Lutheran Schools and the Small Catechism — guest article by Andrew Strickland

smallCatechismChristmas shopping is always an exciting endeavor. By exciting I mean terrifyingly hectic. By terrifyingly hectic I mean I wish I had gotten it done much earlier. On one of those shopping adventures I ran into a former student. We talked for a short while before we both resumed our separate shopping quests. During the conversation I learned that the student did not remember much of what was learned in my classroom*, but the student did remember much of the lessons we had of the Small Catechism. That student mentioned that through all of the years at a Lutheran school the catechism was so helpful during the difficult times. The student went on to recite this:

“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.”**

What a powerful reminder for me! Daily in the classroom there is so much to get done. With state standards, class, curriculum, interrupting events, and field trips*** it is easy to push the Small Catechism and even the Bible to the background. I have been sorely tempted to do this and I confess, to my shame, that I have done this very thing. The pressure to get all of the work done in the classroom is high. Yet I have learned through the years that the last thing I should do is to push the Bible and the Small Catechism to the background. I have learned the importance of daily reading them and teaching my students about them. That encounter with a former student powerfully reminded me of the blessing of teaching in a Lutheran school and confirmed for me that despite all of the things that happen in the classroom teaching the Bible and Catechism should never be substituted.

*that was great for my ego


*** to name only a few

 Andrew Strickland was Baptized in the Lutheran church, but was raised and Chrismated in the Antiochian Orthodox church. Having attended Lutheran schools most of his life it came as no surprise that he left the Orthodox church for the LC-MS. He is the 7th and 8th grade teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School Prior Lake, Minnesota and is completing his 13th year of teaching middle school. He has been married to Amanda for almost 13 years. They have two children; a kindergarten aged son who he gets to take to and from school daily and a beautiful daughter who is 18 months old. In his spare time he loves to fish, play epic board games, grow vegetables, and stay up late reading blogs.


Lutheran Schools and the Small Catechism — guest article by Andrew Strickland — 3 Comments

  1. What a beautiful reminder this post has been for me. I too attended a Lutheran school more than 40 years ago (in fact Todd Wilken was in the class behind me.) What I remember most is not learning to read and write and add and subtract, but learning new hymns, sitting at our weekly chapel service, learning bible verses, and yes, the Small Catechism. I can even see and remember the names of all my teachers from that school! Something I’m not able to do after I entered the public school system. What a great gift that education has been for me.

  2. I remember that, many years ago while in a voters’ meeting debate on “real evangelism programs,” sharing with those present my deepest joy as a teacher in Lutheran schools was knowing that eternal life with Christ doesn’t depend on SATs or state aptitude test scores, but on the living faith that is ours through God’s grace, and that I was able to share that on a daily basis with the students in my classes and their families! One of my previous students recently shared with me on FaceBook a short video of himself singing a song with his 3 yr-old son that he learned in my class, and he thanked me for teaching him faithfully. THANKS BE TO GOD!

  3. Knowledge of the Small Catechism continues to decline in the LCMS. Just ask the seminary professors.

    Is it not true, that, after the 10 commandments, the remaining five chief parts are almost entirely Gospel, that is what God has done and continues to do for us? If that is true, perhaps teaching the S.C. from that standpoint might be more readily taught and more readily learned.

    Just thinking….

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