Because I am a teacher, this week's news reels struck a personal cord. As an advocate of Christian education, I have read post after post decrying student walk-outs, peaceful and violent. While I know this will draw criticism, I must say that my emotions have gone from frustration to disgust to discouragement...because very few of those posts on social media were from people I have seen personally sacrifice or step out to change anything, educationally or socially. When you post about needing God back in schools, I am left wondering what you have done to place Him there. Because, again...words are only empowered when they are believed AND acted upon. The same is true of the Word of God. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17)
A return to Christian principles will begin by doing more than telling our kids not to follow the crowd. That advice is only effective when we, as parents, lead by example...breaking the trend and leading them onto paths that are out of the ordinary. That may, in some rare cases, be ministering as an individual or family in a public school atmosphere, but unfortunately, public education has become the norm for Christians, and I say it is unfortunate, because we would be deceiving ourselves to pretend a public education is built on a biblical foundation. It is easier to follow suit and SAY we want the spiritual state of our nation to change, instead of taking proactive steps to change it. Because God is known through His Word, a revival in our nation will only take place as a result of everyday commitment to educating ourselves and our children from God's Word. Unfortunately, most believe that the principles and ideas our children are being taught 40+ hours a week can be offset by 1 to 3 hours of church a week or praying over our dinner each evening. (For most, it's one hour or less, and families eat in front of a screen, if they eat together at all.) When the majority of our lives is removed from God's Word, we are building lives on sinking sand. And let's face it...life is so busy, we are all struggling to keep our heads above water. That's where the ministry of the Christian school is so beneficial. Christian education can never take the place of godly parenting, but it is an invaluable resource in coming alongside parents in the task of raising godly children and leaders.
I have heard the arguments. I would send my kids to Christian school, BUT..."The public school's facilities are nicer." - Usually...but isn't education and spiritual maturity the primary objective? "My tax dollars go to that school." - Let's work to change that by our choices and actions. "Christian education is expensive." - When compared to free public education, it is, but its price would decrease as its support increased, but someone will have to make the initial sacrifice. Right now, the average tuition (in this area) per student is $2,500/yr. plus a $600 book fee. (That comes to $2.46 an hour...far cheaper than daycare.) And, believe me, you will spend less on uniforms than you will on name brand jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. "My kid doesn't stand a chance of being recruited from a small school team." - Untrue. And the biggie..."If we take all of the Christian kids out of public school, who will reach the unsaved students or change the public schools?" - Churches, Christian teachers, and even Christian school students who form outreaches to those schools will reach them when they have matured enough to do so. I can also say from personal experience that the testimony of a Christian student is most effective when they take advantage of Christian education and then live that out with their public school friends. That is the whole point of this blog post, and the objective of a healthy Christian school is to equip students spiritually and physically to influence the world spiritually and physically.
I will be the last to pretend that placing children into Christian schools is an instant cure for them, individually, and it will certainly not cure our society, as a whole. God's work is heart-work. We are changed as we surrender our hearts to Him. That is an individual choice for each of us to make, and there will be students and staff that come in and out of a Christian atmosphere that do not choose Jesus. Even one of Christ's own disciples ultimately rejected and betrayed everything He was. I do believe, though, that a Christian school motivated and led by biblical principals (not outward legalistic standards), paired with parents who do their best to support that ministry and teach Jesus at home is our country's greatest hope for revival. But, it will come at a price. The same way our nation's forerunners were willing to sacrificially stand, speak, and work to build and change our nation, we must be willing to step from our comfort zones and bring about solutions. There will be condescending comments and confused glances when you tell someone what you pay to send your children to Christian school or when you admit you make a fourth (or less) what an average public school teacher makes on staff at a Christian school. Most people won't "get it," and I am far from foolish enough to believe it is a choice that will ever find you in the majority, but I do believe things can improve if enough people decide to work toward change.
I hope this post will not be mistaken as a criticism of all public educators. I have many fellow believers serving as faithful witnesses in public schools. I pray for them every single day along with Christian educators. I also believe, despite what our media seems to push, the majority of Americans want a return to the common good, basic respect, and higher standards taught in scripture. But, desire is simply not enough. Good intentions will not accomplish the work, and morals will not save a nation. Until we see a return to everyday biblical standards and teachings which are (at this point) unwelcome in public schools, I see little hope of these principles returning, nationally. Some are capable of establishing and holding biblical principles in their homes without the help of Christian schools, but consider this...if you feel like you are doing a good job of it in the few hours you have with your children in the evenings before bedtime and on the weekends...how much better equipped would your children be if they were kept in those principles the other 40+ hours of the week they are away from you? Our task is daunting, but what our children are already facing and stand to face at our age is nearly unimaginable. I hope you will pray with me for a revival OF and IN Christian education. It will be hands-on, exhausting, expensive, and out of the norm, but I pray we are willing to prayerfully consider the outcome, follow the Spirit's leading and do everything we can to see that they build on Jesus. All other ground is sinking sand.
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith
without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." ~ James 2:18