Caleb Rollins, LSA Development Manager
God calls us to love and serve our neighbors.
As someone steeped in the rich Lutheran tradition of service, I have known about this essential calling for a long time. I observed it as I watched my father and mother work in Lutheran schools and learned about it as I attended Lutheran schools and the Lutheran campus of Valparaiso University (Valpo).
My time at Valpo afforded me the opportunities to reflect on and practice different ways of responding to this call. Dr. Elizabeth Lynn, the Director of the Institute for Leadership and Service at Valpo, introduced me to the power of philanthropy in responding to the call to love and serve our neighbors.
She then gave me a chance to practice philanthropy and development in an internship with LSA via the CAPS Fellows Program. Through working with our CEO, Charlotte Haberaecker, in the summer of 2014, I had a chance to contribute to the expansion of LSA's fundraising program, learn valuable development skills, and realize the scope of Lutheran social ministry in this country and beyond.
After finishing my studies at Valpo in international and philanthropic service in 2015, I continued my exploration of this calling of love and service by joining LSA member Lutheran Volunteer Corps, an organization that places volunteers in full-time service positions at social-justice organizations. Through directing a K-12 and adult tutoring program at a small Lutheran church in Minneapolis, I experienced the difficult, yet rewarding work of Lutheran social ministry on the frontlines. I also discovered how a lack of financial and in-kind resources can add to the challenge of these efforts. This understanding reignited my passion for development as a tool to be used for strengthening our capacity to love and serve our neighbors.
All of this time spent in reflection and practice of this vocation has led me back to work with Lutheran Services in America. Last month, I joined as Development Manager for the LSA network. Upon my return, I am glad to see LSA faithfully moving forward together.
The office has added to its already-incredible staff with a handful of impressively competent and kind people. LSA has increased the variety of ways it addresses the needs of a vast and diverse network that touches the lives of 1 in 50 Americans. New partners have invested in the network that are fueling LSA to share funding, connections, and opportunities to improve the lives of people and communities.
As much as this growth in the network is energizing, I am just as excited that LSA is still guided by God's call to love and serve our neighbors. It was this value that first drew me to LSA and I am grateful to return to an organization committed to a vocation that has deeply shaped my life. This calling is fulfilled as we connect, support, and advocate with hundreds of ministries walking with those who are most vulnerable in their communities.
As I begin my time here at LSA in this new role, I pray that my work in development will help strengthen this network of Lutheran ministries responding together to this fundamental calling.