God Works All Things for Good

The pandemic wreaked havoc on all schools, but Lutheran schools have come out stronger on the other side. Missouri District schools have seen a 22% increase in enrollment over the past three years. Two things happened in public schools that led families to look at Lutheran schools. First, many parents spent significant amounts of time working with their children in public schools during online learning. What they discovered in some cases was that their children were being taught values that were not in line with their own. They found an educational agenda that was alarming to them and they began to look around for better options. Second, Lutheran schools returned to in-person learning far more quickly than most public schools. In many communities this led to families coming to Lutheran schools in 2021 or 2022 as they wanted to find schools that provided excellent education, but also values. When the families came to Lutheran schools, they have mostly stayed.

The last three years have provided an opportunity for Lutheran schools to show who we are and what we do. Our schools have shown love and care for the new families that have joined us and helped children to know who they are as children created in the image of God and for whom Christ died. Ultimately, it does not matter what led new families to our Lutheran schools. What matters is that we teach children and parents alike the good news of Jesus Christ and our place in the amazing world that He created.

From early childhood centers to elementary schools to high schools, we are thankful for each child and family we are able to reach. We pray that more and more children will come to our schools. While waiting lists are a nice problem to have for some of our schools, we never want any child to have to wait to receive a Christ-centered education. We are also thankful that one of our congregations is currently engaged in a feasibility study for beginning a new Lutheran school. This month as students return to our Lutheran schools, continue to pray for their vital work in teaching the faith to young children through young adults. May more and more children be blessed by a Lutheran school where they can grow in knowledge and faith as a child of God.

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (2002-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.