How can a Christian school help mold students into lifelong worshipers?
We asked ourselves that very same question when our first born child neared the age of starting Kindergarten. It was our goal for her heart and life that we not only parented with purpose, but cultivated fruit that would outlast our children's time in our home, and carry on to impact their life, home, marriage and our future grandchildren. "Grandchildren?!" you ask. "When your child is 5?!" Yes! Praying, planning and preparing to leave a legacy for future generations was and is the absolute desire of our hearts.
Before we take a shot at this initial question, we first must be able to define the word, worship. Worship is the most overused and misunderstood words of our “Christian culture.” Most often it is defined by a period of time before the pastor stands up and gives a message on Sunday morning.
But is that truly what WORSHIP is? Let’s take a look three definitions of worship. Bob Kauflin in True Worshipers states, “True worship is a valuing or treasuring of God above all things.” John Piper states that worship is “declaring the glory of God.” Isaiah the prophet reminds us that God has “made them (humans) for My glory. It was I who created them." So to sum worship in one sentence: Worship is why we were created and happens when we declare the greatness of God above all other things.
You might be thinking, "Don’t we do this on Sunday morning? I mean, I am declaring God’s greatness as I sing “How Great is Our God.” " Yes, you are, but worship is more than just what happens on Sunday morning. It is important we declare God's greatness on Sunday mornings, but we have to be careful not to just leave it at the Sunday morning experience, for ourselves and especially for the influence we have on our children. If this is our view of worship, then it can be confused as religious tradition and lack life-changing impact.
Paul, a follower of Jesus, wrote the following, “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.” He goes onto to explain how to do this, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…” So when we offer our lives to Him by following His Ways (Scriptures), instead of copying the ways of the world, we are worshiping our God.
With that mindset, it is easier to see that we have many different conduits of worshiping our God. Some of these may include your job, parenting your kids, spending time with your family, enjoying a vacation, etc. For your children, one of the major conduits of worship is their education. Luke 2:52 reminds us that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. As your child grows, how can his education foster this?
Three ways a Christian school fosters lifelong worshipers
1. Acknowledgment of God
As your child is attending a Christian school, there is an obvious declaration that God is GOD. His name is before them all the time. Moses reminds the moms and dads of Israel to make God a topic of the day, not just a casual murmuring in morning and evening prayers. “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
2. Scripturally saturated
You may be thinking, "Yeah right, saturated is a understatement. Do you know how much Scripture my child has to memorize weekly?" Actually I do, because currently my children are having to memorize many Bible verses. BUT you see, Scripture is never an empty filler of the mind. In Isaiah 55:11, God reminds us, “It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Do you see that? The Scripture that is being memorized by your child will have a return as promised in the Scripture above!
3. An environment to live it out
Being a lifelong worshiper cannot be carried out in isolation. We learn to live out forgiveness when someone wrongs us. Children learn the meaning of GRACE when they show up late to class and their teacher withholds the punishment. Children learn to love like Jesus when they are faced with someone that is difficult to love. Yes, these situations can occur in any christian academy, but the staff at just any school may not apply biblical scriptures and principles when interacting with your child in such situations.
As you move forward in your child’s Christian education, please know your time and resources are doing more than just bringing them to some great college or job, but helping them to connect to an Almighty Powerful God. In all honesty, isn't that our greatest prayer as Christian parents, that our children will grow up in the knowledge and the truth of Jesus and become godly husbands and wives and dads and moms?