Yesterday, our church, Our Savior Lutheran Church, celebrated the golden anniversary of its day school where grades run from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Former students, teachers and principals returned for the special service.
My experience with Lutheran schools is personal because I attended one for eight years, my wife did and so did my kids. I've seen and experienced the difference that a Christian education can make.
However, as our school experiences declining enrollment that doesn't seem to stop, I have to ask myself whether Lutheran schools can survive in an urban or semi-urban environment.
I don't feel secure in saying yes. Our church, part of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (LCMS), was driven 50 years ago to split off from its mother church by a dream and a passion to start a school. They saw the vision for their children and worked with passion to see that accomplished.
The culture has changed. The vision and the passion seems to be a hazy memory. Other things seem to take precedence.
Go to the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod website homepage and look for any indicator that educating kids is still a priority. I can't find it. Am I too pessimistic? I hope so. Our kids and grandkids need Christ-centered education now more than ever.