“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”Psalm 78:4
As Christians, we all know what we are supposed to do: raise up the children in our homes and our churches in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The question becomes, how? We know pastors preaching the word faithfully is of utmost importance. But for the children in your church, school takes up most of their time. Beyond Sunday, how can the church best help her families who choose public school, home school, or Christian school?
If you have children in your church who go to public school, the church can equip those families with assistance throughout the week. Maybe you could supply your parents with devotionals, or serve the kids with youth groups, small groups, after-school tutoring, and more. Maybe your church could pray regularly for the schools in your neighborhood. Or maybe churches could step in and help families move on to homeschooling or Christian schooling if their public school isn’t the best fit!
Perhaps your church already has some homeschoolers. There are a lot of ways you could help here, too. Perhaps you throw social events in your fellowship hall (swing dancing, anyone?) or educational seminars in your auditorium. Or you offer your building affordably — or free — for co-ops to meet there regularly. Maybe it’s as simple as connecting a child who would love to learn to sew with a woman who could teach it. Maybe the budget is extra tight for a one-income homeschooling family and your church can purchase some books — or start a church library for all of your children.
And perhaps your church has children who go to Christian school — or some who would love to. While Christian schools are often the first choice a lot of parents would make, like homeschooling it is not always the easiest choice financially. Perhaps this is one great place where the church can really help. I know some of our students attend churches who give scholarships to any member’s child who wants to attend Christian school. Maybe your church could do that: Count the children of your church — how much could you afford to give toward each of these children’s education, even just for next year? A couple hundred dollars? Five hundred? A thousand? MORE? Or maybe your church wants to choose a nearby school to adopt — your church could pray regularly for this school and your members could surprise teachers with encouragement: Donuts. Lunch. Books. (This works also for public schools! But I am thinking about the smaller salaries many Christian school teachers accept as part of the many efforts to help keep down tuition for students.) Or perhaps you have a great gym, soccer field, or bus (and a licensed bus driver in your congregation) that you could share with a school. Buses cost a lot of money for schools to transport kids to sporting events! This might be something a church would never think of, but it could be a huge blessing to the kids in your congregation and their schools!
There are challenges to all three types of schooling and there are many ways churches can support all parents. These are just a few. If you have any other ideas, leave a comment for all to see and consider! Or leave a comment about successful ways your church already partners with parents — you just might help other churches look at this in a new way!
And if you are a part of a church in the Greater Pittsburgh Area seeking new ways to support Christian education, contact us if you would like to be connected to a Christian school near you!