Lewis County School Intentionally Grows its Ministry
Lewis County Adventist School, located in Chehalis, Wash., is witnessing a 20% enrollment increase during the 2021–2022 school year from previous years.
"We are seeing remarkable growth in 15 of our 20 Adventist schools in western Washington," said Craig Mattson, Washington Conference vice president for education. "Parents in the community are looking for values-based learning for their scholars."
As part of the school’s continued focus on growing its enrollment, Kelly Gennick, LCAS principal, and the school board invited Teresa Kelchner of Christian Education Matters, to provide training on how marketing the school can be a ministry. Teresa has successfully worked with numerous Christian schools of varying sizes to equip them with tools to maintain or increase enrollment.
The marketing-as-ministry training workshop was held at Lewis County Adventist School in November 2021. The workshop was attended by school board members, teachers, school administrative staff and pastors as well as ministry leaders and members from Centralia and Chehalis constituent churches.
To begin the workshop, Kelchner provided background context and evidence supporting the value of Christian education. She also presented insightful information showing the changing characteristics of different generations who have through the 20th century. She showed them the increasing secularization of society, then challenged attendees to raise 'Daniels' in today’s world through three core environments — the home, the church and the Christian school.
Kelchner then spent time providing numerous examples of how thriving Christian schools are reaching their marketing. She emphasized the need to be intentional about retaining existing students and doing outreach to both those families with children already enrolled and those that could be future students. Kelchner pointed out what makes the school different from others and suggested they should be highlighted when marketing the school. Then, she provided examples of how the school could better share its brand.
The day after the workshop, Kelchner worked with the principal and school board chair, Dan Patton, to identify the short term (1–2 years) and longer term (3–5 years) marketing activities the school could implement.
Kelchner will continue to work with LCAS to help implement the plans. The selected activities will be presented to the school board and ultimately to the constituency, who will be critical in implementing the activities requiring volunteer time and resources for success.
Parents and school board members look forward to working with other school board members, parents and constituent church members to implement the vision to fulfill the great commission in the context of Adventist education.