Why a Christian School?
The way you educate children in the first years of their lives will mould their thinking for life. The Bible tells us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6.
The Bible makes it clear that parents are to bring up their children to love the Lord, to obey his commandments and to be given an upbringing and education that is ‘of the Lord’. (See Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and Ephesians 6:4) It should be obvious that allowing teachers who do not share Christian beliefs to educate children from Christian homes, for 6 hours a day and for five days a week will not achieve this purpose. Whether they try to do so or not all teachers pass on their values as well as the information and skills they teach. Jesus said “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” Luke 6:39-40) Christian children need to be brought up in Christian schools.
Four marks of a Christian school
Parents need to be sure that a school that calls itself a Christian school really is one. There are a number of essential characteristics of a Christian school.
All teachers are Christians
In a Christian school, all staff members need to be committed Christians. If the teachers do not love and serve Jesus Christ how will their students? For a school to be truly Christian Jesus Christ must be Lord of it and all it does and thus the teachers must accept His lordship over their lives.
A Christ – centered curriculum
Biblical beliefs and values must underpin all that is taught and should reinforce home values. Beliefs and values are not something you can add on. If they are not integral to the life of the school community and its curriculum they will be rejected by children as irrelevant.
A Christian learning community
The school must be a Christian learning community marked by love, acceptance and forgiveness among students, staff and the parents. Many people imagine that Christianity can be taught like mathematics. However, beliefs and values are learnt from others around us and not by what is taught in formal lessons. Teachers must share and practice the values they want he children to adopt. They need to have such warm relationships that their students will want to imitate them. In their teen years friends will influence students’ values more strongly than will their home. It is vital that their peers should be those who share Christian values. A Christian school should help its students to grow towards maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16) this involves experiencing the freedom and the responsibility of being part of a Christian group. Students need to learn how to apply biblical knowledge in their life together. Head knowledge alone leads to a legalistic Christianity that denies true spiritual vitality.
High standards of education
In a Christian school there must be no compromise on educational standards. Although as Christian we should not put material values before spiritual values (Matthew 16:26) there is no excuse for giving students a second rate education.
The ability to think critically is important for everyone, but it is especially important for Christians who are “not to be conformed to the world’s way of thinking.” (Romans 12:1-2) Our society is in danger of losing the ability to think critically about a wide range of issues. The pressure of the media has created what we sometimes call ‘politically correct thinking’. This thinking can result in a loss of freedom of expression and a failure to think critically in some key areas of life. Christian schooling can make a significant contribution to the intellectual life of our society by challenging such uncritical thinking.
The pressure of society
No generation in the history of our civilization has had to face stronger influences to conform to worldly lifestyles that the current generation. Television and viewing material influence most Christian homes. Many children, even in Christian homes, are watching four to six hours of television a day. If these children go to a secular school, they are being influenced to think like the world for 10 – 12 hours of every day.
One of the results of this is that secular ways of thinking have undermined Christian values. Secular values of self gratification and tolerance of everything except Biblical truth is promoted by the immense power of the media. Add to this the availability of drugs and the pornography and violence so easily accessible via the Internet and it is not hard to see why our society is crumbling and our children are being destroyed. Students need to be in a strong Christian learning community.
An Important Choice
The choice you make about which school your child attends will not only have profound effects on his or her life, here and now, it will also have eternal consequences. While to send your child to a Christian school may cost you significant amounts of money that you could otherwise spend on material possessions or leisure activities, your choice of a Christian school could be the greatest gift you could give a child. “What good is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his or her soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Our children are born for a purpose. Part of that purpose is to be equipped to lead those around them and to aspire to excellence in all they do.