Should Christians care about schools?

10 July 2024

Head of Education Steve Beegoo comments on the state of our education system, and the need to remember that education is first and foremost grounded in the knowledge of God

Should we have Christian concern for schools?

In order to stir your thinking, let us start with 12 statements and brief reflections:

1. “The state should educate our children and we should just take them to church.”

Unconsciously this is what most of us believe and practice.

2. “The state has always been responsible for the teaching of our children, and has neutral aims.”

A common misnomer.

3. “Any good education must have at least 30 children, aged within 12 months of each other, full time, taught by teachers who don’t share the parents’ values and faith.”

Something which goes unquestioned due to how UK culture and economics have developed.

4. “Any good secondary education must have around 1000 teenagers all together in one institution, moving from teacher to teacher.”

This is how cost-effective educational institutions have evolved using a ‘factory’ not ‘family’ model.

5. “These kind of environments prepare children well for the rest of normal life.”

This is the assumption of society, and not based in the reality of normal life but on pragmatism and focussing its people on qualifications, career and consumption. (When else are you only relating with people within 12 months of your age all day!

6. “The mental health of our children is on the whole very good.”

It isn’t. Why? Where are we putting them?

7. “If Christian parents home educate or send their children to a small independent Christian school, where they are only taught by Christians, then they are damaging their children and they won’t engage in society and in mission.”

The research evidence shows the opposite!

8. “Each generation, at least 50% of the children of parents who call themselves Christians stop following Jesus.”

This is not understood by much of the church.

9. “The average age a person makes their main step to become a Christian is 12-13 years old.”

True. The implications of this needs to be grasped by parents and churches.

10. “Of the Christians in our churches today, the vast majority made the commitment before the age of 18.”

True. Some research even says 95%. The efforts of evangelism, teaching and discipleship should therefore be focussed where?

11. “80-90% of children from Christian homes, who have been home educated or who go to the new UK Christ-centred schools, persist as followers of Jesus Christ into adulthood.”

True! There is hope for Christian parents and Christ-centred churches who really value their children, see the issues, and respond to the biblical commands.

12. “There are many Christian organisations providing resources and support for parents, schools and churches to help with the discipleship of children and their education.”

Increasingly true. Praise God!

The Church and Education

Many Christians are reading their Bibles afresh, and are recognising that the scriptures teach us that parents and God’s people are together responsible for the teaching and discipling of our children. At no point does the Bible provide a pattern that expects us to believe that any nation state is to be primarily responsible for the education of children. Do we? In the UK, and across the world, parents and God’s people were always those who sought to train children, and only in the last century has this changed. When educational institutions such as universities were developed they were founded by the church and on the teachings of the Bible. What about our educational establishments today?

The Church has, until this recent era, taken much responsibility for the education of children. The purpose understood as being to glorify God and to support the discipleship of children, as commanded in the Great Commission. The desire to teach children to read, was initially to help them to know how to understand the most influential and important book of world history; the Bible. But now, the most foundational book for the values of Western society is being systematically removed from education settings under the misnomer of neutrality.

The Church through the development of Western civilisation trained up the next generation of leaders, who would understand that to fully grasp the purpose and value of the areas studied they must learn how all things originate in a creator God, who has a designated purpose for all things. The application of their knowledge, understanding and skills to every sphere of society and learning, enabled the students to learn from Christian teachers these wonderful purposes of God, and how to respond to the cultural mandate to fill and subdue the earth. God is the only one who can reveal true knowledge to human beings. From monastery to university, from church to school, Christians took the great commission seriously and discipled their children, and ultimately nations.

After the Great Awakening of the 18th and 19th century, at a high point in the UK’s educational history, the Church of England had thousands of strongly connected churches and schools, where Christian faith was joyfully promoted and celebrated, with minimal influence of the British state. Hymns were sung and the Bible was studied. They were initially funded by the Church and by donors, not the state. Does the one who pays the piper, call the tune? Today, what seems to be required to be promoted and celebrated in state funded schools, and even many so called ‘Christian’ schools, can be the opposite of the Bible’s teaching, as many are finding with the Relationships and Sexuality teaching being provided even to young children.

The Biblical Case For Christian Education


There is a strong case for every Christian parent, and every church to pray seriously about how they disciple their children. Who trains them 30 hours a week, 38 weeks a year? Will an hour a week on Sunday be enough to follow the Lord’s commands? Consider these verses:

  • Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them’ (Matthew 19 v 14)
    How many of our children are currently being hindered from coming to Jesus?
  • Fathers… bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6 v 4)
    Have many of us as parents and church leaders delegated too much instruction to unbelievers?
  • ‘These things I teach you today… impress them on your children’ (Deuteronomy 6 v 7)
    How much investment of time and talent is being made in making such an impression today?
  • Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it’ (Proverbs 22 v 6)
    Are the children in your church turning away when they get to teenage years? Why is this?
  • ‘Anyone who does not provide for his immediate family, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’ (1 Timothy 5 v 8)
    Are believers really providing the education our children need?

Right from the first classroom, the garden of Eden, to the instructions given to the people of Israel through Moses, to the teaching given by Christ to his ‘children’ (many of whom were teenage disciples) we see the Lord expects us to take responsibility for teaching the next generation. There is no expectation that believers hand their children over to the state.

Judges 2 v 10, explains what happens when God’s people ‘forget’ the Deuteronomy manifesto for the people of God, and get too busy to train their children.

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” (NIV) .

Their children become steadily lost. The prosperous people proceed into depravity and distress. Others invade their land and they lose their freedom from the enemy destroyer without, and from the evil desires within. Could the moral chaos of the time of the judges be a reflection of our current times?

A New, but Old, Call to Teaching

Through my work at Christian Concern I am working with 25 or so groups from Scotland to the South Coast, who want to start their own new small independent Christian school or educational initiative. Church leaders and parents are waking up to the rapid changes in our schools, where Christians are being increasingly discriminated against and the Bible has all but disappeared.  Many Christians are planning for the future. Some parents have taken hold of God’s call to home educate their children, and I am privileged to work with those who are seeking to resource home educators and defend these freedoms, which have been lost in many parts of the world such as Germany, France, The Netherlands and Sweden. Some in state and older independent schools with a Christian heritage are seeking to hold the line in maintaining a strong Christian presence. They also need our prayers and support. Christians are getting involved with organisations such as Scripture Union, The Bible Society, Youth for Christ, KICK, Good News for Everyone and many others to influence schools…

I am convinced however, that unless we model again, what a Christ-centred education, and a Christ-centred school can be, then the revival needed to reverse the slide towards the secularisation and sexualisation of our sons and daughters, will not occur.

And so the call to the church to develop Christ-centred education is again before us. At our Gospel Issues event recently I outlined how such schools are distinctive, truly different. How the research on the past pupils of new Christ-centred schools, which have been developed in the last 40 years, demonstrates that the children and young people have been encouraged into, not hindered from, meeting Jesus and wanting to follow him, as Christian teachers work with the parents.

These schools are determined to only employ Christian teachers. They stay small, with many ages interacting together, so they are much more a family of mums and dad and brothers and sisters, rather than a crowded factory-like institution where you remain unknown and are rarely noticed. Although smaller, they are renowned for producing excellent academic results, and can often be much more flexible with subjects in the secondary years- not limiting pupils to whatever option boxes are provided to the current cohort. If you are a gifted linguist, why not study French and Spanish! Their curriculum is carefully prayed through, and planned to bring out a Christ-centred understanding of the world, not isolating the Bible into a ‘religious’ sphere alone. Jesus doesn’t only want to be spoken about, or to, in assembly times! Prayer and the word of God are equally relevant whatever subject is being covered in these schools or learning centres. Not that a Bible verse needs to be squeezed into every lesson on trigonometry, but the purpose and attitude towards all subjects can be shaped from a Christian worldview, which is the foundation of all that is studied. Christ-centred teachers can plan with this in view. They believe Colossians 2:3, that learning in relationship to Christ results in the discovery of all the “hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”


All teachers are relational communicators, whether good or bad. They communicate not just the knowledge of their subject but a sense of purpose and attitude towards learning itself and towards the child. How often can it be said that a student has disliked a subject, because of the lack of relationship connection they had with the teacher. Some of us even began to think the subject ‘didn’t like us’! Assigning relational power to the ‘subject’! But when we liked the teacher and a positive relationship was formed, a godly flow of knowledge and understanding resulted from the relationship.

The communicative power of a relational connection between teacher and ‘sponge-like’ child cannot be underestimated. It means that teachers’ negative and godless attitudes towards individual subjects, the purpose of learning, or the value of the children themselves, can soak into our young impressionable students. Unbelief begetting unbelief. However, in Christ-centred Education, the teacher holds a Christian worldview, and this is caught by the child, shaping their propensity towards a positive disposition to following Christ. Therefore, the education is not child-centred, but Christ-centred, and this results in sacrificial love, not selfish achievement, or self-realisation. The character of the developing child is as important, if not more so, than the academic achievement. This Christian Education leads to young men and women who do not segregate faith into the reduced nominal Christianity of a ‘Sunday morning believer’; where Jesus is only understood to be of importance in a certain form of religious meeting.

Christian Education, whether through truly Christ-centred schools, part-time learning centres, or home education, shapes young disciples in character and wisdom for the mission of God wherever He calls them to go; wherever on this sphere, and whatever sphere of work. It is thoroughly mission centred and mission critical. There is a new call to this kind of teaching, and a fresh challenge to those who need to be a part of setting up such schools. Many are responding to this call.


Such new independent Christian schools have parents who recognise the importance of their own investment in the children God has given them to steward. They invest time, energy and money, and the results are incredible. From the UK research, their peers as young adults in UK society are 18 times more likely to believe that “life is not worth living”. The mental health, the security, the sense of purpose, because of the training from parents, teachers and church together, causes them to also flourish academically as well as spiritually. The book ‘Swimming Against the Tide’, by Dr Sylvia Baker, wonderfully explores these results, and new research on the outcomes in past pupils is even more encouraging.

Far from being ghettos, isolated from their local communities, these schools are well regarded for engaging with and serving their local communities. When their young adults go on to college, sixth forms or other training, they are known for their maturity and quality of character. These ‘greenhouses’ rather than ghettos, have proven to suitably protect and nurture through the critical years of learning, readying them to be sent out into God’s world with secure foundations in the Christian faith.

Want to know more?

We are providing resources and networking to stir this movement of people who recognise these issues, and want to take up the challenge before us. Dare we not?

Do watch the two Gospel Issues sessions and pass these on to church leaders. Come to one of our events around the country! You can also explore our new Education website. Also please sign up to our Christian Concern emails where Education issues are regularly featured. And if you are interested in discussing further God’s call on your own life, and perhaps your desire to develop a Christ-centred School, please do email us at Christian Concern, where we will seek to encourage, envision and equip you.

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