Head of Education, Steve Beegoo, presents a short case for parents to give their children a Christian education.
There is a strong case for the children of Christian parents to be given a Christian Education. All the statistics show that the Christian community is losing its children. The average parent who identifies as a Christian has been shown to ‘at best’ have a 50% chance of their child following the faith of their parents. Church population decline is generational and evangelistic efforts and Christian immigration are not even close to prevent the steady emptying of our Christian communities. Parents’ active and authentic representations of Christian faith to their children, combined with a Christian education, through a school or home education has been shown to make a huge difference to faith outcomes for the next generation.
The Church has, until this recent era, taken responsibility for the education of children, with the purpose being to glorify God and to support the discipleship of children. The desire to teach children to read was initially to help them to know how to understand the most influential book in world history, the Bible. But now, the foundational book for the values of Western society is being systematically removed from education settings under the misnomer of neutrality and because of fears of offence.
The Church, through the development of Western civilisation, trained up the next generation of leaders who would understand that the subjects they learned about flowed from the source of a creator God. The application of their knowledge, understanding and skills to every sphere of society and learning enabled the students to learn from Christian teachers the wonderful purposes of God, revealing knowledge to human beings.
From monastery to university, from church to school, Christians took the great commission seriously and discipled their children. 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. Today, what seems to be required to be promoted and celebrated can be the opposite of the Bible’s teaching.
School curriculum and teachers
For many teaching in schools, their subjects have been reduced to separate disconnected spheres of learning, taught for the purpose of passing tests and supplying the job market. Christian education has a unifying concept which makes sense to children. The reality of the existence of a creator God gives all subjects life and meaning. Prayer and the word of God are equally relevant whatever subject is being covered. 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. Christian teachers can plan with this in view.
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 we have disliked a subject, because of the lack of relationship connection we had with the teacher. But when we liked the teacher…
The communicative power of a relational connection between teacher and 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 Christian 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. 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 only exists in the assembly. Christian education, whether through truly Christian schools or home education, prepares 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.
The Biblical case
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:
- Matthew 19:14: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them” – How many of our children are being hindered from coming to Jesus?
- Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers… bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” – Have many of us as parents and church leaders delegated too much instruction to unbelievers?
- Deuteronomy 6:7: “These things I teach you today… impress them on your children” – How much investment is being made in making such an impression?
- Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it” – Are the children in your church turning away when they get to teenage years? Why is this?
- 1 Timothy 5:8: “Anyone who does not provide for his immediate family, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” – Are we really providing the education our children need?
How will you respond to God’s call to disciple our children?
Watch below for a fuller discussion of the issues arising: