feedback from member CEOs on the reflections—notes like “I really needed that today” which kept me going.

One of my board members suggested that I compile the reflections together. As I look back, it’s clear that where we thought we’d be along the way changed—often—and mostly in ways that brought more challenges and hardships to Lutheran social ministry.

What was also clear was the extraordinary leadership, creativity and perseverance that you and leaders throughout the network demonstrated—examples of true leadership to adapt to never-before-seen situations and lead your teams with grace and courage. Lutheran social ministry stood up when we were most needed and you and your teams are the Front Line Heroes that we lift up for your life-saving work.

These Reflections are dedicated to you—for your remarkable leadership and our extraordinary journey together.



Extravagance of Grace

Today is the 505th anniversary of the Reformation when Martin Luther shared his theological insight that God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ frees us from being focused on ourselves and opens us to care for others. Or as CEO Summit Theologian-in-Residence Pastor Mark Huber once put it, “it means it’s not about us.”

How is this relevant or reflected in Lutheran social ministry organizations today?

The foundation of our work is that all people have dignity and worth—not because of anything they do or don’t do but simply because they are—and that they are valued by God. As Lutheran social ministry, we create the space where people experience God’s grace through our care and compassion. It’s the why behind our work and reflected in how we do our work, in relationship with our neighbor, no matter who are neighbor is, where they’re from, or what they do.

So why does this matter?

God’s grace is extravagant and is revealed in the beauty and light we let into people’s lives, to remove the barriers that hold them back from achieving their potential and to empower them to realize their dreams. It’s why we persevere despite having to continually pivot and be stretched and stressed. It’s our calling, our vocation.

In the midst of our challenges and an uncertain future, may we remember that our presence matters, that our work brings more light and beauty into people’s lives, and that we do not do this work alone.