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The One Thing Needed

This year it is especially heartening to note that there are three schools in the Church of the Lutheran Confession that are either starting up fresh, or have plans to reopen.

“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’” Luke 10:41-42

Parents find plenty to worry about. We worry about what our kids are eating, who they are playing with, where they are, and where they have been. Having seen so many changes in society in our lifetime, we worry what the future of our community, our nation, and our world will look like for our children and grandchildren.Buildingblocks_small

In Luke 10, Martha was also worried and troubled. She was trying to be a good hostess for Jesus, while her sister Mary just sat at His feet listening to Him. But Jesus commends Mary’s choice: “One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” While Martha was busying herself with things that would come and go with time, Mary had eternity on her mind. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus, and hear the words of eternal life from the Lord of Life. Nothing, not even death itself, could rob her of this “good part” which she had chosen

When it comes to raising children, let us listen to Jesus and remind ourselves of the ONE THING that is truly important. We bring our children and set them at the feet of Jesus to hear His Word in our daily family devotions. We set our children at the feet of Jesus when we bring them to church for Sunday school, vacation Bible school, catechism class, and worship services.

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, our children hear of a God Who loved them so much that He punished His own beloved Son in order to rescue them from their sin. Sitting at Jesus’ feet, they learn that they didn’t come into being by accident, but were fearfully and wonderfully created by Almighty God. Sitting at Jesus’ feet, they learn that there is an absolute right and wrong, as their Creator tells them what pleases Him and what transgresses His holy will.

Athletic, scholastic, and financial achievements will all fade over time. But Jesus promises that no one and nothing, not even death, can rob from our children what they hear at
His feet!

In order to further help Christian parents bring their children to the feet of Jesus to hear His Word, a number of congregations in our church body offer a Christ-centered education in their Christian day schools. This year it is especially heartening to note that there are three schools in the Church of the Lutheran Confession that are either starting up fresh, or have plans to reopen after a hiatus.

Reopening— Gethsemane Lutheran School,
Spokane Valley, Washington—
Established 1976 

Gethsemane Lutheran School was closed in 2008 due to low enrollment. However, the members of Gethsemane continued to have a strong desire to offer Christian education in the form of a Christian day school. They kept their board of education intact and, as they were blessed with a number of young families, they began calling for a teacher and principal for their school in January of 2015.

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Because all the divine calls they extended for a teacher for the fall of 2015 were declined, the members of Gethsemane now pray that it is the Lord’s will that their school reopen in the fall of 2016, and they plan to resume calling this winter. Pastor Robert List of Gethsemane estimates an initial enrollment of four to six pupils in K-8.

Reopening—Grace Lutheran School,
Valentine, Nebraska—
Established 1976 

Another Christian day school that has been prayerfully working to reopen is Grace Lutheran School in Valentine, Nebraska. Like Gethsemane, Grace closed in 2009 due to low enrollment. Their path to reopening was a little different, though. It began in 2012 by establishing Small Wonders, a Christian preschool open to members of Grace and the community, taught and directed by Mrs. Danielle Ohlmann.

Encouraged by enrollment growth in Small Wonders (from seven to twenty-four in three years), and also by the addition of several young families in the congregation, the members of Grace prayerfully moved forward in faith to reopen their school this fall. Work was done to remodel and expand their school building. Grace Lutheran School will be served by Teacher Candice Ohlmann. Pastor Luke Bernthal anticipates an enrollment of three to four kindergartners this Fall. The school will be offering an open house in July, as well as advertising their Christ-centered school through radio and print.

A New School—Valley Bible Academy,
Clarkston, Washington
—Established 2015 

The members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Clarkston sought to offer an opportunity for the children of their congregation and community to sit at the feet of Jesus for that one thing needful. After many prayers, much planning, and many hours of manual labor to get their facilities up to code, Valley Bible Academy in Clarkston will be opening this fall, with Mrs. Desirae Naumann serving as its first teacher. Pastor Dave Naumann believes enrollment will be three to four students in K-8.

As the pastor of a congregation opening a new Christian day school (the first new school in the CLC in the last twenty years), Pastor Naumann offers the following encouragement:

Don’t underestimate the power of God’s Word. He has wrought great changes in our hearts and lives. Even if you can’t start a school at this time, The Lord may have it planned in your future. Why not? Christian education is really what we’re here for, isn’t it? As parents, we are to raise up our children in the Lord. As members of a congregation, let us do the same thing for all our young people. Why not let witnessing Christ to all the world begin in the little classrooms of our church buildings? It doesn’t have to start big and it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Plant the seed. Plan ahead. Start a fund. Use the talents of your congregation. Draw up a plan. Get everyone involved. Let everyone “own” the project. God will bless it. God knows our future, and He has a plan for us to give us hope. Remember where our future pastors and teachers and faithful laymen/women will come from—they come from His faithful Word, the same Word that is taught at the Christian schools you can be a blessed part of starting!

(The full interviews with Pastors Bernthal and Naumann can be found online at

When it comes to their children, parents tend to be worried and troubled about many things—even things that are out of their control. But Jesus would remind us that only one thing is truly needful. The one thing needed—the good part, that which no one can ever take away from our children—is the time they spend at Jesus’ feet hearing His word. May God bless our Christian parents and our Christian schools as they seek to bring their children up in the Lord!

Wilt thou find this one thing needful,

Turn from all created things

Unto Jesus and be heedful

Of the blessed joy He brings.

For where God and Man both in one are united,

With God’s perfect fullness the heart is delighted;

There, there is the worthiest lot and the best,

My One and my All and  my Joy and my Rest.

(TLH #366:2)

Nathan Pfeiffer is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Spokane, Washington.