A Different Year, But the Same Message

This will be a different year at our Lutheran schools. Principals, teachers, custodians, cooks and board members have all busied themselves for any number of contingencies. Even the simplest of details were re-examined. Drop off, restroom break, recess, lunch, athletics, activities and pick up were all considered in light of the safety of students and staff alike. As one who has spent most of my life around Lutheran schools, it is hard to think of a school-year with no hi-fives, fist bumps or hugs (elbow bumps just aren’t the same). But what sets our schools apart is not the educational strategies or interactions between teachers and students.

Our schools have always been different. What distinguishes Lutheran schools from others is that Christ is at the center of everything we do and the COVID-19 crisis cannot change that. Whether instruction is online or in person, Christ is the reason for our school to exist and the foundation on which all of our education takes place. Even though many things are different about this school-year, that purpose and focus has not changed at all.

The sharing of Christ’s love in word and deed is what motivates those who serve and sacrifice for the sake of our Lutheran schools. The goal is that every student who walks through the school doors (or even enters the virtual classroom) would know that Jesus Christ died and rose for all. None of us know exactly how this school-year will go, but pointing students and families to Jesus will remain our mission no matter how the instruction is delivered.

Our Lutheran schools across Missouri reach thousands of children with the Gospel each day. I invite your prayers for the health of the faculty, staff and students of our schools and for the opportunities to share God’s love through our schools. These are obviously challenging for our Lutheran schools. Please consider contacting your pastor or principal if you church supports a Lutheran school or reach out to a Lutheran school to find out how you can help! It is a different year, but the message has not changed at all! May God bless our schools as they share Christ with those they serve!

Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was elected as the fifth president of the Missouri District-LCMS in 2015.  He is a 1992 graduate of Concordia College (now University), Seward, Nebraska.  He graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis with a Master of Divinity in 1996 and Doctor of Ministry in 2011.  Dr. Hagan served as associate pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Indiana from 1996-2002.  In 2002, he was called to serve as senior pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia, Missouri until he was elected district president.  Additionally, he served as the Interim Director of LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission from 2011-2012.  He has previously served as Missouri District first vice-president from 2012-2015, fourth vice-president from 2011-2012, and chairman of the Board for Congregational Services from 2006-2011.  He has presented workshops and retreats on a host of ministry topics including elders, rural ministry, outreach and ministry to inactives.  He has written articles for Lutheran Witness, Concordia Historical Quarterly and Missio Apostolica.  He has led mission trips to Cambodia, China, Guatemala and the Bahamas.  Dr. Hagan is married to Jill (nee Johnson), who works as a speech-language pathologist.  They have two children, Caroline and Jack.