By Melvin Adams – Renewanation President & COO
Since the vision of Renewanation is to offer every child a Christian worldview, schools are a most logical focus in our mission.
As we approach the subject of schools, many important questions surface. To be sure, there are varied opinions on some of the answers. But because one’s education always becomes such a vital part of their worldview and because worldviews are largely shaped during the K-12 years, we must make this focus one of our highest priorities.
Who should be educating our children?
Parents should always be the primary educators of their children. They have the responsibility to oversee and approve the education their children receive. But many parents are not able to adequately educate their children on their own. They need assistance from professionals. That is where the now common concept of school comes in.
Whether children are taught in homeschools or other forms of school, their lives and the potential of their bright, inquisitive minds are the single greatest, most valuable resource any society has. It goes without saying that their nurture and education should be of greatest priority.
We are what we think, and we generally think as we are taught. Therefore, it is critical to know what our kids are learning. Since all teachers make disciples, it is equally important to know and accept what kind of disciple our children are destined to be.
Why does worldview matter in educational design?
When a person is “taught” anything, there are basic assumptions that must serve as the foundation of that teaching. While there are many varied assumptions that serve as foundations in acquiring knowledge, none is as significant as the question of whether God is or is not. This most basic assumption leads to diametrically different outcomes and is, in fact, the root in the major controversy of worldviews in American education today.
Secular humanism, the leading philosophy being put forward in American schools today, systematically undermines the very idea that God is. Theories are taught excluding the participation or relevance of Divine intervention in human history. ‘Science’ is savior, and absolute truth is nonexistent. It is very difficult for individuals thoroughly indoctrinated in these basic assumptions to become biblical Christians with a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
In contrast, a Christian worldview begins with the premise that God is. It is rooted in a comprehensive understanding of a world where God is central to every reality, truth is determined by the authority of the Bible, and reality is found in relationship with Jesus Christ. It is very difficult for individuals who thoroughly embrace these basic assumptions to follow the teachings of secular humanism or any other system.
How does Renewanation engage and encourage engagement with schools?
One of Renewanation’s primary goals is to strengthen and advance Christian schools. We are committed to helping affiliate schools impact the children and families of their community. In addition to promoting quality education, a primary emphasis is placed on assessment and integration of a biblical worldview in order to affect the culture of the school and life of the student. We also support under-served communities who are committed to starting new Christian schools.
Renewanation is also concerned for the millions of children who don’t have opportunity to attend a Christian school. We encourage churches and Christian schools to strengthen relationships with non-Christian schools in their community in order to strengthen believers who are working there. We also promote Christian Education Release Time or after-school programs for children. We further encourage Christians to intentionally become teachers, administrators, superintendents, members of their Board of Education, Board of Supervisors or city council, legislators, lawyers, and judges to influence the lives of children and enable faith to be a dynamic part of their learning experience. These professionals, not children, are the people who can be most effective as missionaries to non-Christian schools. Children are disciples, and they always learn from those who teach them.
Does Christian education really matter?
As I was at the hospital to visit my aging father, I experienced yet another “why Christian education matters” moment. A man engaged me in the hospital waiting room to ask about the Renewanation logo on my shirt.
As I shared our vision and commitment to educate children from the premise that God is, the man said, “I understand exactly what you are saying. We had our daughter in a Christian school for her first three years, but I thought it was too expensive and took her out. I would never put a child in public school now. The influences there destroyed her.”
His daughter was on total life support due to major complications of heroin use. Living was unlikely. She was 20.
I don’t know details of the home life or school. I do know that similar tragedies happen in kids from every background and educational experience. I also know that kids nurtured and educated from the premise that God is, that truth exists, and that life is found in relationship with Jesus Christ are far less likely to have her story. My heart broke as this hurting father shared his regrets.
That very same day a young man, almost the same age, was in the hospital assigned to take care of my father. He too engaged me in conversation. He told me a different story.
As he was entering middle school, his parents wisely understood that his next few years would determine the rest of his life. So they sacrificed and put their son in a Christian school, and they kept him there until he graduated!
I asked him to write out his story for me. Here are some thoughts he shared:
“Where I am today is a direct result of my experience in a biblical learning environment. Being in a Christian school provided me with a biblical perspective of history and science. A public school learning environment would have caused significant confusion as a biblical and secular perspective would often clash.
The staff in my Christian school invested more time in us spiritually and in our academic efforts. This was mostly due to the staff being Christians themselves. If I had gone to a public school, this would seldom occur. If it did, it would not be with Christ-centered guidance.
In my Christian school, there was a great sense of accountability in school work, sports, and behavior. Further, there was a great sense of community, as my teachers, coaches, and parents would all see each other on Sunday morning or at Wednesday night Bible study. In my public school experience, this sense of community and accountability between academics, athletics, and faith was rarely experienced. These factors culminated to forge me into the Christian man that I am now.
Today, I am a bachelor’s educated registered nurse working in a cardiovascular intensive care unit. I love my job, and I love the care and compassion I can provide to patients and their families. Upon reflection, seeing where I am today, I am incessantly grateful that I received a Christian education.”
As you can see, Christian education really matters.