Bethany Lutheran Church is a Christian congregation. Members gather regularly around the preached and taught word of God to hear the gospel message of God’s forgiveness won for the world by Jesus Christ. This is the primary activity of any Christian congregation, found in weekly divine service.
The gospel is the reason Bethany exists, and it’s also the reason Bethany has a school. God gave a commission to His Church when Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. Part of this commission is to keep teaching the gospel.
Columbia Lutheran School is simply part of Bethany’s mission to teach the gospel. When students attend CLS who are not members of Bethany, they experience exactly the same things as Bethany members. All class lessons are taught in the light of God’s word, as knowledge and skills that are gifts of God. Brief chapel services are conducted daily. Every student has a hymnal and learns how to use it. Students memorize Scripture passages, hymn verses, and the text of Luther’s Small Catechism. Students experience daily examples and models of prayer and have daily opportunities to pray. They are encouraged to participate in the daily worship life of a Christian as they live out their godly vocation as students. Even discipline is taught in light of God’s forgiveness.
Individual members of Bethany Lutheran Church each have their own reasons for supporting the congregation’s parochial school. Some simply want to reach out with the gospel. Others want to sprinkle the fallen world with the spice and preservative of faith, to make our earthly homeland a better place. Others want a haven for Christian families where they don’t have to face the wicked spirit of this age in every class curriculum. Others consider the classical education provided at Columbia to be a better preparation of young minds than elsewhere. Others want to make connections to the community and cultivate new church members. For some, it’s a combination of these and other factors.
Bethany doesn’t have a hidden agenda for its school. Columbia is a gospel ministry of the church, with the mission “To provide a quality classical Christian education for the families of the Mid-Columbia area, preparing students for their current and future God-given roles and supporting parents in their vocation to educate and nurture their children.”
Church members and our Christian neighbors should consider Bethany’s school to be an important activity of the congregation in fulfillment of our Lord’s Great Commission. Through this work, He is blessing both our community and the congregation itself.