Lutheran Schools – A Lesson in Grace
By Pastor Mark Ball, St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
As Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, as well as an alumnus of St. Paul Lutheran School, I am also a parent who, alongside my wife, made the decision to send our children to St. Paul for their early education through 8th grade. As such, I have a special understanding and deep appreciation for both our school here in Hilton, as well as the broader Lutheran education system.
Historically, education was a priority for Lutherans who migrated to the US from Germany and Scandinavia. One of the first things they did upon arrival was build church-affiliated schools, reflecting the strong emphasis on education handed down directly from Martin Luther himself. This rich tradition of faith-based learning can be found at Lutheran schools across the nation to this day.
Today, thousands of families from all faith denominations continue to choose a Lutheran education for their children.
Why? It starts by leading with grace, which means that God loves you – just because he loves you…whether you’re being good or not so good. We teach our student body to grow in confidence that we are all children of a loving and forgiving God, helping them develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
All our teachers know their first responsibility is to be mentors of the faith. That falls above everything else on their list of things to do. We are also very intentional in the way we teach forgiveness and reconciliation, breaking it into steps and lessons across the different age levels. When children and young adults see themselves as forgiven, they are capable of extending that to other people.
It is our goal each day for your child to experience our school as a peaceful place of faith, friendship, joy, discovery, challenge and learning.
Personally, I am 100% convicted as to the value of this approach to education, because I believe that faith requires life change, and life change takes time. A Lutheran school offers time and space to grow in our faith.
Enrolling my own children at St. Paul – and watching their faith blossom – actually resulted in my going to seminary. When my older son was in Kindergarten here, he came home one day and was very focused on making sure we prayed for people in need before we had dinner. While I always considered myself to be a faithful person, watching this little boy pray so sincerely for a sick friend grabbed my attention so completely, that I knew I had to do something different with my life.
Families often tell me that they chose St. Paul Lutheran School because they somehow inherently knew this was the right place for their kids to be. Later, it turns out to be the right place for them too.
Anyone who is looking for a lesson in grace – for themselves or their children – please come visit St. Paul and witness the power of forgiveness, faith, peace and joy. All are welcome!