Donor Takes Notice of 2010 Graduate’s Influence at Local Church
February 24, 2014
Anonymous donor's gift supports youth ministry students at TLU
Since high school, Meredith Price Ehler knew she wanted to be a youth minister. After attending one year at Midland University in Nebraska, Ehler ’10 transferred to Texas Lutheran University to pursue a degree in theology. It was at TLU, Ehler said, where she received the support and education necessary for success in her chosen field.
For the past three years, Ehler has been the director of children and youth ministries at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas. With a group ranging from Pre-K to high school students, she has the opportunity to see various young people live out their faith.
“At TLU, I was given the confidence to do the work I’m doing now and I get to see how the kids in my youth group grow as Disciples of Christ,” Ehler said. “It’s rewarding to see the younger children build relationships and see the older kids setting positive examples and becoming confident in their own faith.”
Since she came to St. Paul Lutheran, participation in the youth group has doubled. She has also developed mission outreach and mentor programs. For one member of the congregation, Ehler’s impact on the youth program was so inspiring he wanted to support TLU’s theology department with a monetary gift. The anonymous donor contacted Part-time Instructor of Theology Heather Hansen to express interest in giving $5,000 to support other students studying youth ministry. Both Hansen and Associate Professor of Theology Phil Ruge-Jones said Ehler demonstrates the type of work, both spiritual and ecumenical, graduates from their department go on to do.
“The TLU youth ministry program produces leaders who guide youth into understanding Jesus Christ, the grace he offers, and the way this good news shapes the lives of young people today,” Ruge-Jones said. “Meredith exemplifies the kind of person our faculty love to have in the program. She has a deep, personal devotional life. She understands that building relationships with youth provides a living context for them to hear the gospel.”
Portions of the donation could possibly be used to send current students to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in America’s annual Youth Extravaganza—
a four-day conference that draws together anywhere from 500 to 750 adults who work with youth in congregations of the ELCA for the premier renewal, education and networking event of the church.
“I attended the conference and built a network of people who are always here to support me personally and professionally,” Ehler said. “When I found out someone from my congregation wanted to donate money to TLU so other students could have opportunities like me, it was very fulfilling. I was surprised and honored. In ministry you don’t always see the impact you’re having. This was another way of letting me know this is what God has called me to do and He continues to work through me.”
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