By Jeff Keaton – Founder and CEO
Dr. Glenn Schultz makes a great point in his book, “Kingdom Education” concerning what it takes to successfully raise a child who will know, love and serve Jesus. He concludes that when the home, church and school are all working together to instill a Christian worldview in the heart and mind of a child, that child has a very high chance of spiritual success.
In the forward to this book, Josh McDowell wrote, “The ideal way to help our kids not only to reject the postmodern worldview but also embrace deepened Christian convictions is to align Church, Home and School into a unified whole that arms our children with the truth and protects them from distortions.”
As I travel the country for the cause of Jesus and Christian worldview education, I run into all kinds of people but they usually fit into one of four categories.
Family is All We Need Group
This group is often only lightly connected to a local church and they sometimes act as autonomous members of the body of Christ. Many in this group home school their children in order to protect them from others who would contaminate their thinking in any way. I love this group for their commitment to truth and their willingness to train their children properly. However, disconnection from the larger body of Christ can sometimes cause unique challenges for their children.
Great Church is Everything Group
This group is usually connected to a vibrant church with a strong ministry to children and youth. They sometimes believe that 3 hours a week in a vibrant church will give their children all they need to be spiritually successful. This group often rejects the idea of homeschooling or Christian schooling because by having their kids in a non-Christian school they are able to bring more people to Jesus and their church through the “missionary” efforts of their children. I love this group because they are highly connected and involved in their community and they are touching a lot of lives. However, many in this group often underestimate the power of a secular education on the minds of their children and often lose a high percentage of their kids to the world’s way of thinking and living.
Christian School Group
This group is highly committed to Christian weekday education and is usually committed to a local church. However some in this group think that because their kids are being taught from a Christian perspective and by Christian teachers they don’t have to worry about training their kids at home. Some in this group have placed their children in weak Christian schools and have not seen their children develop into fully mature Christians, as they had hoped.
Christian Home, Church and School Group
This group understands that the best hope for producing godly, young people is by making sure that they have a strong Christian home, church and school, all working in unity.
One of the goals of RENEWANATION is to help local churches understand the power of weekday Christian education and to see those churches get actively involved in Christian schools and homeschools in their community.
I remember pastoring my first church in Hollywood, Florida. We were blessed with a great number of teenagers and children. Many of these teens were coming from non-Christian homes and almost all of them attended a non-Christian school. We would share the gospel with them and they would pray to receive Christ. They were so excited about their new walk with Christ and commitment to following Him. Then they would have to go back to school each week. I remember them filing into my office and telling about the challenges they faced. Strike one was that most of them did not have Christian parents.
Strike two was that when they went to school it seemed like the whole world was working to defeat them. I remember thinking, “What could I do with these kids if I could teach them for 40 hours each week from a Christian perspective rather than sending them into this totally non-Christian world?”
One day two 16 year old students walked into my office. This boy and girl were “liking” each other. They spoke to me of their commitment to purity that they had learned at church. However, they went on to say that every day at school kids asked them over and over again, “Have you done it yet?” When they would say, “No, we’re committed to purity” they would be mocked and humiliated. I know, our kids in the public school should be salt and light and some are, but far too many succumb to the relentless pressure and pull of the flesh. This pressure came not only from their peers, but also from teachers and counselors. On more than one occasion a student walked into my office and told me about a guidance counselor who had told them it was ridiculous for them to consider going to a Christian college.
Our church was a huge influence on them but because they did not have enough Christian influence in the home and school, we lost way too many of them to the lies of this world.
For the local church that is passionate about producing young people who are sold out to Christ, weekday Christian education can be their greatest source of help. I know because in my second pastorate I was privileged to have a Christian school and it made a world of difference. People would often say to our student leaders at Fellowship of Christian Athletes events and other places, “Your kids are amazing.” Many of these kids were blessed with a strong Christian home, church and school. When you put these three together, all working for the same purpose of instilling a Christian worldview, amazing kids are the result.
Our vision is to see every church actively involved in providing Christian worldview training for children and teens. If we hope to pass on our Christian values to the next generation, this must become a priority. Our dream is to see churches offering finances, facilities and other resources to those who are giving children a Christian education. We also want to see churches offering Christian worldview training to students in non-Christian schools.
There are many churches who have caught this vision and many more will in the future.
I think of the Growing Branches in Christ Church in Connersville, Indiana. This church, with only a congregation of around 50 people, is helping to give a Christian education to over 100 students each week. The church purchased a former motel and has turned most of it into a school. They offer their facilities to a Christian school at no charge and even pay all the utilities. This town is in desperate need of hope as most of the factories have moved out and people are struggling to survive. The young people in this town need a beacon of light and this church is helping to provide it.
How many churches sit empty all week long? Is this really what God desires? What if churches all across the country opened their doors to schools that would educate children with a Christian worldview?
I think of EastLake Community Church in Moneta, Virginia. From the very first days of their planting in 2006 they made a commitment to Christian education. They have given thousands of dollars over the last 6 years to a Christian school in their area. As I write today, one of our inner city scholarship students is in Alaska on a mission’s trip with the teens from this church. There was no way this girl could have afforded this trip but EastLake, through their connection with their local Christian school, made it possible and they are helping to change the life of a child forever.
How many new students could begin receiving a Christian worldview education in the next year or two if churches would simply catch the vision of getting behind their local Christian schools and homeschools?
How many public school students could receive Christian worldview training if only churches and parents understood the need for it and would make it available?
I could give you many examples of churches that have caught the vision but I will only mention one more. Perhaps no church, I know of, has done more to provide children a Christian worldview than Parkway House of Prayer in Roanoke, Virginia. I was privileged to pastor this church for 11 years. Today, they have a thriving Christian school that offers hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships every year and they are currently helping to open a community teen center that will specifically target students who are not enrolled in Christian schools. They also helped in every way to found RENEWANATION over the last several years.
God wants to unite Families, Churches and Schools in this great cause of giving children a Christian Worldview Education.
Will you lead your church to get involved in this mission to save the next generation of young people?
Volume 4 Issue 2 - The Renewanation Review