“When I was a kid, we walked to school in the snow and uphill both ways.” “When I was younger, we had a rotary dial phone in our house, and when someone called we had no idea who was calling when it rang.” Have you ever heard someone say one of these things or something similar? Life is constantly changing around us and there is little that we can do to stop some of the change. No one is exempt from experiencing change in this world. Lutheran schools are no different.
Think, for a second, the amount of change that has been seen in Lutheran schools throughout the years. One-room school houses became two rooms which became schools with one or more classrooms for each grade. Chalkboards became whiteboards; whiteboards have become interactive boards in some schools. Filmstrips were replaced by VCR tapes which were replaced by DVD discs which have been replaced by streaming videos to aid teaching. Floppy discs were replaced by the 3.5 inch “floppy” discs which were replaced by flash drives which are being replaced by storage in the cloud. Whether your teaching career has seen all these changes or you are just beginning, I think we can all agree Lutheran schools have not been able to avoid change.
Amongst all the change in our classrooms and schools there is one constant. The last chapter of Hebrews talks about this constant. Amongst the advice, encouragement, and instructions that the writer gives, he reminds the readers and us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Lutheran schools were originally created for partnering with families to teach the children about Jesus and help them to grow in their faith. It was a living out of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Lutheran schools were about teaching children the truth of Bible and the nature of God and His great love for them. Lutheran schools were all about Jesus.
That is the constant amongst the change in our Lutheran schools: Jesus. Lutheran school classrooms look different than they did years ago; there is no doubt about that. Lutheran schools have even changed in the makeup of students in our classrooms. Congregation members’ children used to fill our classrooms. Over the years we have seen classrooms with less member children and more students who may not even know Jesus. The reasons that students come to Lutheran schools may have changed, and our classrooms have become bigger mission fields over the years. Maybe you are like me and have had students sit in your classroom who have never heard about Jesus. Maybe you have had a student in your classroom wrestling with what is truth. Is truth the worldly beliefs of mom and dad or the beliefs of the Bible that they hear about in our Lutheran schools each day?
The mission field may have changed, but the mission has not and cannot change in our Lutheran schools. It is still our job to teach our students about God’s great love for them as expressed in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is still our job to show our students the way to salvation as Paul told us in Ephesians 2:8–9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
There have been a lot of changes in the world and in Lutheran schools throughout the years. As we look into the future, I do not think we can even imagine all the changes that are going to come. Amongst all that change, one thing needs to stay as our focus in Lutheran schools and in our lives: Jesus. All these years later, it is still all about Jesus! May God grant us the wisdom to continue to always make it about Jesus!
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