Alumni Spotlight: Myrthe (Harkenrider) Flasch '14

What made you decide to enter church work?
I knew that I loved theology. My favorite classes at Concordia were Saved by Grace and Comparative Religions, both of which were taught by Pastor Gudel. When I took those classes, I felt like all the things that I had learned throughout my Lutheran education made sense. Even greater than that, I was excited to learn more about deeper theology and thought that one of the Concordia's would be a good place to do that. I also had various experiences through peer ministry, tutoring and leadership opportunities in sports that made me think that teaching would be a fun career path. Blythe was on her DCE internship through Concordia Chicago my senior year of high school, and I saw how she was able to combine theology and teaching in her ministry. This made the choice to enter the Director of Christian Education program at Concordia Chicago an easy one. 
What was rewarding about it?
At Concordia Chicago I was able to take tons of theology courses and got to learn from some of the greatest theological minds in our synod. I also learned through my courses and practical teaching experiences how to take all the knowledge I was learning and bring it all down to the level of a child. One of the great parts of being a DCE is learning how to equip families to center their lives on the Gospel. In my own life, I have been able to apply this to my marriage. parenting and my own personal faith. When my husband and I do Bible study, I am able to bring a deep theological perspective that I would not have a grasp on without my years in the classroom. Today, I am a stay-at-home mom, but I can still see the fruits of my education every day. In studying different developmental stages and faith formations, I feel very equiped to raise my children in the faith and bring the Word of God to the level of comprehension that they are at. I think it is important to know how you best study God's Word. At CUC, I was most excited by God when my classes would dig under the surface and see the greater picture of the Bible. Now, I apply those same academic strategies to  my own devotion time. 
Did I see this as my future position?
From a very young age I always knew that I wanted to be a wife and mom. I knew that God's timing was perfect, but often would worry about what vocations I would be called to rather than focusing on the vocations I was in at the time. As a high schooler I chose to be in the DCE program because I knew it was something that I would enjoy while also being able to set me up for success in my personal life for when I became a wife and mom. It was always my intention to stay-at-home with my children, and I knew that a career in STEM or business is much more career focused. I appreciated that as a church worker I could receive more grace then in the secular world in making the decision to be a Homemaker. 
How did Concordia prepare me?
As I have said, Saved by Grace and Comparative Religions were life changing courses for me. Those courses made God's Word come alive and showed me a first glimpse of how exciting an academic study of theology could be. I was also given opportunities in high school that offered me leadership opportunities. Through these, I was able to see how much I love teaching others. I was also on the Speech Team in high school. This made me so much more comfortable and confident in entering a career that I would inevitably have to speak in front of large groups of people. An unexpected way that I was prepared for my education was through writing. All college courses require some level of writing competence, but many of the theology courses that I took required a higher standard of combining writing proficiency with critical thinking. Researching and writing these papers came much easier to me than many of my peers and I chalk that up to my excellent English education at CLHS.
How am I still serving my church as a stay at home mom?
One of the biggest blessings of being a stay-at-home mom with a church work degree has been being a volunteer at our congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow, OK. One of the hard parts for me about being a church worker was finding me family-work-life balance. However, as a volunteer I get to choose how much of my time I can give back to the church while still keeping my family as my number one priority. I am on the Children's Ministry Board. I think that I offer a unique perspective because of my background of being in the church. Little things like church safety, advertising events, fundraising and coming up with new ideas come naturally when I am in meetings because I was surrounded by brilliant church workers in my time at CUC. All of their wisdom have helped me positively bring ideas to our congregation. I also get plenty of teaching opportunities through being a small group leader at our youth group and substituting for Sunday School and Confirmation classes. While my passion primarily falls in the children, youth and family ministry realm, I also have been called upon to use my talents in surprising ways. My church's organ went out last year, and I casually brought up to our music director that if he needed help, I could do something for them. This turned into me running a capital campaign to fully fund our organ. I came up with a donation strategy and weekly made announcements before church to the congregation. We were able to fully fund our new organ in 2 and a half weeks. What a blessing from God! My favorite thing that I get the opportunity to do at my church is lead the Children's Messages on Sunday mornings during church. I love that I get to be an example for my children of how a parishioner can still be God's servant. 
Also, read the story about Blythe, Mrythe's sister, who also found her calling in Church Work, from our Cadets 2022 Fall Magazine.