What Does This Mean?
Recently a family visited our school. They saw classes, met teachers, attended chapel, and came to my office for conversation. There we discussed typical school-related topics such as curriculum, extra-curricular opportunities, and school culture. During the conversation the father asked, “Why should we send our children to Evergreen instead of to another private school?” Good question. After all, there are other private schools that feature moral education, strong academics, extra-curricular programs, and nice facilities. I did not bring any of these factors into my answer. Instead I responded that we have a Christ-focused culture at Evergreen. A Christ-focused culture. What does this mean?
“What does this mean?” is a good Lutheran question. Young Lutherans learn to answer it in catechism class when they study the commandments, creeds, sacraments, and the other chief parts of our church’s teachings. Good Lutheran pedagogy, therefore, compels me to explain what it means when we say that Evergreen Lutheran High School has a Christ-focused culture. It means that …
· The Word of God is treasured. Every day the entire campus family worships in a respectful, reverent manner. We treat this as the most important part of our day.
· The Word is lived. We encourage God-pleasing conduct and faithfulness.
· Law and Gospel are properly divided and applied. The hallmark teaching of Lutheranism, justification by faith in Christ alone, is the foundation of all instruction and guidance for students and teachers redeemed from their sins by the grace of God.
· All relationships are agape-motivated in an encouraging environment. Christ-like love abounds. We strive to make all feel valued as part of a Christian family.
· Spoken and written words are “captive to Christ.” Conversations, assignments, and all school publications are done tastefully to the praise and glory of God.
· Our appearance reflects thankfulness for what Christ has done. Student dress and the appearance of our campus exhibit neatness, cleanliness, and modesty.
· Instruction integrates the Word of God. Teachers permeate their lessons with the Christian point of view.
· We share Christ and have a mission mindset. We integrate non-member students and families as well as international students into our school family and invite them to embrace our faith.
Evergreen is not a perfect school. We sometimes struggle and fail to be everything that a Christ-centered school should be. At such times we look to the cross for forgiveness and hope. We depend on God’s help; we trust his promise to bless the seed of the Word wherever it is sown.
Families come to our school for a multitude of reasons – friendships, the small school environment, convenience, sports, and others – but the best thing we provide and the real reason for our existence is our Christ-centered culture. It has been a privilege at ELHS to prepare our youth for over 37 years. We pray that God will allow us to continue for many more!