Embracing a rich heritage dating back to the nineteenth century, Lutherans have embraced an education approach, empowering students to explore and learn a distinctive understanding of faith and life. At Soaring, our mission is to carry forward this timeless legacy by inspiring individuals and congregations to embark on a transformative journey of opening their very own Christian microschools.
The faithful Lutherans that left Germany and eventually landed in Missouri in 1837 left us a legacy of commitment to education. Wherever Lutherans settled in North America they almost always established a school. In fact, before the group of Saxons left German soil there was a plan in place to continue education during the voyage and an expectation that where a preaching station was established in the new world, a teaching ministry would commence, as well. If you build a church, build a school, too.
The Lutherans arrived in Missouri at a fortuitous time. Public education recently had been mandated but was yet to be organized. Several large waves of German immigrants arrived shortly after the Lutherans settled in Perry County and eventually shifted to St. Louis. The immigrants, with their educated lawyers, clergymen, teachers, and skilled farmers and tradesmen, formed the core of the German speaking community. They engaged their context and shaped the culture around them.
That is, they made the most of their circumstances.
Pillars of Education
The Saxons envisioned a school system consisting of two parts: an elementary school at every congregation and collaborative secondary schools including a classical gymnasium (in the style of German education) and a theological seminary. This second tier of education was dedicated to preparing pastors and teachers.
Lutheran schools existed primarily to pass on a Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith and life. Furthermore, modifications to the curriculum reflected a desire to engage intentionally in their new country. Thus, students learned the English language and studied American politics, geography, and history, in addition to subjects traditionally belonging to the classic liberal arts.
What legacy will this generation of faithful Lutherans leave behind?
How can congregations respond to contemporary issues and faithfully engage in the current context?
Microschools provide a unique opportunity to carry forward this historic commitment to education. Microschools, which can exist wherever there is space, can more readily respond to individual contexts and needs. Smaller settings and multiage learning communities are well suited to do today what our forefathers did in their day. As the Saxons shaped the culture around them, especially where public schools were not provided, Lutheran Microschools today can be a positive cultural force by providing rigorous, contextual, and faithful Christian education.
We, too, can make the most of our circumstances.
Reach out to our team of dedicated experts, who will lead you through the process and introduce you to a wealth of invaluable microschool resources.
Interested in learning more about microschools? Check out our other blog topics at soaringeducation.org.