LCMS School Ministry

Early Childhood Centers & Elementary Schools

Congregations and Christian day schools of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod operate more than 1,100 early childhood centers and preschools, and they serve more than 81,000 children ranging from infants and toddlers to 5-year-olds.

LCMS congregations operate more than 750 elementary schools with approximately 113,000 students. More than 650 early childhood centers and elementary schools are accredited under the National Lutheran School Accreditation program.

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Chapel Talks for Lutheran Schools   •   National Lutheran Schools Week   •   Resources


“Chapel Talks for Lutheran Schools” — 2022–23

The 2022–23 “Chapel Talks for Lutheran Schools” is centered around Matthew 28:19-20 and explores the triennium theme of “Making Disciples for Life.” Historically and presently, Lutheran schools are integral to “Making Disciples for Life.” The theme unites Lutheran schools in worship, witness and life together.

It contains resources for individuals tasked with leading weekly chapel services for students of all ages in Lutheran and Christian schools. Bible verses, weekly hymns and speaking points make up only a portion of the great content of this resource.

The author, the Rev. Bob Riggert, was made a disciple through his infant Baptism at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Bremen, Kan. Lutheran schools (rural elementary school; Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, Neb.; Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne) were instrumental in his discipleship training.

Pastor Bob has been privileged to “make disciples” as a teacher and principal in Lutheran schools in Ohio and Indiana, in pastoral ministries in Iowa District West and as Executive Assistant for Education, Youth and Family Life in Iowa District West.

Riggert wrote the Bible studies for the 2008 and 2011 LCMS National Children’s Ministry conferences; “Living as Children of a Generous God” stewardship resources for Lutheran Church Extension Fund; the “Chapel Talks” for 2014–22; and numerous other Bible studies and children’s ministry resources.


“Making Disciples for Life” is available as a free, downloadable PDF or a paperback book is available for purchase online.

Download “Chapel Talks” PDF

“Chapel Talks” is produced by the LCMS School Ministry. Permission is granted to reproduce “Chapel Talks” for use in LCMS school worship services.

For more information about “Chapel Talks,” contact LCMS School Ministry at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or by email.


View and download “Chapel Talks for Lutheran Schools” from the 2008–09 school year to the newest version.

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National Lutheran Schools Week

National Lutheran Schools Week provides our network of more than 1,800 LCMS preschools, elementary schools and high schools with the public opportunity to proclaim and celebrate God’s work among us in Lutheran schools.

We thank God for the opportunity to provide excellent academic preparation for the children we serve. We are most grateful for the opportunity to share Jesus’ amazing love with children and their families.

National Lutheran Schools Week gives us an opportunity to proclaim these great blessings within the communities we serve. Our schools are amazing incubators for faithful witness of God’s love for us through Christ by teachers and students alike.


Jan. 22–28, 2023 — “Making Disciples for Life” (Matt. 28:18-20)

National Lutheran Schools Week

  • Why did the date change for NLSW?

  • Why did the date change for NLSW?

    When National Lutheran Schools Week was established, the first week of March was chosen to coincide with re-enrollment time. NLSW provides a wonderful opportunity to share the unique story of Lutheran education through open houses and other events held within our communities and congregations.

    The trend in recent years has been to begin the re-enrollment process earlier in the school year. The celebration of NLSW during March may also conflict with the penitential, somber season of Lent.

    Therefore, the members of the LCMS School Cabinet made the decision to begin National Lutheran Schools Week on the fourth Sunday in January. As has been true in the past, schools may make the decision to celebrate this week when it best meets their needs.

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  • — Encouraging, Connecting and Informing Lutheran Schools

    The website provides Lutheran teachers with spiritual, academic and communication support. The website offers a growing array of resources, devotions and discounted services. Additional resources are being produced for the site.


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  • School Ministry Mailing
  • School Ministry Mailing

    The School/Early Childhood Mailing, published monthly September-May, offers excellent resources and ideas for administrators, directors, pastors, teachers, board members and parents.

    It includes the following publications:

    • Alight/Monthly Calendar — For Administrators and Educators
    • Computer File — Tips for using technology in the classroom
    • Early Childhood Devotions — Devotional activities for children ages 3 to 7
    • Family Matters — Christ-centered resources for families and teachers
    • Growing in Governing — Growth topics and discussions for Lutheran school governing boards
    • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made — Resources for teachers and parents working with special needs students.
    • NLSA Powerful Practices — Exemplary Schools share their Best Practices
    • Parent Pages — Resources for Christian parents in the 21st Century
    • Professionally Speaking — Motivation and encouragement for the Lutheran educator
    • Rattles and Prattles —Resources for caregivers of infants and toddlers
    • School Shepherd — Tips and support for Pastors of congregations with schools
    • Time Out for Directors — Leadership development tips for directors of Early Childhood Centers

    All School Ministry Mailing articles are free to download for all Lutheran schools through the website. Please contact LCMS School Ministry for more information.

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  • In His Hands
  • In His Hands

    In His Hands is a resource manual for starting, expanding or improving a Christ-centered early childhood development ministry.

    This resource is available in a soft-bound book as well as in electronic PDF format.

    For more information about In His Hands, contact LCMS School Ministry at 888-THE LCMS or by email.

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  • Accreditation
  • National Lutheran School Accreditation

    National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) encourages and recognizes Lutheran schools that provide quality Christian education and engage in continuous improvement.

    It is completely voluntary and is available for every school operated by a single congregation, by an association of congregations, or by a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod or the Lutheran Church—Canada.

    NLSA serves a variety of levels of schools — early childhood, elementary and high schools and all combinations of the aforementioned.  It helps Lutheran schools evaluate their academic quality and the spiritual dimension of the school. The standards and report forms are similar to other accrediting processes, both secular and religious.

    Benefits of Accreditation

    • Publicly acknowledges the quality of the school through an objective outside agency
    • Employs the expertise of an objective site visit team
    • Validates the mission of the school
    • Measures a school with a set of objective national standards
    • Examines the spiritual component of the school
    • Identifies and celebrates the strengths of the school
    • Pinpoints weaknesses for correction
    • Provides a solid foundation for faculty professional development
    • Provides accountability for the school, constituents, congregation, and school community
    • Provides the “blueprint” for school improvement for the next five years
    • Involves the support and involvement of a broad constituency
    • Provides the opportunity for public acknowledgement and celebration
    • Connects a school to a network of several hundred LCMS accredited schools

    Evidence Based Accreditation

    In 2014, the NLSA National Accreditation Commission adopted the Evidence Based Accreditation (EBA) process for LCMS schools. Read an explanation of the Evidence Based Accreditation process.

    Information and Application

    Introduction to NLSA — This document provides an introduction to the NLSA program, including answers to frequently asked questions as well as information on:

    • NLSA Standards: Early Childhood, Elementary & High School
    • Co-Accrediting Partners
    • The National Accreditation Commission

    For more information about NLSA, or to apply, contact LCMS School Ministry.

    Are you looking for NLSA-related downloadable documents? We’re currently working on adding these documents to the site.  In the meantime, please contact LCMS School Ministry with any of your document needs.  Thank you for your patience.

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  • Consultations
  • Lutheran School Consulting Services

    The purpose of Lutheran School Consulting Services (LSCS) is to strengthen and revitalize Lutheran schools so God's children are well served and His kingdom expanded.

    LSCS focuses on the school and its ministry. As schools are strengthened, so are congregations and their ministries.

    How does it work?

    LSCS services include the following:

    1. An Assessment Visit

    A trained assessment consultant will visit the school and its supporting congregation(s) for one or two days. The primary purposes of this assessment visit are to identify school opportunities and challenges and to assess the probability of a positive intervention that will strengthen the school’s ministry.

    The assessment process uses:

    • The school’s application,
    • The district education executive’s knowledge,
    • A targeted leadership survey,
    • Additional information provided by the school,
    • General constituent surveys, and
    • The assessment consultant’s observations during the visit.

    These are used to determine relevant recommendations and assist the school in developing and implementing a plan to address those recommendations. There are two types of recommendations:

    • Recommendations that the church and school can accomplish without further LSCS intervention support, and
    • Recommendations that could be best accomplished with LSCS leadership and guidance. LSCS will cover the cost of the interventions that need outside assistance.

    2. Follow-up Visits

    There are a variety of potential interventions. The LSCS director will seek counsel from the district education executive and the consultant who did the assessment in selecting the appropriate process, potential individuals or LSCS consultants best equipped to serve in that specific school.

    School Ministry ‘Expert’ Consultant

    LSCS ministry ‘expert’ consultants have specific expertise to assist a school in developing and implementing strategic plans specifically designed for accomplishing the recommendations. This is usually a one- or two-day visit followed by continuing remote assistance and accountability.

    There is the possibility that several different consultants with expertise related to specific recommendations could be working with the school simultaneously.

    Schools interested in LSCS services must apply for the program. Applications are available online and through each LCMS district office.

    The district individual with responsibilities for services to Lutheran schools will be asked to sign the application and to support it before the process begins.

    Read the LSCS brochure or email LCMS School Ministry for more information about LSCS.

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  • Leadership
  • School Leadership Development Project

    The School Leadership Development Project (SLED) seeks to identify and equip potential Lutheran school leaders. This is done through a process of nomination, selection and intense training over the course of an academic year.

    Those selected for the program are required to attend and participate at three specially designed training events and are mentored over the course of the project by well-respected, experienced Lutheran school administrators.

    Since 1989, the SLED Project has trained more than 600 elementary school administrators now serving in Lutheran schools.

    For more information about SLED, contact LCMS School Ministry.

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Making Disciples for Life - Resource Center

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of a more challenging economic and philanthropic/fundraising environment due to inflationary pressure, not more than 12.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors (compared to a not-more-than ceiling of 10.5 percent the previous fiscal year). Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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