“Why should I give money to the school? I don’t even have children.”
“Our school is just too expensive to maintain. We should close it and save ourselves the trouble.”
I’m sure you’ve heard these statements, along with many others, in your own congregation. In tight economic times, people begin to get discouraged and wonder if our Christian schools are really “worth it.” Do they really make a difference? Are we really accomplishing our mission of telling the little children about Jesus?
Before you answer those questions, I want to tell you a story.
My husband serves as a teacher and basketball coach at Messiah Lutheran School in the city of St. Louis. At some point I was drafted into the role of assistant basketball coach. We currently have 12 young men in grades 4, 5 and 6 wearing the Messiah Mustangs uniform.
This past weekend, the Mustangs participated in the Bethlehem Lutheran Tournament. As anyone who has ever been involved in grade school sports can attest, it’s big business for the players and their parents. The Mustangs won the first game but were soundly defeated in the second. Therefore, they would be playing for third place on Saturday afternoon.
As is his usual practice, my husband gathered the team together for a pre-game pep talk and devotion. The boys were nervous about the upcoming game. It was a situation where a win would bring them a trophy but a loss would send them home empty handed.
After explaining a new play and praying with the boys, my husband said, “Now I want you to do whatever you need to do to get ready for the game.” With that he left the room and closed the door.
We stood in the hallway expecting to hear boisterous laughter and “trash talk”. All we heard was silence, not even a shuffle of feet from behind the door. Now, I have to admit there’s something quite suspicious about a completely silent room of 4, 5 and 6 grade boys so we quietly opened the door a crack and peaked inside.
The boys were standing in a circle, holding hands and praying.
Now, you tell me, do our Christian schools make a difference? Are our schools “worth it?” Are our “little children” learning about Jesus?
(P.S. the Mustangs did go on to take home the third place trophy.)