What we believe
Message from Dan Gehrke, Executive Director
A friend of mine once told me, "Lutherans are committed to receiving God's love, God's Word, and God's forgiveness. We get it. We share it. And we leave the world a better place."
All Lutheran high schools have the same mission. You can find Lutheran high schools all over the country, all committed to the same thing: being academically excellent schools that God uses to transform the lives of others through Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 10:27-28 - "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
Jesus knows us. And that same love and salvation that He extends to us through His death and resurrection is the same salvation that is proclaimed daily in our Lutheran high schools across the country.
Jesus knows us and in turn, a Lutheran high school knows and loves its students. The relationships formed at a Lutheran high school become the foundation for both academic excellence and spiritual encouragement. Lutheran high schools are communities of people dedicated to having a conversation about what God has done for us through His son Jesus Christ. Those communities are then the perfect complement to families and churches who value both reaching the lost and raising up Christian kids to become spiritual champions.
And that is why the environment of a Lutheran high school makes an instant connection with Christian families. One need not be a Lutheran to attend a Lutheran high school. The core tenants of "grace alone," "faith alone," "Scripture alone" found in Lutheran theology and doctrine by their very nature resonate with all people in search of the truth. They also draw in non-Christians who are seeking answers to the greater questions of life.
Indeed, Lutheran high school communities leave the world a better place.
About the Colorado Lutheran High School Association
The Colorado Lutheran High School Association which does business as Lutheran High School is part of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS or Synod). The LCMS is a mission-oriented and Bible-based denomination that confesses the historic, orthodox Christian faith in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a faith built on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). With the universal Christian Church, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God, who created all that exists; became man to suffer, die, and rise again for the world’s redemption; and brings people to faith and new life through His Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are coequal and coeternal, one God.
LCMS congregations voluntarily choose to belong to the Synod, and, although diverse in many ways, all hold to a shared confession of Jesus Christ as taught in Holy Scripture. We believe without reservation that the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament are the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice. In addition, the Synod accepts without reservation the writings contained in the Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Believing in the authority of Holy Scripture and that the Lutheran Confessions are a correct interpretation and presentation of biblical doctrine, our congregations agree to conform all their teaching and practice to the Scriptures and the Confessions.
The Synod “is not an ecclesiastical government, exercising legislative or coercive powers” (LCMS Constitution, Article VII) concerning its member congregations and ministers. However, the voluntary association of member congregations and ministers includes their agreement to respect and honor and uphold (Bylaw 1.7.2, 1.8.1) decisions (resolutions) made by the Synod in its national conventions regarding the understanding of the teachings of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions and practices that are consistent with such teaching. The Synod in convention is the “principle legislative assembly” of the LCMS (Bylaw 3.1.1) and its resolutions and statements are the position of the Synod in matters of doctrine and life. The Constitution and Bylaws of the LCMS provide specific guidance for the implementation and supervision of the teaching and practice of its members (congregations and rostered church workers).
Congregations of the LCMS, while upholding teachings and practices that are consistent with Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions and while honoring Synod convention resolutions, are self- governed and establish policies based on local circumstance and expediency. An LCMS congregation or ministry operates according to its own constitution and bylaws – which are required by the Synod Bylaws to be reviewed by the District through which the congregation holds membership in the Synod – and therein establishes an orderly way of making decisions and determines which individuals or entities in the congregation (e.g., the pastor, church council, board of elders) will have authority to act on behalf of the congregation in specific circumstances. The Constitution and bylaws of the Colorado Lutheran High School Association govern our decision-making and policies. A copy is available upon request.
Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Ps. 139).
Statement Concerning Human Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. We believe that the term marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of [the organization] as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Lutheran High School community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Lutheran High School in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Lutheran High School.
A Message from Our Principal, Mr. Ness
At Lutheran High School, our mission is to provide an environment that “nurtures academic excellence” and “encourages growth in Christ.” Beyond the classroom, all extra-curricular activities must be Christ-centered and in support of the growth and excellence these statements profess. Years ago, I was blessed at a conference to hear our priorities ranked in the ministry of Christian education. It’s a blueprint worth following and certainly puts things in proper perspective.
Salvation through Jesus Christ: The foundation for our school is Jesus Christ. The single-most important thing we can do as a ministry is point people to His saving work on the cross and the hope of salvation and eternal life through Him alone. There are certainly academic components to theology classes, but above all they are about relationships – with Jesus Christ and each other. Every aspect of our school must point to our Savior.
Character Development: We need to be in the business of Christ-centered character education. Not a bland, watered-down program about “respect,” but the fullness of Scripture working in our lives and encouraging the Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). We emphasize academic honesty, integrity in our relationships with others, developing a work ethic, being good stewards, using uplifting language, and serving others. Developing character means everything from starting the day with the Pledge of Allegiance (citizenship) to providing appropriate discipline (accountability) to insisting that students do their own work (integrity).
Academic Excellence: We may not get far in Douglas County with an ad campaign that announced, “At Lutheran High School, academics are our third priority.” Without question, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and how we respond to that are of greater significance in our ministry than academics. Pursuing excellence means we want academics to be the very best they can be – we just understand the eternal context. Doing well on a test or getting the desired grade is important, but we want students to understand the significance and deeper ramifications of the material that is being studied. More than just the what, we want to develop students that have the higher-order thinking abilities to analyze, synthesize, and create in the classroom.
Competitive Excellence: Colossians 3:23 reminds us that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” This is a Scripture seen frequently in connection with athletic and extra-curricular programs. We don’t want to be soft on training. There’s Biblical support for doing things well, working hard, and pursuing excellence. Eligibility rules are in place to help emphasize that this does not usurp academics. We want students pursuing excellence on the court, field, and stage that understand the role extra-curriculars have in the scheme of things at Lutheran High School.
I’m thankful for the ministry of Lutheran High School as it relates to Salvation through Jesus Christ, Character Development, Academic Excellence, and Competitive Excellence! Pray with us that this is maintained and strengthened!
Principal, Lutheran High School
Nurturing Academic Excellence Encouraging Growth in Christ
Wall of Fame
Lutheran High School is starting a new tradition – the Wall of Fame! Each year’s inductees will be honored at Lutheran High School’s Homecoming and recognized on a wall in Lutheran High School.
School Board members with ten of more years of service: Colleen Brewer, Dan Clark, Mark Elmshauser, Robert Fischer, Ron Hodel, Emil Krause, August Krenz, Howard Lowann, John Paulus, David Peterson, and Ed Scott.
Reverend Julius Clausen
The original 2000-2001 staff of Lutheran High School of the Rockies.
- Denver Lutheran Class of 1958 - first graduating class
- Lutheran Parker (Lutheran High of the Rockies) - Class of 2004 - first graduating class
Dr. Norman Brinkman Founding principal of Lutheran High School in Denver
The 40+ Club (over 40 years of service to Lutheran High School)
Dr. Lyle Schaefer, Mr. Warren Kettner, Mr. Henry Hermann, and Mr. Ron Brandhorst Having served at Lutheran High School in Denver for over 40 years.
– Dr. Norman Brinkman: In 1953, Dr. Brinkman accepted the challenge of starting Lutheran High School in Denver, Colorado on a farm property at 3201 W Arizona Ave. During his 24 years at LHS (1953 to 1977), he saw the school grow from humble beginnings into an accredited institution with a wide range of highly respected programs for which he frequently said "to God be all the glory." Denver Lutheran’s football field was appropriately named “Brinkman Field.” Because of the solid foundation that Dr. Brinkman laid at Denver Lutheran High School, the Colorado Lutheran High School Association was able to later branch out and start a second high school in Parker. Dr. Norman H Brinkman, founding Lutheran high school principal, died in the Lord at age 86 following a short illness.
– Dr. Lyle Schaefer: Doc Schaefer joined the Lutheran High School faculty in the fall of 1957 and served the school through 2000. He served as an instructor in the social studies and English departments. He served faithfully as the school statistician and was the primary historian for Lutheran High School. To this day, Doc remembers everything about Lutheran High School.
– Mr. Henry Hermann: Hank Hermann served Lutheran High School from 1959 to 1999 as a theology, German, and driver’s education instructor. He also guided the production of the Lantern, the school’s yearbook. Mr. Hermann served as the school’s principal during the 1986-1987 school year. Many students remember the summer trips to Europe that Mr. Hermann led.
– Mr. Warren Kettner: Warren Kettner also joined the staff at Lutheran High School in 1959, serving primarily in the social studies department. Coach Kettner was the head baseball coach for many years, and the baseball field at the Denver campus was named “Kettner Field” in honor of him. He served the school in various capacities after retirement until the closure of the Denver campus in 2011. Most recently he can be remembered aboard his mower, faithfully taking care of the Denver campus grounds.
– Mr. Ron Brandhorst: Ron Brandhorst came on board at Lutheran High School in 1966 and retired in 2009. It is widely rumored that he taught every class ever offered at Lutheran High, but served primarily in the science department. He also coached football and track. Loved by students and fellow packrats, Ron has become a key contributor in connecting with DLHS alumni on Facebook.
Mrs. Cheryl Cattau is the Alumni Coordinator for Lutheran High School. She can be reached at the Association office at 303-934-8611. Please update Cheryl with current contact information and exciting life news at email@example.com.
(Adapted from "Lutheran High School, Denver Colorado" by Dr. Lyle Schaefer)
Only eight Lutheran High Schools existed in the United States in 1943 when Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Denver presented its plan for a Lutheran High School to the newly formed Denver Lutheran Council. It was hoped that a representative group of congregations would bring Lutheran secondary education to the Mile High City.
The Executive Board of the Denver Lutheran Council appointed a committee of three pastors, two elementary school teachers, and nine laymen to meet at St. John's Lutheran in Denver on February 6, 1944. They recommended that a Lutheran high school association be organized as soon as possible. After years of failing to advance the notion of an association of churches and opening a high school, the Colorado Lutheran High School Association was formed on January 6, 1953.
A ten-acre farm was purchased in November of 1953 at 3201 W. Arizona Ave. in Denver for $35,000. "It's coming alive in '55" became the slogan as founding Principal, Dr. Norm Brinkman, opened Lutheran High School for its first year of classes in the fall of 1955. Only temporary buildings, including a little, white house, which is still on campus today, served as the classrooms and school library. Enrollment on the opening day was 49 freshmen and 28 sophomores. Tuition was $15 a month for Lutheran students and $300 a year for all others. Rev. Oswald Hoffman, Lutheran Hour Speaker, delivered the message at the cornerstone laying ceremony. Early in the first semester, navy blue and gold were chosen as the school colors and "Lights" was chosen as the mascot - derived from Matthew 5:16.
Twenty-eight graduates received their diplomas at the first commencement in 1958, and Lutheran High School became accredited by the State of Colorado in 1961. A second wing to the school building was completed in 1959 and a third wing was added in 1963. Enrollment reached its peak at 512 students in 1974. Lutheran High School become one of the first two private schools to enter the Colorado High School Activities Association. The gym, later known as the "Light House," was built in 1967.
The Colorado Lutheran High School Association expanded its ministry and opened two new schools in the fall of 2000. Lutheran High School of the Rockies (later renamed Lutheran High School Parker) began in a strip mall on Parker Rd. under the direction and guidance of Mr. Tim Hipenbecker. The school colors were purple and silver and the students chose "Lions" as the mascot. North Lutheran High School began in rented space in the north part of the Denver metro area. Lutheran High School at 3201 W. Arizona Ave. was renamed "Denver Lutheran High School."
19 million dollars was borrowed in 2004 to see the construction of the Lutheran High School Parker campus at 11249 Newlin Gulch Blvd. and to renovate and add additional space to the Denver Lutheran campus. This investment did not result in increased enrollment for either of the two schools. North Lutheran High School was closed in 2006 due to its inability to meet enrollment projections. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund assisted the CLHSA in refinancing its 19 million of debt to 14.5 million. The communities of Denver Lutheran and Lutheran Parker raised 1.1 million dollars in 30 days to assist the refinancing.
With enrollment at the Denver Lutheran High School still on the decline, its campus was sold to Denver Public Schools in June of 2010 for 5 million dollars. The plan was to relocate its operations to the northwest part of the Denver metro area after leasing at its current location for two school years. That plan was re-evaluated shortly thereafter In light of dragging payables, lack of tuition income, debt service, and failure to generate funds. After a long period of wrestling with the future plans for the organization, it was announced in February of 2011 that Denver Lutheran High School and Lutheran High School Parker would be consolidated at the Parker campus for the 2011-2012 school year and the school would be once again known as "Lutheran High School." Each school finished its 2010-2011 school years with 175 students.
The 2011-2012 school year began at the Parker campus with 238 students under the theme of "unity," with a new logo, a combined student body, and a combined staff.
Lutheran High School is built on the history and tradition of both Denver Lutheran High School and Lutheran High School Parker. The legacy of both schools are honored at the current campus. The school will serve about 200 more students during the 2017-2018 school year than both schools did together in 2010-2011. To God be the glory - He has been good to and through Lutheran High School.
Board of Directors
- Colleen Brewer, Board Chair
- Scott Barton
- Michele Schulteis
- Sam Huebner
- Keith Rodefeld
- Rev. David Vanderhyde
- Sean Kidston
- Matt Walton
LCMS Association Congregations
- Ascension Lutheran-Littleton
- Bethlehem Lutheran-Denver
- Christ Lutheran-Denver
- Epiphany Lutheran-Castle Rock
- Faith Lutheran-Denver
- Grace Lutheran-Parker
- Holy Cross Lutheran-Highlands Ranch
- Hope Lutheran-Aurora
- Immanuel Lutheran-Englewood
- Mt. Olive Lutheran-Aurora
- Our Father Lutheran-Centennial
- Peace with Christ Lutheran-Aurora
- Peace Lutheran-Arvada
- Redeemer Lutheran-Denver
- Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran-Centennial
- St. John's Lutheran-Denver
- Trinity Lutheran-Franktown
- University Hills Lutheran-Denver
View the annual report
From the desk of Dan Gehrke, Executive Director; the 2021 LuHi Annual Report