This week is National Lutheran Schools Week. All manner of wacky school spirit activities are going on at our place, including “Comfy Cozy Day” (which I call “Millennial Day,” because everyone just wears their pajamas to work), “Wacky Tacky Tuesday” (my son left the house this morning with his pants on inside out), and our annual staff vs. students volleyball game (the staff is undefeated).
Most, if not all, Lutheran schools around the area are celebrating in similar fashion. To that end, my wife’s cousin—who teaches over in their home town—asked me to Google Meet with her 4th grade class to talk about church work, specially what a pastor does.
I’ll admit, at first I was thinking I’ll do it, but only because you’re family and it’s NLSW. Sort of an, “Ok, let’s get this over with,” scenario. But almost immediately I realized that I was loving this interaction with a dozen or so 4th graders, and ended the meeting extremely encouraged.
They asked me how long it takes to become a pastor, and I explained the system of our two seminaries, the M.Div traditional route, and other training that a pastor can receive. After that, they asked me what a pastor did besides preach on Sunday. So I explained all the visits, the meetings, the writing, the studying, the administration of church business, etc. I summarized by saying, “Being a pastor means you get to study the Bible and interact with people all the time so that everyone you talk to can also be excited about Jesus.”
But then it was my turn to ask them about their school. Specifically, I asked them why they went to a Lutheran school. Or rather, “What’s your school motto?” I don’t remember it exactly, but even though they couldn’t exactly recite it either, they all knew it: Bring them in, equip them, and send them out as stronger disciples of Jesus.
Our school’s is similar: Make life-long disciples of Jesus. I reckon that’s a pretty popular motto.
I’d be interested in hearing how a public school 4th grader would answer the same question: Why go to school? To learn math, reading, science, etc … For what? To get a job, to survive in the world, etc … For what? To … retire? Contribute to society in some meaningful way? What way? How? I really don’t know.
Not trashing all public schools, but you ask a kid who goes to a Lutheran school why they go to a Lutheran school, and the answer is pretty clear: No matter where we go from here, no matter what we do afterwards, we go and do knowing Jesus just a little bit better. In a public school you can get suspended or expelled for preaching Jesus.
That’s why Lutheran schools are the best. Yes, we should strive for excellence in all our subjects, but first and foremost the mission is clear: Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.