By Jeff Keaton
If Christian worldview education is going to become accessible to millions of new children, churches will need to catch a fresh glimpse of the power of instilling a Christian worldview in the hearts and minds of children.
As I have written in other articles, I know what it is to pastor a church where almost all of our children were enrolled in non-Christian schools, and I know what it is to pastor a church where a majority of our children were enrolled in Christian schools or Christian homeschools. In my first pastorate in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area we were not privileged to have a Christian school that the children of our church could afford to attend. We were winning fairly large numbers of teens to Christ, but at best we would only have them in our world for a couple of hours each week. They would often describe to us the struggle to maintain a serious walk with Christ in their non-Christian schools. I used to dream about what it would be like if I had them not only for two hours a week at church but five days a week in a Christian worldview school. I knew I would be able to see much greater transformation and discipleship.
In my second pastorate, I was able to test my theory because we started a Christian school. I watched first hand the amazing difference 35 hours of Christian education each week could make in a child’s life. We would win them to Christ often through our church ministry and then we would disciple them all week long at school. No, it wasn’t easy, and not every child responded perfectly, but it was light years ahead of our efforts at the church in South Florida.
Just last week I saw first hand some of the fruit of our labors as I was preaching at a Christian college in Ohio. As I was sitting on the platform waiting to preach, a young man named J.J. Powers walked in and set in the second row. My heart leaped for joy because I had forgotten that J.J. was attending this school. You see, I remember when J.J. came to our school in the 5th grade. He was a young, insecure boy who obviously did not know where he was headed in life. His experience in non-Christian schools had been somewhat difficult. I watched J.J. for seven years as he gave his life to Christ, went overseas on mission trips, and then received a call into the pastoral ministry. I and the others involved in J.J.’s life have no doubt that he would not be where he is today if it had not been for the seven years of weekly training and discipleship he received at the Christian school we provided for him.
Pastors, it’s time to open our minds and look at the realities we face. Our mission is to teach children to know, love and serve Christ through every means possible. We must pass down a Christian worldview to the children God places in our care.
If this is going to happen, churches must make it their mission to provide serious Christian worldview training to all of their children and teens. This can be done in our churches using four primary avenues:
Every church should be evaluating their own training programs.
We must ask questions like: Are we training the children in our care or are we just pacifying parents and using Sunday school, youth ministry, etc., as glorified babysitting programs? Summit Ministries, Answers in Genesis, and other organizations are providing first class, biblical worldview curriculums. Yes, we must teach all of the Bible stories to our children, but we must take the next step and teach our children how Christianity stacks up against the other worldviews that dominate our culture and world. If most of the children in a church attend non-Christian schools, that church must work overtime to offset the secular teaching their students receive every day. If we don’t, we will continue to lose our children to the secular way of thinking. We can no longer afford to play church! We must seriously train the next generation to think from a biblical perspective.
Every church should be considering how they can support the local Christian schools in their area.
These schools are doing yeoman’s work with very limited resources. The staff members of most of these schools are sacrificing greatly. It is a huge encouragement when the leaders of a local church walk into a Christian school and say, “What can we do to help you give more children a Christian worldview education?” Every church should be promoting and supporting their local Christian schools. These schools are helping the local church produce disciples of Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a good school in your area, consider starting one.
Every church should be considering how they can help the Christian homeschoolers in their area.
Homeschoolers need gathering places, recreational facilities, and many other things. When a parent makes the commitment to educate their own children, they should be supported and commended by the local church because these parents are often helping to disciple their children at a very advanced level.
Every church should be considering how they can reach out to the public school students in their community.
If a state allows for Christian education release time, churches should get involved in this program. Public school students are not being discipled in the Christian faith and are often being aggressively taught anti-Christian dogma. We must do all that we possibly can to reach them. Groups like, Young Life, First Priority and Fellowship of Christian Athletes provide unique opportunities to be involved in the life of public school students. We must also support those who are called to work in public education. They are missionaries who are no longer allowed to verbalize the gospel.
It’s time for every church to realize that unless we intentionally work to instill a Christian worldview in the hearts and minds of children, far too many from our churches will grow up and leave the Christian faith, and children who have no one to bring them to Jesus will be lost. This is happening at an alarming rate, and we know how to stop it. We stop it by giving every child a Judeo-Christian worldview through any and all means available to us.
Volume 5 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review