Providing the Seed & Water of Faith part II

This article is part 2 of a 2-part series. For part 1, click HERE.

Consider that teachers are in contact with their families on a regular basis (for sure in direct contact with kids every day). What would it be like if the pastor used the “elder” model of the church with the teachers of the school? This wouldn’t take more time on the teacher’s part (at least it shouldn’t) if the schedule of faculty meetings simply includes the pastor intentionally meeting with the faculty.  

Assuming a once a week faculty meeting every month, one of these weekly meetings is set aside for the discipleship and evangelism portion of the school’s work. Pastor leads Bible study and then teachers share their notes on the students of their classrooms. This will come in a form that includes news and notes, concerns and happenings that inform  the pastor. In team ministry, with the pastor leading the charge, mini-action plans are created for each family of the school. Teachers are utilized as the first stop for understanding the families of the school. This knowledge will feed baptisms, confirmation instruction, discipline and celebrations. These meetings close with prayer- for the ministry and for the families.

While this looks time consuming, it should be noted that if a church is investing in the church’s kids or the neighborhood’s kids, it makes sense to complete the investment by tying the church into the school with deliberate action. Pastors and schools’ staff owe it to those who have called them to work together in this effort.

It’s critical that the pastor is caring for his flock. It’s especially critical for those he is entrusting to support the work of the church (Lutheran teachers) that they are spiritually fit. The “have tos” for Lutheran school teachers are weekly worship and regular communion attendance. Beyond that, it would be wise for a school’s pastor to have dialog with each teacher at least once a school year. With the insights of the principal, more care may be advised for a teacher in need.

Are there obstacles? Time, confidentiality, more responsibilities all could be deemed as obstacles. But the benefits outweigh the obstacles. Through collegial efforts, obstacles will be overcome and benefits will be seen over and over again. What benefits?

*Stronger relationships between the school and church which bring about better understanding of why church’s operate schools

*Stronger relationships between the pastor and teaching staff which build each other up.

*Purposeful faculty meetings with a goal in mind instead of meetings that could be done via an email

*Collaborative use of resources by all involved.

Is there more responsibility laid on the teacher? It’s part of the fabric of Lutheran schools that the teacher has care for the entire child- including faith in Christ. Lutheran school teachers know that having more than just an acquaintance with a family is not good enough- strong relationships are integral to a good school year. These relationships bring about strong academic success. However, these relationships should be used for a higher good as well.

Is there more responsibility placed on the Pastor? Is the school his responsibility? Some pastors sense that the school is not a welcome environment. It’s sad when this occurs. Perceived or real, tension or apathy between the church and school is not good for ministry.

The reality is that the school isn’t the pastor’s direct responsibility. The administration of the school falls in the hands of the principal. But the proclamation of the Gospel is the pastor’s responsibility. This idea of a closer working of school staff and pastor is not for the pastor to be superintendent. It’s simply using the time and talents of those called to serve to better utilize all that is available for  reaching families with the Gospel.

It’s interesting that NLSA Standards 1 & 2 either assume or imply the pastor’s role in the school as spiritual head. While narratives and observations often support a healthy relationship of the pastor and the school, formalizing opportunities such as this proposed monthly meeting with a faith RTI make these efforts stronger.

The laity should be desiring of a strong  pastor/principal, church/school relationship. If this is an issue, this activity could prove to be a wonderful way to break down walls and produce more effective ministry- one modeled by a pastor working with the staff. I look forward to hearing more about how schools and churches are working together to share Christ.