What reasons do you hear for lack of attending or lack of support of Lutheran schools?
Doesn’t address my child’s needs.
Not a priority.
Just too hard to justify the cost.
Parents who inquire of a Lutheran school or choose to leave a school have used one or more of these reasons for not enrolling their child. Unfortunately, some of these excuses have been mumbled by members of our churches, by pastors, and even teachers.
Past financial support of Lutheran education is looked at in wonder as congregational members would take out a second mortgage just to assure the existence of their Lutheran school. In a sermon from 1870, C. F. W. Walther reflected on the sacrifice and commitment of the Saxons saying they were driven by a “living and powerful faith, our highest possession and treasure.” He went on in the same sermon to speak to this commitment to the Lord by saying,”Our only real object was to save our souls, to live our faith here, to establish the true and correct public worship, and to maintain a truly Christian school for our children.” (Schools of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Stellhorn, Concordia Publishing House 1963. P 49)
The Rev Dr Gregory Seltz has been quoted as saying,”Now more than ever the church and its schools need to be teaching about God’s moral order of the world as well as God’s saving of the world.” Rev Seltz is quick to share that when he first was commissioned to be the head of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (http://www.lcrlfreedom.org/) he quickly realized the need for the Center’s efforts to be supporting and encouraging our synod’s Lutheran schools and universities. His enthusiasm is contagious!
It’s almost pathetic that we who are greatly blessed in this country to have Christian early childhood programs, K-8s, high schools and universities where we can be bold in confession are often timid and fearful to do so.
So let’s debunk the excuses! Too expensive? It’s more affordable than often concluded when compared to money spent on a daily Starbucks or $100 Friday night out on the town.
Too risky? The risk is greater to not have a child in the nurture of Christian teachers and within a community of forgiveness. The risk of exposure to public schools who are being directed by special interest groups is not in the best interest of family and the Church.
Not addressing a child’s unique needs? It happens, and sometimes we hang our head knowing a need was missed. But the communication needed between home to school can deal effectively with many student needs.
Hypocritical? It’s a favorite term to be placed on a Christian. Perfect love and obedience is not found in our schools other than through knowing the perfect love and life of Jesus. However, honesty and repentance are hallmarks of principals and teachers, reflective of the God who has forgiven each of them.
Not a priority? Being in heaven is the ultimate goal for parenting, even as each kid grows to have their own kids. The support of a Lutheran school is tremendous in this priority.
Frankly, it’s time to enthusiastically raise up our schools as priorities, as caring communities, as bastians of moral strength and as places where Jesus is known.
We need to be a place where we do not promote a life of determining one’s own truth. Rather we need to point to Jesus because He alone is the truth and that truth is written throughout the Bible for us to read, learn and live.
Think about it. Progressive thought and theory has become a reality of actions and life. Who would have ever thought that one would argue about being male and female, challenge the intrinsic value of life itself (in the unborn or aging) or even suggest that reality changes by how one feels from one minute to another? Consistency? Standards? Principles? Our moorings are more than challenged.
Some topics come under the guise of “political disagreements,” “personal choices,” or “differences of opinion.” But are they? How do we involve ourselves in what some might call “civil discourse” without the topic being perceived as a personal attack or a bigoted mindset?
Lutheran schools should challenge themselves to the words of the apostle Paul striving to “speak the truth in love.” Yes, when the truth is not accepted as the words and teachings that come from the mouth of God- written in the Bible- accusation and defensiveness can be a product. But we are called to be faithful and Jesus Himself has promised to be with us and give us the words to share.
Our Lutheran school community can be treasured as a gift from God and where children are nurtured with a love and compassion that seeks to share Jesus in word and action.
Let’s pray for this work.
Let’s encourage this work.
Let’s be bold in the message that we need to share in our Lutheran schools.