Lutheran High's mission is to nurture academic excellence and encourage growth in Christ. In this ebook, we'll focus on the how and why behind the second part of our mission: Encouraging growth in Christ. Helping students grow their faith is a goal of many Christian schools; however, the approach to how to do this varies.
At LuHi, we believe encouraging growth in Christ starts with:
- building strong relationships and trust with students
- exposure to God's word and a biblical worldview
- and helping students answer questions of purpose, identity, and truth
We engage students in faith conversations.
Table of Contents
Recent research from the Barna Group shows that 75% of Gen Z feel like there's no meaning in life. As George Barna puts it, “. . . this is a generation where three out of four are searching for meaning. This is a group that doesn't have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.” Gen Z also feels a unique amount of pressure and anxiety, with 47% being “afraid to fail” and 51% feeling “anxious about important decisions.” Another Barna study shares that “For many teens, truth seems relative at best and, at worst, altogether unknowable.”
At LuHi, we know our identity is found in Christ, and He gives everyone purpose. His teachings are truth. That's why engaging students in faith conversations is so important. By providing a space for students to ask tough questions, wrestle with what they believe, and point them back to Jesus, students build the foundation they need to be lifelong Christians.
The 4 Questions
Four questions we want every LuHi student to wrestle with while they are with us:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- Is there any hope?
- Is there truth?
The way someone answers these questions sheds light on their worldview. As Gen Z searches for meaning and copes with anxiety, worldview makes all the difference. Worldview is shaped during adolescent years.
Helping students answer those 4 questions with scripture teaches them that: - God loves them, - their identity is in Him, - He gives purpose to their life, - He wants to use them for Kingdom work, - and there is hope as they enjoy His love for them now and in the world yet to come.
How we encourage growth in Christ: Theology Classes
Building a biblical based worldview, answering these questions, and fostering strong relationships of trust with our students is done on a day to day basis at LuHi. Three specific ways we do this is through theology classes, weekly chapel services, and Thrive.
LuHi students take a theology class each year they attend LuHi. We disciple and teach the gospel in many ways, but it occurs most specifically and intentionally in our Theology curriculum.
- Freshmen year students develop an understanding of the Old Testament and a Biblical worldview. The primary emphasis is to guide students into a deeper knowledge of the first 39 books of the Bible. From creation to the prophets, all of the Old Testament points to the coming Messiah and our need for our Savoir, Jesus Christ.
- Sophomore year students then study the New Testament and the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Jesus. The primary emphasis is to guide students into a richer understanding of the life and work of Jesus Christ. As students study the New Testament our hope is they experience a vibrant relationship with Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
- During junior year, we study why we believe what we believe through apologetics. This class enables students to understand key teachings of the Christian faith, give intelligent, factual answers to common objections to our faith, and understand the main teachings of major religions and cults to know how to best witness to others.
- During senior year, we aim to give students the tools needed to defend, nurture, and strengthen their faith. This is done through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Classes have open discussions around difficult questions about Christianity, ethics, marriage, family, and other timely topics. Senior theology is geared toward preparing students for the next stage of their life.
The Value in Theology
Classes Freshmen Theology teacher Caleb Fischer shares why he finds theology classes so valuable: “Theology class gives students the opportunity to wrestle with the most important truths: eternal truths. The goals of theology classes are fundamentally different from any other class that students at LuHi take. In a world severely lacking hope, we want our students to be equipped with a strong relationship with God in their own lives and the ability to share the Gospel with others. For us, theology is not just an academic study of scripture. But it is to help students grow in their faith in Him so that when they leave LuHi, they have a solid foundation.”
Senior theology teacher Craig Parrott shares, “One of the questions on my next test is this: What helps a person internalize God's truths? The answer is: 1. Time in His Word 2. Good teaching 3. Fellowship with like-minded believers Romans 10:17 tells us, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." All 3 of the above are present by God's grace at Lutheran High. Is. 55:11 tells us, "the word does not return empty but will accomplish what God wants it to do." My goal in theology is to expose students to as much of God's Word as possible and let the Spirit inform and form their minds and hearts when, how, and in whom He will.”
How we encourage growth in Christ: Chapel
Gathering together in worship is an important part of every Christian's life. Access to Christian music, sermons, and worship services at our fingertips is great. But nothing can replace the benefits of gathering together in person for prayer, praise, confession, and worship.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
Chapel is a special time for our student body to come together and grow in their spiritual lives.
During Chapel, we get to:
- hear the Gospel message of Christ's death and resurrection
- praise our Creator with music
- understand the importance of corporate worship
- establish habits of worship and spiritual discipline to last a lifetime
Our chapel services are devotional in nature. The messages are rooted in the inerrancy of scripture. Messages remind us of our need for a savior and the blessing of the grace we experience through Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, securing our salvation. It's a time and place to remind the students that they are saved by grace alone through faith alone, revealed to us through scripture alone.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit – Ephesians 4:3a
While Chapel is a crucial component of a student's faith life, it does not replace being a part of a home church. Chapel helps believers - students and staff alike - refocus amid a busy day. We hope that students plug in at a local church where they can experience the Lord's Supper, the blessings of an intergenerational community, and other ways in which believers are strengthened through the local church.
"Chapel is the most important thing that we do as a group at Lutheran High School. What a blessing to get to gather together in praise of our risen Savior Jesus Christ three times a week. I personally walk away from each chapel with something new to think about and a reminder of the life changing Gospel message. It's my prayer that the same thing happens for each and every student when we gather together!" - Worship Class Teacher, Chris Loesel
How we encourage growth in Christ: Thrive
Students also have the opportunity to meet monthly with their peers in a time of worship, prayer, and small group discussion. Students learn practical ways to be Jesus to the hurting community around them. The Thrive Student Leadership Team attends leadership training with our Director of Campus Ministry, Marty Kohlwey, to help them grow in skills such as:
- conflict resolution
- how to be a good friend
- and how to pray for others
High school can throw a lot of new struggles at students. One goal of Thrive is to provide encouragement and fellowship amid each other's struggles. Thrive exists to encourage, empower, and equip students to love, serve, and care for the people around them in response to God's amazing love.
Our Director of Campus Ministry, Marty Kohlwey, shares: “Jesus has blessed us with this thing called Thrive. It allows us to develop Christian leadership in our student body through several ministry teams.
For example, our Local Missions Team is thriving as Mr. Garner, and student leaders have come alongside Sox Place to love the homeless in Downtown Denver three times a month! Our Student Care Team is providing love to our students and staff in unexpected ways as an extension of our Loving Lions Parent Ministry. The Special Events Ministry provides monthly opportunities outside of school for those students looking for Bible Study, small group, and worship.
These are all student-led and we are so thankful for how the Holy Spirit is working in and among our LuHi family.”
Mission and Ministry Academy
The Academies at Lutheran High School is a unique curricular concept designed for students who desire the opportunity to pursue their passions in a particular academic area. All Academies provide space for students to pursue their passions followed by opportunities for students to receive accountability from mentors and exposure to expertise in this area.
Mission and Ministry Academy is for students with a ministry mindset who want to learn more about how to serve a community. Students in Mission and Ministry Academy are mentored by Theology teacher, Tim Oberdieck, in how to share the love of Jesus Christ. Requirements for this program are participating in Worship Class, acting as a Thrive leader, and completing additional service hours.
Mission and Ministry Academy is a good fit for students who desire to serve and lead ministry opportunities on and off campus. This Academy is for students seeking an example of discipleship, lifelong servanthood, and how to foster an environment of Christian Living.
“I describe MMA with three words: Discipleship, Networking, and Experience. We meet once a week during lunch to discuss a discipleship or mission book to grow together as followers of Christ and leaders in the church and world. We hear from guest speakers to help students choose an area of interest so they can observe and work alongside someone in that field. A big part of MMA is to give students hands-on experience in their field of interest.” Tim Oberdieck, Mission and Ministry Director
We want every one of our students to know their identity in Christ as beloved children of God. Their meaning and purpose are lifelong, as they were created and chosen by God to love Him and serve others. Hopelessness is conquered by the confidence in their sure salvation and hope in what Jesus did for them on the cross.
Ministries for Parents
Another passion Marty Kohlwey brings to LuHi is a desire to walk alongside parents of teenagers. Thriving Parents is a ministry for LuHi parents to meet together, talk about relevant issues confronting students, pray together, and encourage each other. Meetings include round table discussions. One purpose of the discussions is to help parents see they're not alone in the issues they face with their students.
Besides monthly meetings, Marty emails relevant articles, studies, and resources to parents. If parents can’t make a meeting, they can still glean information about the topics Thriving Parents covers.
LuHi parent Kathy Jaffee shares what she’s found helpful about participating in Thriving Parents, “It's great to discuss common challenges with a Theology teacher and fellow parents. As Christians, praying for one another and sharing ideas is important. Good reference materials are sent to the parents, and each meeting has value and good takeaways. All the tools shared about walking through this life as strong Christians raising our kids and getting them ready to launch are helpful.”
Parents in Prayer
Parents are also invited to campus for weekly prayer during the school year. This group lifts up the LuHi students, staff, and families. Parents in Prayer also sends email prayer requests for parents who want to participate but can’t make it in person.
Loving Lions Ministry
This ministry is designed to come alongside and care for our LuHi community members during life-changing circumstances. It is during these times that we need to love our fellow Lions! The Loving Lions Ministry is focused on sharing the love of Jesus by providing a virtual rapid-response prayer team, meals, care baskets, encouragement, and more within our LuHi community.
"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. You never know what a small act of caring, kindness, or praying can do until you are a part of Loving Lions Ministry. I love to see how God is moving mountains." - Jaime Savage, Loving Lions Ministry parent participant
Is it working?
In a 2022 survey of LuHi students and parents, we see a glimpse of how well we are accomplishing our mission: Encouraging growth in Christ.
- Almost 82% of LuHi students say their faith in Jesus is nurtured daily.
- 88% of LuHi students say biblical worldview is part of their everyday experience at LuHi.
- Nearly 78% of students say their teachers encourage them in their faith and pray with them.
- Close to 80% of students say their teachers encourage their spiritual growth opportunities for them and their families.
- 96% of parents say it is evident that Christ is at the center of all we do at LuHi.
- Almost 79% of parents say teachers communicate Jesus’ love for their students daily.
- 92% of parents say their students learn to apply biblical truths to understand God’s creation and His created order in the world.
- 100% of teachers are practicing Christians who are actively involved in worship, prayer, and bible study weekly.
"LuHi holds and shares our family’s values and keeps Christ at the center of everything." - Doug & Rebecca Ullmann
"LuHi is an extension of our home – a place where our kids are known and loved. It’s a place where they can wrestle with hard questions, receive grace and discipline when they make mistakes, where their gifts and talents are seen and celebrated and where they are challenged to learn new things. LuHi has prepared them well academically for college, but even more so their faith has grown so that they are more prepared for the next set of challenges that they will face. LuHi is family – not just for our kids but for us too. As we wrap up our high school years, we will forever be grateful for the people that have shaped and molded us all in this place. We love LuHi!" - Michele Schulteis
"It is a joy to know that our kids are receiving a challenging education within a Biblical framework, which will prepare them well for college and beyond." - Wendy Hill
"Our culture centers around Jesus. That's the biggest factor that makes LuHi so special: Jesus is the cornerstone and the building block of this school." - Kallie Lemon, LuHi Grad
"My favorite thing about Lutheran is that everything is Christ-centered. While you do not have to believe in God to come here, the teachers and faculty are more than willing to dive into those tough conversations regarding faith and will continually point you toward Him." - Ashley Spokes
Lutheran High cares deeply about the faith growth of all our students. From Theology classes and chapel messages to day to day teacher and student interactions, our goal is to help students answer the tough questions through a biblical lens. We hope to send young adults into their futures with a solid foundation of who Christ is and who they are in Him.
To learn more about the value we see in Christian education, please check out our ebook, The Case for Christian Education. If you have any questions about Lutheran High or our mission to encourage growth in Christ, please contact our Admissions Team at email@example.com.