Christian schools and their congregations

Is it impossible to know what a congregation expects from its school?

A congregation is a diverse group. There are members who have a heart for a different ministry than Christian education. There are members who think that the school should pay its own way. There are parents whose children are too old for the school. There are single people with no children. There are couples with no children. There are families with children who have special needs. There are also families with children who are just right for the school.

They all agree that the school must be a ministry. Most of us would agree that ministry is outward looking and involves spiritual development for all of the participants. That means the school must engage in the spiritual development of the students. It also means that it is outward looking. What services does your community need?

What is an outward looking service your school could perform? How would it do that and build on the spiritual life of the children and the service recipient? Is theĀ  answer consistent with the mission of the church?

The answer depends on the congregation. There is a service that your community needs that resonates with the congregation. Perhaps you have doubts about that statement. Christ has drawn the members of your congregation together for a reason. He could have encouraged them to join a different church or denomination. Instead, He sent them to your church. What does He intend for them to do together? What does He intend for them to do in collaboration with the school?

Often we think that a school exists to educate students. That is less than half of the answer. Consider food. It certainly exists to nourish our bodies. However, at its best it is artfully presented and wholesome. In addition, it provides us with an opportunity to socialize and enjoy fellowship while meeting a basic need.

Christian education is the same. At its best, it awakens our desire to learn and helps us reach our full potential. In addition, it can teach us to serve others, strengthen our community, and grow the community of believers. Most importantly, it develops our faith and facilitates spiritual development.

How many of the schools in your area do those things? If your school did more than educate students, would it have a competitive advantage? Would it receive more community support? Would your congregation be more enthusiastic? Would financial support increase? Would volunteerism increase? Would more students enroll?

Is it possible to do more than educate students? Of course it is. You have some good ideas. However, instead of starting with your ideas, ask your congregation for ideas. The ones they mention are likely to be ones they will enthusiastically support. With their ideas, you are well on your way to unifying the church around the school.

Mission Enablers


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