Sunday, November 8, 2015

By God's Grace: Growing Lutheran Schools

Why did you go into Lutheran education? I spent many hours after school playing in my mom's classroom and helping her with small tasks. I found that I loved working with children, and I wanted to offer the same solid education that I had received to other students. As I consider the qualities of those students, I pictured much like myself - raised in a Christian home, several generations of their families had attended Lutheran schools, their faith walks may vary but they all had a knowledge of their Lord and Savior. Additionally, God put another person, my Spanish teacher, in my life that inspired my career in Lutheran education. This facet of my undergraduate work took me into schools where students were non-Lutheran. I saw an entire ministry that had grown due to their desire for a good education and a safe place for their children to go to school at a minimal cost due to state programming. This experience would have a profound affect on my ministry for years to come.

When I interviewed for my first teaching position, the administrator asked me about my experience with outreach ministry. She later told me that my desire to work in outreach ministry was one of the main reasons she hired me. Throughout my time in that ministry, I would interact with numerous children who had never heard of Jesus. The first student appeared a week into my first class as we discussed Adam and Eve. She had never heard of a talking snake. A little boy asked why that man was on the cross. One girl thought Jesus was a fictional superhero out of the movies. One student heard the stories of grace and forgiveness in my classroom for two years, but he would still tell me that we went to heaven because of the good things we did. My favorite memory - a little boy who sang Fishers of Men off-key at the top of his lungs on the playground until 6 PM every Friday in childcare while we waited for his mom to pick him up.  He may have been the only student left on campus, and yet those moments had some of the most impact in my ministry.

That experience set the tone for my career as I prayed that God would put me in a place where I could witness to families for the first time. I am so blessed that God put the ministry of the King's Academy in my path. The elementary school is less than five years old, and I have the opportunity to be a part of a ministry that is bringing Lutheran education to the Lake of the Ozarks for the first time. How are they letting the little children come to Jesus? I have only been here a few months, but I can no longer count how many times I have seen one of our pastors giving a tour through our new school building. The parishioners are able to learn about where little ones are growing in knowledge and love of Jesus. The pastors are attending school parties to build relationships with parents. What an opportunity to care for these students and their families! How is your pastor supporting your school ministry?