"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." -Proverbs 22:6 Daily, over 5,700 students in our sixty-seven English District Lutheran Schools are having their hearts and minds trained for a life of service in response to God’s tremendous grace. Our students have the opportunity to grow intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and most importantly spiritually sitting at the feet of our District’s teachers who so faithfully and effectively serve the Master Teacher. According to the nation’s report card (NAEP), Lutheran Schools are at the top or near it in every measurable category of academic achievement. By God’s grace, our Lutheran Schools are truly on the cutting edge of mission and ministry in our District, Synod and society. To God be the glory!
Creating a Congregation to School/Community Connection
- Initiate Pastor and Administrator meetings regularly to pray, plan, and encourage.
- Encourage school children singing in church services.
- Plan Preschool Sundays.
- Celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week.
- Foster School Board and Evangelism Boards sharing members and working together.
- Create Prayer Partners: Congregational members matched up with Children.
- Maintain a Pastoral & Church Staff greeting/presence at school drop off and pick-up times.
- Plan Intergenerational Field Trips.
- Partner Reading Buddies.
- Display school artwork throughout hallways and bulletin boards of congregation.
- Share Ministry Moments/ Did You Know stories in bulletins, newsletters, and e-blasts.
- Initiate Chancel Talks.
- Discuss School Ministry from the pulpit.
- Add additional alternative classes besides the regular preschool classes such as art, mom and tots, kids and ipads, large motor skills, etc.
- Encourage early childhood staff to help with and be involved with VBS.
- Host a Trunk or Treat Community Outreach event around Halloween.
- Host and a Dads and Donuts morning outreach event.
- Initiate a Little Lambs Program in which congregational members “adopt” a preschool child by praying weekly and giving notes of encouragements throughout the year.
- Host a school sponsored Advent and/or Lent dinner.
- Establish an occasional school sponsored coffee hour between services during the school year.
- Establish a Parent’s Night Out.
- Host a movie night.
- Host an art class (one time or ongoing) for young children.
- Add a two's program and two's class.
- Develop Summer Camps - art, music, Iron Chef (cooking), Legos, soccer, etc.
Sample Standards for Effective Schools and Congregations
For a listing of standards click here: SSAC Introduction.pdf
Strengthening Schools And Congregations (SSAC)
Strengthening Schools and Congregations is a resource to assist congregations in strengthening and revitalizing Lutheran elementary schools that are experiencing problems, so that the mission of sharing the caring Christ can be more effectively accomplished. Trained consultants are available without cost. Application must be made through the office of the Executive Assistant to the President: Parish Services. What will SSAC Provide? The services of SSAC are divided into two specific dimensions:
- The Diagnostic Visit A team of three trained consultants will visit the school and its congregation for three days, usually Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. During this time, the team of three consultants will attempt to determine the causes of difficulty in that place, write a report which will identify the school's problems, and make recommendations for school and congregation improvement.
- Follow-up Consultant Visits A follow-up consultant visit will be made by one of the team members within a two month period of the Diagnostic Visit. Two Additional follow-up consultant visits will be completed within 18 months of the Diagnostic Visit. During these visits the consultant will help the school and its congregation in accomplishing the recommendations of the Diagnostic Team and work toward improvement. These one day visits will include discussions with the various boards, committees, and leaders of the congregation, and will result in a brief report.
Congregations who are considering starting a Lutheran elementary or secondary school can receive assistance through the Genesis Project. This project was established to help congregations and communities to explore opportunities to start Lutheran elementary and secondary schools. Through this project, consultants, feasibility studies and assistance in initial organizational planning for the new Lutheran elementary and secondary schools are provided. For more information, please contact Gail Holzer, Executive Assistant to the President: School Ministries.
Lutheran School Portal
English District schools are encouraged to subscribe to the Lutheran School Portal. Benefits of being a member of the Portal include:
- District information page with timely information
- Monthly School/Early Childhood Mailings
- National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) materials
- Premium Services-discounted rates for Discovery Education, Brain Pop, Easy Tech, Learn 360, MyKoob, etc.
- LEIF Search Rights
- 21st Century, Excellent Lutheran School and Common Core resources
- Living Curriculum
- The Financial Calculator (Budget Planning Tool)
- Groups, discussion boards, project boards
- National and District information
To subscribe to the Lutheran School Portal, call 800-248-1930 Ext. 1285 or e-mail Matthew Bergholt at Matthew.Bergholt @ lcms.org
Additional Information on our English District Lutheran Schools can be found on the English District Page of the Lutheran School Portal: www.lsportal.net.
20 Ways Pastors Can Make a Difference in their Schools
- Keep the BIG picture of ministry constantly in mind; i.e. how many lives can we (that’s ALL of us in the church and school) touch with the love of Christ?
- Remember, the one ministry you represent is, in our case, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School (NOT Immanuel Lutheran Church that happens to have a school). Prioritize the school as a ministry of the church. There is no other ministry that reaches people more than 1,100 hours per year; and they pay for it!
- Regularly promote the school ministry to members and prospective members and publicly advocate (e.g., in sermons, in worship announcements, in the newsletter, in voter’s meetings, etc.) the school ministry at every opportunity.
- Publicly advocate (e.g. in local ministerial meetings, in private conversations, in press releases, etc.) the school’s ministry every chance you get to those outside the church.
- School activities should be open to church members, just as church activities should be open to non-member school families.
- The pastors and principal must treat each other as colleagues, not as underlings. Pastors must defer to the leadership of the principal when it comes to ministry in the school. The principal is the trained educator called to this position.
- Consider and treat the staff as colleagues, not underlings.
- Be a big cheerleader for the principal and staff (As the saying goes, “It’s amazing how much a person can accomplish in life, if he doesn’t care who gets the credit!”)
- Pray for the ministry of the school and of each of the staff members privately and corporately. Include school matters, issues, and events in weekend worship prayers.
- Whenever possible, attend daily staff devotions.
- Whenever possible, greet students and parents each morning and learn to call as many of them by name as possible.
- Whenever possible, attend weekly chapel services, even if you are not the one leading the service on a given day.
- Pastors should be visible throughout the school day, not just at chapel services.
- Whenever possible, talk up and then attend school functions (open houses, PTL events, athletic contests, picnics, plays, dinner-dance-auctions, etc.)
- Be enthusiastic when leading chapel services; especially those for seasonal or other special events. Attending even if not leading.
- Always commend and/or celebrate school events (installations, dedications, anniversaries, accreditations, etc.) in weekend worship services.
- Be available to every staff member for consultation and encouragement.
- Invest whatever effort it takes to get the most bang out of the many, many bucks it takes to operate a first-rate school.
- Lead as the shepherd of the congregation using the shepherd’s staff to guide, not drive, the sheep within the fold.
- Both pastors and principals must be examples of servant leadership.
Additional Thoughts for a More Cohesive Ministry...
- When new members are welcomed into the congregation, school information should be a part of the presentation of the total ministry of the church.
- The pastor and principal should have clear lines of authority and communication.
- Since the school is a large ministry of the church, it must support the other ministries of the congregation.
- Ministry directors need to communicate with and share ideas with one another. Working together on joint projects breaks down divisions and builds bridges between congregational agencies.
- It is very important for school staff to be visible in and supportive of the activities in the church, even if they are not members.
Early Childhood Consultants
The English District has trained Early Childhood Consultants to work with congregations who are working to start, expand, or strengthen an Early Childhood ministry.
National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) is one of the most effective ongoing improvement plans and tools for missional and academic excellence for new, existing, and struggling schools.
Common Core State Standards
For a link to an LCMS School Ministry Statement regarding Common Core State Standards, click here: Stmt common core.pdf
Other resources, advice, help, and consultation for schools (new, growing, and struggling) are available by contacting the English District office.