Ministry in the Classroom

Jun 23rd, 2020 | Category: Faith/Learning, Lutheran Education Commentary, Research in Education
By Ed Grube

Parish: The Thought

      Ministry in the classroom?

      Oh, there’s so much more!

      Long ago, educators called to minister in Lutheran schools needed a “parish perspective” if they were to be a highly valued part of their congregation. It was good to be parish -minded—good for the congregation and good for the school. Sometimes not so good for the worker. This led to a “perish the thought” attitude among overworked and under-appreciated professionals.

      “Balance” was often neglected in the vocabulary. Congregations found a cheap and easy way to do ministry. Their teaching ministers resented it. Perish the thought made a huge dent in Parish: the thought.

      God knows—He really does—the effort and time needed to be one who teaches in His name. By the way, with or without theological training, when you teach in a Lutheran school you do indeed have a ministry—not just a career, or worse, a job. God calls all people to a vocation, and yours—praise God—is a ministry. It doesn’t matter that you might not teach a religion course. You have the privilege and responsibility of wrapping all content in a Christian biblical worldview. If this isn’t what you want to do, pardon me, you shouldn’t be teaching in a Christian classroom. But please don’t go away. Lutheran schools need good teachers—good teachers with an attitude—an over-and-above attitude.

      But assuming that’s where you’re at or where you are headed for….

      You might find it advantageous to offer your skills and interests before someone “asks” you to fill some role. Oh, you can serve in so many ways! If that does not work, then—yes, this is a sacrifice—praise God for an opportunity, one that you might not choose but one in which He wants to use you.

      VBS always gave me the sweats, coming right after an exhausting school year. No choice. Even harder to face was public school confirmation class from 3:30–5:30 on  FRIDAY afternoons. In those days, one did not have a right of refusal, with the possible exception of death. I never liked it. I always grew from it. (You know, Romans 8:28 the “All things work… passage from Paul).

      Some things never change. Congregations still need ministry-minded and trained educators. Perhaps it would be better to say that children and adults in congregations still need education. Since you are trained to do that… well, you never will find a time when you don’t feel needed!

Perish the thought. Parish: the thought! LEJ

Ed Grube is the Director of Publications and Communications for Lutheran Education Association in River Forest, Ill. His bachelors, masters, and honorary doctorate are all from Concordia University Chicago