LCMS Universities – Lessons from Winfield
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
In 1893, St. John’s College in Winfield, Kansas was established as a college of the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod, before merging with the LCMS in 1911. The fact that the college would prepare men to enter was not particularly remarkable. What was distinct about St. John’s though, was that it was co-educational, that the classes were primarily taught in English and that there were programs of study that were for laypeople–such as business. St. John’s was a trailblazer for the other Synod colleges that would eventually expand to offer programs for those who would serve outside of the Church.
The Lutheran doctrine of vocation, married with us an understanding of God’s work of creation, makes for an approach to higher education that prepares graduates for service to Church and world. Our universities continue to prepare servants for church work vocations, but also other fields of service as well. Today, young people can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees from the schools of the Concordia University System in a variety of different fields, from agriculture and business to nursing and pharmacy. Like the University of Wittenberg in Luther’s day or St. John’s College in its day, Lutherans excel at preparing laypeople for lives of service in their varied callings because they learn that their service is ultimately service to Christ.
Many families today see the assaults of the secular, liberal universities on the beliefs of their children and desire something different for them. The schools of the Concordia University System provide opportunities for students to prepare for a variety of professional callings, while supporting them in growing in their faith, rather than attacking their faith. From campus chaplains and pastors to daily worship opportunities, our universities preserve a Christ-centered education that helps them prepare for church work or secular vocations. It is a comfort for faithful parents that their child is studying at a university where they can grow as individuals and in their relationship with Christ. To find out more information, go to https://cus.edu/cus/.
Prayer – O God, source of all abiding knowledge, through Word and Spirit You both enlighten the minds and sanctify the lives of those whom You draw to Your service. Look with favor on the colleges of the Church, blessing those who teach and those who learn, that all the baptized may apply themselves with ready diligence to their tasks and faithfully fulfill their service according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan