School Mission Statement
The mission statement for Zion Lutheran School:
Sharing hope, teaching Christ while being Christ Centered, Academically Strong and Respectfully Operated.
The mission of Zion Lutheran School flows from our congregational mission, vision and strategy. It is vitally important for us to be united in our congregation’s mission so that we are able to work together in caring for God’s people and furthering his kingdom. We recognize our Lutheran day school is just a part of the many expressions of the congregation’s mission strategy of cradle to grave Christian education. We also recognize it as a powerful expression that seeks to share hope and teach Christ in the midst of learning traditional reading, writing and arithmetic.
To ensure academic and professional excellence Zion Lutheran School does have a sub-mission (one that flows from the congregational mission) to guide and lead our school. That sub-mission can be summed up by six bolded words:
The Privilege of a Lutheran Parochial School Education
In the book of Proverbs it says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6). One ministry that is unique to our Lutheran tradition is the fantastic Christian education system that embraces the meaning of this verse.
Our school system is one that is based on what might be called the four R's, rather than just the traditional three. Within in the walls of places like Zion's elementary school and Mayer Lutheran High school, students are not only taught about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they are constantly taught about relationships, specifically their relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ, and the resulting relationships he then creates between each of them.
The unique thing about this teaching is that it not only occurs during religion class or confirmation, but it is incorporated in all of our subjects, in the hallway, in the lunch room and on the play ground. Thus, teaching about Jesus is not just a subject we teach at school. It is a way of life. It is a belief that we incorporate into all aspects of our school.
This is something that we celebrate and embrace as part of what it means to"Train a child in the way he/she should go." However, we do recognize that there is something important about this verse from Proverbs that is very important for us to remember. It is something that makes clear the limitations of what our institutional Lutheran schools can do. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" was written long before any Lutheran schools were even thought about or created.
So who is this verse talking to? It is speaking to parents and all Christian caregivers about the primary role they have in teaching the faith to children. The following verses from Deuteronomy chapter six give a clear reminder of this to all Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and sponsors: "5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
These verses make clear that that the primary place where a child is to be taught and trained in the way of the Lord is in the home. In fact, if we go to another very important verse of Proverbs we will see how significant this understanding is.
Just flip the numbers around (from Proverbs 22:6) to Proverbs 6:22 (actually 20-22). "20 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you."
The Bible is clear on the importance of parents teaching the way in which their children should go. The Bible says that parents are the most influential people in a child's life.
Here is a fascinating tidbit. A recent study unequivocally backs up this 4,000 year old claim.
From the years 2002-2005 the National Study of Youth and Religion conducted the largest, most comprehensive and detailed study of American teenage religion and spirituality ever attempted. Look at what they found: "Parents exert huge influences in the lives America adolescence - whether for good or ill, and whether adults can perceive it or not - when it comes to religious faith and most other areas of teens' lives they are the most formative influences" (Soul Searching, 2005, p.28). This is profound. Yet it is something the Bible has been saying for thousands of years.
Thus the fundamental message of Proverbs 6 is really quite simple: the teachings of the faith are intimately connected with daily life. The words of mothers, fathers, and other caregivers impact the lives of our children as they go on their way and as they begin and end their daily routines.
Having a solid relationship with your children, one where you can share your faith, teach the faith, and live the faith together in your HOMES is going to have a far greater lasting impact than any influence a pastor or teacher is going to have on your child's life. Certainly we recognize pastors and teachers to be important in a child's life, but the point is - as the BIBLE says - moms and dads you are the most formative people in your child's faith and life.
Once again research backs this up. The Barna Group - a nationally recognized research and resource firm who interviewed thousands of people over multiple years, found that, "Parents who raised spiritual champions certainly placed a high premium on the spiritual development of their children. But the fascinating distinctive feature is that they saw themselves as the primary spiritual developers of their young ones. The role of the church to which they belonged - whether it was a conventional congregation, a house church, or some other alternative community of faith - was to reinforce what was happening in the household." (Revolutionary Parenting. 2007, p.56)
As a church and as school we understand this. That is why we emphasize that our churches and schools are in partnership with the homes of our members where preaching, teaching, and living of the good news of Jesus Christ takes place.
To be a Christian means we are called to a way of life 24 hours a day. Not just on Sunday morning. Not just at the church service. Simply because we may send our children to a Lutheran school does not mean they will live what is taught if we as parents do not live it and TEACH it in our HOMES.
Therefore we recognize the tremendous privilege it is to teach children in our Lutheran schools. But even great do we recognize, lift up and celebrate the role of parents and the joy we have in partnering with them in passing on the faith of Jesus Christ.