At Concordia Academy our mission is:
To form students in faith, hope, and love, by cultivating wisdom and nourishing their souls in the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty, according to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions.”
Right off the bat we admit that our school isn’t neutral. It’s not passive. It’s not “student led” or “child-centered”—at least, not in a way that leaves the direction of their development up in the air. When we say that our mission is “to form students…” we mean that we’ve got an ideal in mind. We know where we’re going (or at least where we want to go) with them. Admittedly, it’s not as though they’ll come to us un-formed or neutral. They’ll come in all shapes and sizes—and I don’t mean physically, though that, too. They’ll already be formed in part by whatever home-life happens to look like. They’ll be formed by their friends. They’ll be formed by whatever preaching they’ve been given to hear and whatever church-life (or not) they’ve been given to witness and experience. Some will come formed with very hard edges, others overly soft and malleable. Some will come formed with fear and humility, others with an unnecessary boastful pride. However they come, we’ll tell them right up front that we have plans for how they’ll go. In this way, Concordia Academy seeks to be intentionally formative on who they are as humans.
The question is: what sort of humans do we seek to form them into? What is this ‘ideal’ towards which we’re directing them? For that we offer the next part of our mission statement: “faith, hope, and love…”. The ideal human that Concordia Academy deliberately seeks to form is one marked by faith, hope, and love. Of course, these three come from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where he says,
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
There’s now and there’s the not yet. Now, we don’t quite see things as they are—neither our sin in all of its sinfulness, nor our righteousness in all of its splendor—but then we will. Now, we don’t quite know as we ought to know—either how things work, or the universe operates, or even what we want—but then we will know as He knows us: fully and completely. Concordia Academy recognizes that it exists in the now for people living in the now and yet orders everything it does towards the not yet, where they are ultimately headed. That’s our hope, built on our faith, and expressed by love both now in this life and not yet in the life to come—which is why the greatest of these is love.
But how do you do that? Well, one thing we plan to have at Concordia Academy is a school garden. Gardens beautifully teach patience. You plant one day, spend many days cultivating whatever’s planted—flower, fruit, or vegetable—and then you wait. Cultivating a garden requires watering and tilling and weeding and pruning. It’s taking away what gets in the way and nourishing with what gives life and growth. This formation in faith, hope, and love, we say, will come by “cultivating wisdom and nourishing their souls…”.
To this the Scriptures are clear: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 9:10; Ps 111:10). “Wisdom,” Proverbs says, was “at the beginning of his work…like a master workman” (Prov 8:22,30). And St. Paul proclaims “Christ…the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).
The point is this: at Concordia Academy we seek to cultivate wisdom by delivering Christ in all that we say and do, nourishing their souls in the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty—each of which finds its fullness in Christ Jesus. He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6). He is “the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11). And He is the one we see as we “gaze upon the Beauty of the Lord” (Ps 27:4).
All of this, you see, is done “according to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions.” The Scriptures are the basis of all that we teach and all that we do. As St. Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)
This is what we’re about at Concordia Academy. It’s our mission. Will you join us in it?