Attention Church! Why Start a Christian School?
In the late nineteenth century, prayer and Bible reading were common in American schools. In 1962, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional for teachers to lead their children in prayer. Despite losing control of the education provided in public schools, Protestant Christians sent their kids to the public schools anyway. Today, 90% of Christians send their kids to public schools. This impact on our children is far greater than imagined.
America is becoming less religious. In the last decade, the number of people claiming to be Christian has declined 12%—from 77% to 65%. The total number of professing Christians has also declined from 176 million in 2009 to 167 million in 2019, even as the population increased by 23 million.
What should be more concerning to the church is the fact that those who claim to be Christian do not actually believe in true Biblical ways anymore. Research by George Barna estimates that only 17% of American Christians who consider their faith to be important and attend church regularly have a Biblical worldview. Not only is America becoming less Christian, the church is as well. As the convictions of the church decline, the number of ex-Christians increases. The fastest growing religious category in America is the “nones”—those who claim to have no religion at all, which grew 70%—from 12% of the population to 17% in 2019. That’s an additional 30 million people who now claim no religious faith. Of those, 78% grew up in the church. The church is losing its own children.
Why? Nearly 90% of children raised in Christian homes spend 30 to 35 hours a week in public schools, for 12-14 years, typically run by people who do not espouse a Biblical worldview. They also area surrounded by classmates who are not Christians. According to Pew, only 62% of Christians—45% of Americans—attend church at least monthly. That number falls to 35% for millennials while 37% of self-identified Christians attend church somewhere between “never” and “a few times a year.”
Each year, Christian children soak up attitudes, perspectives, and desires from an environment that, at best, is neutral toward their faith. Teaching children knowledge of the world without reference to God simply communicates that God is not necessary to accurately understand the world—a foundational claim of secular humanism.
A Biblical understanding of life requires having an accurate understanding of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” If our child’s education simply ignores God, we should not be surprised when they adopt a worldview that largely sees God as irrelevant. The Nehemiah Institute 2015 PEERS test showed that 90 % of students from Christian homes that attended public schools score in a range that indicates their views are grounded in basic tenets of secularism.
We must stop allowing the world to teach and train our Christian children the way they should go. The culture is doing a much better job of converting Christian kids. Almost half of millennial Christians (47%) believe it is at least somewhat wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in the hopes of converting them, for the sake of “intolerance.”
We cannot offset 35 hours a week in a secular culture with an hour on Wednesday and Sunday. The church must become the greatest influence in the lives of our children! Not every church is big enough to open their own Christian school, but every church is big enough to be part of one. Our children should experience Christ through daily habits of prayer, song, and worship that feeds their minds and spirits. We need to create an environment where Jesus can capture their hearts and become the object of their affections.
We can’t open a school overnight, but let’s start preparing now! It takes a plan and strong Christian people with the passion and knowledge to execute the plan. God is waking the church and opening the door for the church to once again lead in the education of their children!
Will you join us? Let’s unite and educate our children in the church!