As missionaries and church planters, we are always looking for ways to reach people and effectively fulfill the Great Commission. One area which many missionaries are seemingly afraid to consider is having a Christian school.
Everyone understands the importance of training up the next generation. But somehow, we think we can do that with one to three hours of children’s classes during the normal church services and an extra week of VBS in the summer. It simply isn’t enough, especially if the children in your church do not have godly influences in their homes.
In our ministry, we have seen the tremendous effect of our Christian school in many lives and families. During a recent church service, I took a mental count and found that nearly one hundred people attending that church service (some of whom are now leaders in our church) started coming to church because of the Christian school. Some were students, graduates, or family of someone that attended the school at one time. That is a huge impact...a lasting impact that ties directly to the Christian school ministry.
There are several different mindsets about who should be students in a Christian school, and I believe there are legitimate reasons for each of those types of ministry opportunities, but our particular school is an open enrollment school. This allows entrance into the lives of many families—families that desperately need a Saviour and have deep spiritual needs.
Some of our students attend other churches, and we have a good number of national pastors kids, but for those that don’t have a church home, this is a great chance to introduce them to a loving and biblical church family. Through activities, events, graduation services, serious illness, or loss of loved ones, there are hundreds of ways to show God’s love. Having the school is not just something we do, but rather one of the ways we are seeing fruit that remains.
Anyone who has experience with a Christian school understands that there is a LOT of work involved. But as I think about it, I can’t think of a single ministry that is effective in fulfilling the Great Commission that doesn’t involve work and expense. Instead of viewing it as a burden, it should be viewed as a golden opportunity. We can teach this next generation as children, instead of trying to rescue them as adults. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
So, to make it simple…here are some benefits of having a Christian school on the mission field:
1. To see children, teens, parents, friends, and family come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
2. To have opportunities to reach individuals and families that you would not normally know or be able to touch through just the church ministry.
3. To develop in children the habit of having a daily walk with God.
4. To mold the next generation in the Word of God.
5. To give hope for the future.
6. To break the chains of sin in families.
7. To see the local church grow.
8. To teach children how to read in order to read the Word of God. (This will not happen without the missionary’s help in some places.)
9. To provide godly examples, through teachers, in the lives of children who do not have godly examples in their home.
10. To help fulfill the Great Commission.