Called to Evangelize Public School?
Having just served three and half years on the membership committee of my children’s independent Christian School I posted an article I had written, about why my wife and I decided to go that route rather than the public school route.
That article went viral.
People were both agreeing and disagreeing with it. Many people messaged me. Some regaled me with their regrets of sending their kids to public schools as they no longer attend Church. Others defended their choice to send their kids to public schools.
In my time on the committee I have heard lots of reasons for not sending kids to the Christian school.
The one I heard most often, and one that was the heated topic on a friend’s Facebook page—that children can be called to serve as missionaries to unsaved schoolmates and teachers.
The reasoning is that it is wrong for Christian parents to pull their children from the public schools where they are called to shine the light of Jesus Christ in the darkness of a perverse society.
This sounds noble.
I mean, I absolutely think it is wonderful when children stand up for their faith and shine the light of Christ to their friends and others around them. My 9 year old daughter Kaitlyn, who loves the Word and lives in it, can answer questions that I pose to her that many 18 year olds can’t answer; I love it when I see her defend her faith.
I would say that she is solidly founded, as solid as any 9 year old can be, in the faith.
She loves Jesus.
But I would not send her out as a missionary.
Frankly, it is a rare gifted child that is ready for a calling to be a missionary to heathens at the age of 9. Matthew Henry was one who could have done so at age 9, but I cannot think of any more.
In fact when I think about my own family, I am the only one of 3 who still believes. My other 2 brothers have both denounced the faith, and they did not attend Christian school after grade 7 and 10 respectively.
Diane Dekker cites studies in her book, Two Trees of Knowledge. These studies followed Christian kids who attended public schools. Here are the stats:
75%-90% of Christian youths who went to public school, reject the faith before the end of their first year in college.
Only 14% of Christian kids who go to Christian schools reject the faith.
These stats appear to match the many comments and messages I received on my article. They certainly match what happened in my own family.
So here is a question for you.
Do you believe that your child in public school will be a positive influence on those around him or her?
Possibly, it could happen…but throughout the Bible, it states things like that
bad company corrupts good character.
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.
Why do we set a different policy for children than adults?
For example, if we want to send a missionary out in the field, we first send him to college for 4 years, to seminary for another 3 or 4, then to take a year of missiology, and finally off to the mission field. Where he is held accountable by boards, and elders and other pastors and missionaries…. But when it comes to our children, we send them into public schools untrained, unprepared, unequipped, and expect them to be missionaries. In fact we say that they are “called” to it! How were they called? Who ordained them to the mission field?
Frankly, that is ridiculous!
Jesus spent 3 years training men, day and night, before he sent them out with the great commission. They were called. How can we expect a 9 year old, even one as grounded in the faith as my daughter, to be a match for some atheistic instructor, who leaves them gasping for air and doubting whether it is all real or not? Or even more deadly than that, is the desire to just be liked. How many a child has made life altering decisions because of the desire to be liked??
Dekker goes on to say,
“Do not believe the lie that ‘public school will make a child stronger’ because he has to constantly defend his faith. There is not one instance in Scripture where God encourages Christians to get their training in the enemy’s camp to be a stronger Christian.”
I wholeheartedly agree.
We grow in the faith.
We learn to wield the weapons at boot camp, before we venture on to the battlefield.
We learn to hold our breath and float. before we try to swim.
As a former member of the Membership Committee of my child’s Christian School, I beg you all to consider what is at stake.
The battle for the hearts and minds of today’s children is growing more intense. Satan is lying in wait to devour those kids who do not know how to fight him off.
It is my belief that Christian children be educated in a Christian setting with Godly faculty.
Because their souls are at stake.
Not much else is more important than that.