Resolution 8-03A

LCMS 2016 National Convention


Resolution 8-03A — To Support the Quality and Sustainability of Lutheran Schools through the Work of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Lutheran Schools

 

Summary

The 2013 Synod convention established a Blue Ribbon Committee “to assist our congregations to embrace Lutheran schools as a critical ministry in congregational life and to support our schools as they serve in the 21st century” (2016 Convention Proceedings, p. 183).

In 2016, the convention delegates adopted Res. 8-03A, which called for the continuation of the committee so that it could complete its work by mid-2018.

The committee’s report will be included in the 2019 Convention Workbook for consideration.

Resolution Text & Task Force Members

 

Purpose

The purpose of the committee is to:

1. Identify the reasons for the decline in the number of schools and in total student enrollment;

2. Assess the current compensation of pastors and teachers in congregations with Lutheran schools and its effect on Lutheran schools and workers;

3. Suggest pilot projects that may produce creative solutions related to the challenges currently faced by our Lutheran schools;

4. Explore and communicate creative options for enhancing the quality of our schools, such as classical education, online education, flexible scheduling, hybrid homeschooling, consolidated efforts among congregations with schools, and ministry among international students;

5. Identify alternative models for funding Lutheran schools with an emphasis on making schools affordable for all families;

6. Recommend strategies for our Lutheran schools to serve their immigrant neighbors;

7. Identify, celebrate and share examples of Lutheran schools actively engaged in the mission of Christ in their respective communities;

8. Explore the role of Lutheran schools in planting new churches and revitalizing existing churches; and

9. Address the significant need for a new generation of Lutheran educators.

 

Status Update

The Blue Ribbon Committee on Lutheran Schools continued working in 2017 by coming together four times to address the resolution guidance and instructions from the 2016 Synod convention.

In order to accomplish this work, the Blue Ribbon task force gathered 20 individuals together who represented all levels and focus areas of Lutheran education.

These 20 individuals were further assigned to one of four working groups focusing specifically on an individual issue or set of issues. Each working group was directed to determine how best to research and approach the assigned topics.

Group 1: Economic Needs

Assigned Task: Analyze, account for and address the economic needs, including an assessment of compensation of rostered and non-rostered workers and teachers, and look at how those needs will impact the congregations where workers serve.

Group 2: Options for Lutheran Schools

Assigned Task: Establish a set of collaborative and creative options for the future of Lutheran schools in the 21st century that include but are not limited to: (1) alternative funding models, (2) examples of schools in mission in their neighborhoods and (3) the need for a new generation of Lutheran educators.

Group 3: Breakthroughs and Best Practices

Assigned Task: Develop and implement pilot projects that may produce creative solutions related to the challenges currently faced by our Lutheran schools that include but are not limited to: (1) strategies for serving immigrant neighbors and (2) exploration of the role of schools in church planting and revitalization.

Group 4: Reasons for Decline and Recommendations for Growth

Assigned Task: Identify reasons for decline in the number of schools and school enrollment, and explore opportunities for growth.

Over the course of the last year, these groups researched, surveyed and investigated their specific area. At the conclusion of their time together, they compiled this information into a working group report with recommendations to be conveyed to the 2019 convention.

At this time, the research and information-collection work of the committee is complete, as are the face-to-face meetings.

LCMS School Ministry staff members are in the process of compiling and organizing the individual working group reports into a single document to present to the 2019 Synod convention that will reflect the work and research of the task force and contain recommendations based on the data collected.

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