I want to start this blog post out by asking you, the reader, a question.
What is the spiritual benefit of sending your children to a Christian school?
It is quick to respond with comments such as, “It helps them become a better Christian.” I would agree with you, but how? I mean after all, you most likely send your child to AWANA or some type of children’s ministry at your local church. Shouldn't that suffice for their spiritual development?
As I continued to think through this question, I wanted to share three ways a Christian school fosters spiritual growth and comes alongside parents in discipling children to be followers of Jesus.
1. God’s words are essential for spiritual growth.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote in Proverbs that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In the book of Isaiah, we are reminded of the purpose, at times unknown to us, and of the impact God’s Word has on our lives. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Each month my children are responsible for memorizing a portion of Scripture. As they are taking in these Scriptures, God is using His Words in their own lives for purposes beyond what we are currently seeing. This is not a useless activity of memorizing of facts, but a powerful truth that is a life changing investment in their current and future journey as followers of Jesus.
2. Shared values with teachers create a unified approach to spiritual growth.
If memorization was the only focus of God’s Word in their Christian school, there could be a detrimental reaction of my child becoming a “fat headed Christian" who knows a lot about the words of the Bible, but not really knowing how to live these truths out. This is where the shared values of teachers and staff of a Christian school create a unilateral approach in their spiritual development.
Each morning as I drop my children off at school and before they exit the car, we say a prayer for the day. We usually take turns talking to God about our day, praying for friends and teachers, and asking that God would use each one of us as a light to show others His love. My children then exit the vehicle and enter the building. As I drive away, I have great peace in knowing the ones who will be teaching them share the same values as I do in helping my children become the light Jesus desires them to be in this world.
For example; it is very important for our children to understand biblical forgiveness as we see in Colossians 3:13 “forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you.” To know that the teachers hold true to this same value brings much peace in our lives as their parents. This in turn creates a unilateral approach of training our children in the ways of the Lord instead of them receiving one value at home and a different value outside the home.
3. A Christian school gives children everyday opportunites to live out truth and grow spiritually.
Jesus reminded us of the importance of loving God beyond a head knowledge, by loving Him with our entire self by telling us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In a Christian school community, our children grow in the ways of God through Scripture, but also with the opportunities of living this truth out in their everyday interactions with their teachers and classmates. As students grow in their understanding of Scripture, and are being instructed in a unilateral approach to live these truths out; our children grow in a more holistic way as a follower of Christ.
With an emphasis on God’s Word and a unilateral approach with the staff and teachers at their Christian school, our children are more apt to grow holistically as followers of Christ. Without this, spiritual growth looks much like the proverbial weightlifter in the gym, whose focus is completely on building the upper body and ignores the legs. We may know many words of Scripture, but without shared values and a unilateral approach with the truths based upon the Scriptures, our children can become stunted in their spiritual growth.
“True learning and true piety go hand in hand, and Christianity embraces the whole of life - those are great central convictions that underlie the Christian school."
J. Gresham Machen