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Teacher Spotlight: Marty Kohlwey, Director of Campus Ministry

Posted by Amy Kopecky on Jun 23, 2021 12:38:00 PM

This time around, we had a chat with Mr. Kohlwey. The youngest of 4 siblings (by 8 years), he grew up just outside Milwaukee, WI and spent time helping on his uncle’s nearby farm. He has always had a passion for basketball, playing as a child and coaching as an adult. Mr. Kohlwey earned his BS in Secondary Education, majoring in Theology and Coaching after graduating from Milwaukee Lutheran High School. Shortly after completing his undergraduate studies, he and his wife were married. They relocated to Rockford, IL where Mr. Kohlwey became the Spiritual Life Director and head boy’s basketball coach at Rockford Lutheran High School - all while furthering his own education. He earned his Masters degree in Family Life Education in 1998. At that time, the Kohlweys moved to Seward, NE and he spent the next 18 years as an instructor and coach at Concordia University. Here are a few questions we asked of Mr. Kohlwey to learn more about him after his first 5 years at LuHi.

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What are the responsibilities of the Director of Campus Ministry?

I am the Senior Theology teacher, the Theology Department Head, the Chapel Coordinator, I lead Thriving Parents (which is our Parent Ministry), and I help with Thrive (one of our Student Ministries). I also counsel students in spiritual matters, lead staff devotions, and help where needed.

What led you to answer this call to be the Director of Campus Ministry?

I feel strongly that God led me here to join an amazing ministry already in place. When I visited, I was so impressed with the community of believers who served here and felt God's encouragement to be a part of it.

What do you love most about working at Lutheran High School?

Absolutely it’s like family here. The administration is the best! The staff is full of loving, broken, talented believers in Jesus. The students are also such a blessing to work and grow with.

How have you seen the last year of nationwide challenge affect LuHi students?

This has been the most enjoyable year I have had in my 38 years of ministry. The senior class has been shaped by the craziness and they have been hungry to dig into God's Truth with all the lack of truth in the world today. They have a love for each other and a desire to share God's love with their friends who are really struggling due to the challenges we face.

What are some common struggles that your students face and how can they work through those?

Anxiety, confusion, fear, doubt, depression and loneliness. These are typical for high school students but intensified by the world we live in. The questions of Who Am I? Why Am I Here? Is There Hope? and What Is True? are foundational to dealing with these issues. If we have the answers, we will be able to handle the things we are facing. Jesus gives us our identity, meaning, hope and truth.

What advice would you give students who are preparing for the next chapter of their lives, after LuHi?

Pretty much everything we do senior year is geared for preparing them for the next step. Understanding other worldviews and how to be witness to them. Knowing why they can have confidence in the Truth of God's Word, and searching for a solid fellowship of believers and being a part of it, is crucial for their success in the years to come.

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What is the biggest misconception you’ve noticed that people have about teens and faith?

That they are not capable of profound and analytical thought. Especially today, teens want better answers. They have potential to dig into deep questions and want to understand how to navigate such a confusing world. They see the pain first hand in their life and their friends' lives. They can see through the shallow answers the world gives and they greatly desire to help those around them with the deep answers they have found. Many people do not know or believe that teenagers can handle these impactful issues.

Do you have a few favorite Bible verses that you could share?

These are pretty much my favorites:

John 10:10, More than ever, we can see the enemy wants to destroy us and divide us. But Jesus, the Way, Truth and Life, wants to give us real life. Not just existence in a shallow world.

Luke 7:36-50, (my favorite story of Jesus) Jesus points out he or she who is forgiven much loves much. I want to be like the woman in the story who is forgiven much.

Luke 15, The story of the lost sons: most people see this as the Prodigal Son but it is so much more. Both sons are lost. He goes out to meet them both, and invites them to the party.

Luke 24:13-35, The Emmaus disciples are given the best Bible Study ever and get to see Jesus!

Thank you, Mr. Kohlwey! It’s been a pleasure to learn more about you!

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