Schools: A No Brainer for a Church on Mission

MelvinArticle2

Trends come and go in the life of the Church. With trends come new terminology and sometimes new tradition. At the heart of it, is the quest to influence people and point them to the truth that sets free and empowers the soul to be all God designed it to be.

But often ego seems to play a part. Especially in western culture where numbers and structures are often equated with success. Who has the biggest or most campuses? Who has the largest congregation, most dynamic service production, or most prominent name? Bear in mind, these things are not necessarily bad.

But in the fevered effort to stand out and attract, has the gospel been minimized to the number of decisions and baptisms, membership roles, and budgets? Has the mission moved from transformation to inclusion, tolerance, and the image of prosperity?

What is Christ’s real mission for the Church? Is it not to impact culture by driving back the darkness and depravity of sin with the hope and power and revelation of the gospel? Is it not to bring to every broken life the transformation and healing made possible through Jesus’ name and the work of the Spirit?

MelvinArticle1His disciples captured words that summed up Jesus’ mission to his followers. Mark recorded, “Go into all the world and preach [declare] the gospel [good news of the life being offered] to every creature” (16:15, additions mine). Matthew shared Jesus’ most comprehensive statement of mission when he said, “Go therefore and make disciples [committed followers] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (28:19-20, additions mine).

“There is no place of greater opportunity to impact lives and culture for Christ than through schools.”

In this mission, we see the importance of proclaiming the truth we know to everyone, affirming faith in God and His gospel through baptism of those who believe, and teaching Christ-followers all that Jesus taught so they can be informed, committed disciples. This is critical to them being able to proclaim the truth they know to others. So, as committed Christ-followers and part of the Church, let’s dig deeper.

Where can we connect with almost 100% of a generation in any culture today? Where can we connect with people at a time when they are most receptive to learning and embracing the truth? Where can we connect with people for a significant and sustained period of their lives? The most accurate answer would be in schools. Yes, in SCHOOLS. Simple logic would indicate that schools should be a top-line priority in the mission of the Church. I believe that schools classify as a most under-developed or unreached community by most churches and Christians in America today. Why? Because many have bought into the myth that it is “forbidden” territory. However, they will go to great expense and risk to reach closed cultures that are far from home! Does this make sense?

MelvinArticle3I have had the privilege of being on four continents and in many countries of the world to help advance the cause of Christ. One thing that has been consistent: the role of Christian schools and the intentional influence of Christians in schools is evident in advancing the cause of Christ and forming healthy culture.

In the country of Eritrea (a tiny country in NE Africa) where I was born and raised, mission schools have played a significant part in developing strong leadership for the nation. Even in recent years when a government dictatorship hostile to Christianity seized power and made churches illegal, Christian schools were asked to continue operation because of their needed impact.

In Papua New Guinea, just a few decades ago many people were headhunters and cannibals. Christian missionaries, some of whom I know, risked their lives to go into that country where they started schools. A few years ago, a product of mission schools and a committed Christian was elected Governor General of the country! Notice the Christian influence in their national anthem:

O arise all you sons of this land,
Let us sing of our joy to be free,
Praising God and rejoicing to be
Papua New Guinea.
Shout our name from the mountains to seas
Papua New Guinea;
Let us raise our voices and proclaim
Papua New Guinea.
Now give thanks to the good Lord above
For His kindness, His wisdom and love
For this land of our fathers so free,
Papua New Guinea.
Shout again for the whole world to hear
Papua New Guinea;
We’re independent, and we’re free,
Papua New Guinea.

MelvinArticle4Christian schools are not a thing of the past. Their impact is significant today! While writing this article I received this note from a friend who had just returned from the largest Muslim nation in the world: “Equipping young students and parents with a biblical worldview is key to cultural transformation. I just got back from Indonesia where the country is 90% Muslim, yet courageous Christians are planting schools, (not churches) and are looking at how to teach and educate a generation with a biblical worldview. It’s a very exciting time!”

I totally agree! This is a very exciting time in history and for the Church. We face challenges like never before. We also have an opportunity like never before, and I believe there is no place of greater opportunity to impact lives and culture for Christ than through schools—around the world and right down the street. Impacting this generation through schools must become a priority in the mission of the Church.

Melvin Adams is President and COO of Renewanation. His career has been centered in Christian education, international missions, and music and pastoral ministries. He and his wife Sandy have six children and seven grandchildren. They reside in Hardy, Virginia.


This article originally appeared in The RENEWANATION Review, Volume 6 Issue 2. If you would like to become a member and receive a print edition of the magazine, please click here. If you would like to learn about other ways you can get involved, please click here.