Teacher Spotlight: Troy Stelling, Called to be a Teacher and a Student
Mr Stelling: Sophomore Theology Teacher, Football Coach, Theatre Director. Learn more about this long-standing LuHi teacher here!
BY Amy Kopecky
Mr. Stelling has taught at Lutheran schools for a total of 32 years and served LuHi for 23 years, but he hasn’t just been a teacher.
He refers to himself as “that guy” who crosses the dividing line between arts and athletics. He’s coached football for 22 seasons as the longest-tenured coach of any sport at LuHi, and he’s also directed six spring plays with another coming up this season.
He’s led mission trips to Anchorage, New Orleans, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
He teaches Theology II New Testament for sophomores and has also taught English, Public Speaking, Psychology, and Christian Decisions.
As a family man, Mr. Stelling has been married to his wife Kristen for 32 years, whom he met at Concordia in Seward, Nebraska. They have two sons, Zach and Micah, and daughter-in-law Kelly (Rodefeld) Stelling. (It was fun for him to watch Micah and Kelly date at LuHi!)
He enjoys family road trips and especially getting off the interstate and seeing the country on the backroads. Last summer they visited seven National Parks, (even camped in Death Valley in June) and are looking forward to seeing the northeast states this summer. He was born in Nebraska and is a Husker for life.
But through all these endeavors, he still considers himself a student. “I am always amazed at what I learn from some of the same passages that I have taught for 20 plus years! God keeps teaching me!”
Is it always easy? No.
What people might not know is that Mr. Stelling struggles with dyslexia. He could have seen this as a hindrance, but it hasn’t stopped God. “As a kid who struggled with dyslexia (umm, still do!) school was never much fun. God definitely directed my life and placed the right teachers and friends in my path.”
God uses our weaknesses to help us rely on Him, and Mr. Stelling relies on God’s Word, a supportive family passionate about the Lord, and his home group Bible study. “This group allows me to be a “student” and not a teacher. It feels good to live out what I tell my students all the time, ‘you are never done learning’ and ‘God’s Word is alive. It always has something to teach or enlighten you as you go through this life.’”
He appreciates the close-knit LuHi family. Mr. Stelling loves talking about Jesus and forming lasting relationships with students. This is especially important now as an increasing number of them don’t have a church background. Mr. Stelling has even gotten to see and be part of students baptized in Chapel!
He’s grateful to teach with a dedicated faculty, including mentors Warren Kettner and Ron Brandhorst. “Just a few years ago at a chapel that his daughter led, Kettner gave me a lesson I will never forget. I was talking to him after chapel and needed to get to my class. I told him, ‘I had to get to my students and class.’ In his loving way, he asked me to repeat what I said. I did, and He pulled me close and said, ‘You GET to!’ He is so right; I GET to teach at LuHi!
He marvels at how God has worked through the consolidation of Denver and Parker Lutheran High Schools. “Look at LuHi now! Look at the number of students that walk our halls! Look at the building we have! From a chicken coop or a strip mall, God has grown this place in many ways. See what happens when we let God do his thing and get out of his way?’”
In closing, Mr. Stelling encourages LuHi students to invest in relationships and always keep learning. “Relationships take work! Our friendships change with the ups and downs of life. If it is a friendship worth having then you have to work to understand and really get to know them and be the friend that Christ is to us. And most importantly, you must work at your relationship with Christ! I tell my students often: you can’t say, ‘Well I was baptized, made it through confirmation, went to Sunday school, survived through four years of LuHi theology classes, so I got it!’ Nope! You have to keep learning.”
Thanks for teaching our students how to be lifelong learners, Mr. Stelling, and may God richly bless your ministry at LuHi and everywhere you serve!
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