How should we feel about ECE closings?

(stock image from

Shared from a friend on Facebook...

It looks like Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has closed their Early Childhood Education (ECE) center (aka Early Childhood Ministries (ECMs)) due to "rising costs and worker shortages" even after receiving $360,000 in COVID money. Having worked for a small business during and post-'ronatide, I can empathize. I have a heart for the folks out of a job.

The WELS is very high on ECM's. Let's consider a frequently asked question article on ECM's

Q: It seems there is a growing trend toward early childhood programs in general. What are the contributing factors to this?

Holman: “One factor is the changing dynamics of society. In a typical home today, it’s more common that both parents would be seeking employment outside the home, which often leads to the need for childcare.”

So the WELS sees the Gospel as conforming the mores of society, 

“Another factor is the research that has been done on understanding how children develop. We are learning more about what and how young children learn and the value of rich experiences in the home and in early childhood centers.”

And apparently loving parents are not 'good enough' to raise their children. The book of Proverbs would like to have a word...

Q: What are the blessings of an early childhood ministry?

Holman: “One of the great blessings is what we learn from the children, especially about matters of faith..."

Michael: The private school? Oh, you teach kids, huh?

Rita: I like to think they teach me.

But how should we think about Early Childhood Ministries?

The problem with WELS ECM's is that they are looking to the felt needs of a community instead of looking to their community and finding ways to bring them into alignment with God's good order. The missional drive of Gospel! Gospel! Gospel! causes us to neglect the full counsel of Scripture. Yes, the Gospel is the sweet message that all need to hear, but not until God does His alien work through the application of law. Churches should be encouraging mothers to fulfill their vocation.

When Jesus said "let the little children come unto me" it was in such a manner that it did not separate the children from their mothers. Christ did not come to disrupt the institution of the family, the good order God set up in Eden and protected throughout generations. A church can nurture the youth through the Divine Service, Bible study and in training parents how to raise Godly children. Christ most certainly did not set up an institution that used the veneer of "churchianity" to sanctify the pursuit of Mammon.

The Gospel does not perfect testosterone into estrogen, gentlemen, and neither does the Gospel dissolve the family unit. Men in the congregation should question the Church enabling the breakdown of the family, and husbands should ensure they lead their wives to the Godly vocation of motherhood and homemaker.

You cannot serve both God and Mammon.