Each January Lutheran Schools across the country take time to celebrate the unique opportunities that come with Lutheran Education. Even as National Lutheran Schools Week happens year after year, the celebration takes on a different flavor each year as fewer and fewer Lutheran Schools remain open to celebrate. The reason LCMS Lutheran Schools, which remains the largest Protestant parochial school system in the nation, are shrinking is multi-faceted and beyond this article. But what remains the center of Lutheran education is the education of the heart. To put it another way, the heart of Lutheran education is the education of the heart. This is seen clearly in our LCMS history, repeated in congregation after congregation. As German Lutherans settled in new areas often the first community building constructed was a school house then a sanctuary. What the fathers and mothers of those groups knew was the importance of education and education of the heart in the Gospel truths of Christ’s sacrifice for our forgiveness.
In our day the central message remains the same – Christ Crucified and Risen from the grave. Where and how that message is taught is changing. Yes, there are reasons to press on and support distinctively Lutheran Schools of all levels. There are also deeper reasons for fathers and mothers in our congregations today to prioritize the education of the heart in their own homes. You are familiar with what I will call the Education Commission from Deuteronomy 6:7ff “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” The priority is on the parents to teach, and train, and educate their children in the faith. The congregation, the Lutheran school, and Sunday school are aids and encouragements to what is happening at home.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE FAITH!! Can seem like a daunting task – spoken in the voice of God from Heaven. You might ask – Who am I to teach the eternal truths? What if I get the story wrong? What if my child asks a question I don’t know how to answer? What if I don’t know? As much as teaching the faith is about head knowledge, it is knowledge of the heart. Show your children where your heart is; where your treasure is.(Matt. 6:21) Impress upon them the importance of weekly worship attendance. (Incidentally, new research shows weekly worship attendance does more to curb ‘risky behaviors’ than any other intervention with children through their teens while also benefiting emotional and mental health1.) Make family time a priority – as parents you are the face of God to your children (Ephesians 6:1-4). Through these two things you will begin the education of the heart at home, the place where God first gave the Education Commission.
As congregations there are ways to encourage, equip and empower one another in this vital goal of passing the faith to the next generation. The Mid-South District is pleased to offer such opportunities to families and congregations as well as church workers to consider how the education of the heart happens at home. Please consider joining or following along at Our Savior Nashville on March 21 or Christ Little Rock on April 25
$10 pp for boxed lunch. No registration fee.
Register Online: Program information and online registration
1https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/187/11/2355/5094534 accessed Jan. 21, 2020