This is the third part of a series by a Lutheran pastor and headmaster of a classical Lutheran school in Idaho. Here we see that a Christian school is a most important part of the congregation’s outreach and evangelism.
Why Christian Schools? (part 3)
By Rev. Sean L. Rippy
“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14 ESV)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20 ESV).
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation’” (Mark 16:15 ESV)
These passages, and others like them, make it pretty clear that we, as the church, need to be about the business of spreading the Gospel to whomever we can reach.
It should not need to be said that the world is full of the lost who need the forgiveness and love of Jesus. An evangelist once said that on average, one soul is lost per second. That’s a profound statistic, and it should awaken in us a desire to get the Gospel out as best we can. Indeed, as we love our neighbor, part of that love should be telling them about Jesus and the love He has for them.
Naturally, the Christian school fits in well with this Great Commission. The school is a wonderful mission opportunity. We currently have 36 students who have no church affiliation. The Lord has literally laid these children at our feet so that we can tell them about Jesus. What a great opportunity!
While this is a great opportunity, we must not lose sight of the Lord’s own Word and become tempted to water down the faith in order to appeal to a larger audience. It has happened in both churches and schools that people have compromised the teachings of Jesus in the name of evangelism. This must never be. Are we smarter than Jesus who lost more than 5,000 followers in one day because He would not compromise the Word of the Lord? (John 6:66). The only message we have is the one Jesus gave us. Heaven forbid that we change that message or leave out part of it, for then it is no longer Jesus’ message, but one of our own making. Let us be proud of the message Jesus has given us and teach it loudly from the roof tops!
Let us also not fall into the subtle trap of thinking that the school is the only mission work that a church should be doing or even that the school is THE mission branch of the church. God has commanded that Christians build Christian schools in order to teach the faith to the young (see our first two articles); as such it performs the absolutely vital and God commanded role of creating disciples of our children and protecting them from the devilish influence of the worldly schools. This places the school under the education branch of the church. However, as people who have never heard the Word of the Lord come to our school, the school also performs the function of evangelism simply by doing what God has commanded us to do for our own children. It is the same with the worship service. The divine service is for the members of the church to confess their sins and receive forgiveness since a nonbeliever cannot worship a God they do not know or do not have faith in. However, that doesn’t mean that a nonbeliever, upon hearing the Word of the Lord in the Divine Service can’t come to faith. In both cases, the primary purpose of God’s command for the sake of the believers also has a secondary and vital purpose of reaching out to a dying world. But let not mission work stop there. There are other things that the church can and should do to reach out to our neighbors with the love of Jesus.
So while the school should never be the only mission work a congregation does, we should never forget that Zion Christian School is an important way in which we can reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus. When God just dumps them in our laps, we have no excuse.
This concludes our three part look into the necessity of Christian Education. To sum up, we have looked at three reasons why it is vital that congregations provide a Christian school and why it is vital that Christian parents send their children to a Christian school: 1. Because God commands them (Article 1), 2. Because our children need them lest we lose even one (Article 2), & 3. Because the world needs to hear about the love of Jesus (Article 3). I pray that if you kept up with me to this point, you can see the passion I have not only for Christian education but the necessity of Christian education. I truly do believe the only thing that can stand in the way of the massive influence from our world is the Christian school. I truly do believe that the Christian school is on par with the Church as the most important thing anyone can do for their children. So I beg you, if you have found these articles to be convincing, please share them with fellow Christians who need to hear this message. If we won’t teach our children, who will?