Anyone serving in an administrative role or on a leadership board knows–it takes a lot to run a school successfully. One way that schools and churches can share the load and walk together in ministry is through partnerships. Saxony Lutheran High in Jackson has joined together with other Lutheran schools in the southeast part of Missouri to provide the best education with a focus firmly centered on God.
Rev. Rod Benkendorf is pastor at Hanover Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau. He is quite familiar with Saxony. Not only does he serve as a parish pastor in the greater area surrounding Saxony, but both of his daughters have graduated from Saxony and his wife, Sarah, teaches mathematics (amongst other subjects) there. He has seen firsthand how beneficial it is for people to come together in service to Christ. “The Lutheran community in this area wants to make sure that kids have access to hearing the Gospel everyday,” says Benkendorf. “As a pastor in the area, I’m just really impressed with the Christ focus that Saxony has.”
The seven schools in the partnership each operate independently and have their autonomy, but still join together for Lutheran education, professional development, and fellowship. Pastors from the Lutheran churches in the area will lead chapel services for Saxony. And Rev. Beckendorf notes that there are logistical items, like ensuring that curriculums between Lutheran grade schools and Saxony high school are aligned, but there are also fun things. For example, high school drama students will come and perform songs from their musicals at surrounding schools. Saxony also hosts a “Future Freshman Day” where Jr. High students can visit for a day. “There is such a comradery amongst the administrations,” notes Benkendorf.
Missy Adams serves as Assistant Principal at Saxony and sums up their partnership in this way, “[we build] relationships amongst the families and students through events at our school, but also professionally with the various staffs at least twice a year. In fact, the administrators of these schools also try and meet monthly to build these bounds but also work towards one common goal...providing a quality Christ-centered education for all our schools.”