There is no end to why we shouldn’t start a Christian school. Everyone has their objections, and many of them are legitimate. With any decision, there will be reasons not to do something. Nevertheless, ask another question, “Despite all the objections, what better reasons do we have to do this?” I believe that our reasons for starting a Christian school outweigh the challenges. We risk more and have more to lose in not starting a school than starting one.
1.) God should not be absent from education.
I am not primarily writing this article to critique public education. Plenty of that kind of thing has been written, and you can do your own research. For the time being, because of our country’s wise constitution regarding freedom of religion, public schools seem to be a necessity. We can argue the finer points of that reality – but that is not the purpose of my words today.
Rather, I want to speak directly to Christians. For those of us that know and love the Lord, ask yourself these questions, “Does God want us to educate our children thirty plus hours a week in an environment that never mentions His name, never recognizes Him as creator, never takes time to pray and worship Him, and never emphasizes Biblical wisdom and character? Does God really think that education would be better for our kids by keeping Him out of it? Are we supposed to leave God in the parking lot before entering the classroom? Is our faith to be compartmentalized while we are learning?”
Christian, this cannot be the case. In fact, the Bible says the opposite (Pro. 22:6; Isa. 54:13; Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:14-15). We must reclaim why public education started - it was to give people the ability to read the Bible. Many public schools were founded for the Glory of God to study the works of God in science, math, and art. Education is and was understood as a pursuit of God. It is the overflow of “knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:10) and seeking true knowledge (Col. 2:1).
As Christians, we have an obligation to make sure our children see the fingerprint of God in everything they do. We have a duty to teach them Christ-like character and put them in an environment that waters it.
2.) It’s a better way to disciple Christian families.
As a Pastor and former youth pastor, I have witnessed the drastic discontinuity between church and school life. (I lived it as a public-school student in the ’90s-’00s). The majority of what we teach one hour a week (if you’re lucky) in youth groups is contradicted by thirty hours of public education. As a youth pastor, I had one hour to catechize a student in Biblical truth while the school got thirty. So, who do you think is going to win? To quote Pastor Voddie Baucham, “We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”
Our youth groups and Sunday schools are no longer sufficient for discipleship. They are essential and should continue – but we need to do more. What kid would become proficient at basketball with only one or two hours of weekly practice? We put more effort into our children’s athletic development than their spiritual growth. So why do we settle for the bare minimum in disciplining our kids? By doing this, we are teaching children, subtly, that God is the master of the church but not their education.
This is not to say that Christian school is the only means for discipleship. It starts first and foremost with the family unit at home. I believe Christian families are to partner with the church in educating their children. The same is true for our youth programs. We learn best in community – not in isolation.
Therefore, a Christian school provides the regular opportunity for students to be in the Bible, prayer, worship, and be around godly examples. This way, they will be better prepared and equipped to live out their faith and follow Jesus as adults.
When our church recognized this, it drastically changed how we approach family ministry. Instead of running a bunch of programs – the school has become our main engine for children’s ministry. Instead of having a children’s director/pastor – we hire teachers.
3.) We can do better academically and remain affordable.
Private schools generally do a much better job of preparing students academically than public schools. Private schools test better, offer more opportunities, and have better resources (See Latest NAEP study).
The issue is most of these private schools are out of reach for the average U.S. household income. This should not be – we can do better as a church. We have more access to quality curriculum and resources than ever before. There are creative ways to provide an excellent education without having to charge college tuition level expenses to do so.
Our church was burdened to provide the same level of academics as private schools but at a much more manageable cost for the average family in our community.
Our curriculum and philosophy at GlenHaven Academy heavily emphasize individual learning, subject mastery, and critical thinking. We want our students to be well-rounded in their ability to discern truth without ideological impediment.
4.) It will make our community a better place to live.
As the adage goes, “What’s in the university today is in the marketplace tomorrow.” Those who control education control the future. Therefore, how are we investing in tomorrow? By starting a Christian school, we have the opportunity to train the next plumbers, bankers, lawyers, police, teachers, doctors, politicians, and pastors. We want to produce Godly citizens who make our city a better place. We want to teach our students to be missionaries of the gospel wherever God calls them. Our school will emphasize Christian service and living a generous life of stewardship. Students need to be taught how to add to society and not tear it down. In this way, we are not to be isolationists, but passionate disciples for the glory of God.
I am convicted that these four reasons are enough motive to start a private Christian school. I pray this article will inspire families and churches to stand up and take the lead in education. We must recognize our times – they are fresh with gospel opportunities.
Will you join us in building something that will bless and touch generations? Will you join us in prayer? Will you support us and other like-minded schools? I believe the future of Christianity in our country will stand or fall on the matter of education – it’s that important.