Bad Reasons to Choose a Christian School, Part Two

Bad Reasons to Choose a Christian School, Part One
by Jim Barnes, Dean of Students & Spiritual Life 

Is the Christian school’s purpose to create a spiritual bubble around our kids and protect them from the bad kids?

I’m arguing that some parents seem to think so.

Now again, I’m not arguing that our kids don’t need protection from evil influences. If I found out the neighbor kid is offering cigarettes to my children, I’m cancelling sleepovers and playdates until something changes. Kids are young (shocking, I know), and for that reason, they need protection and healthy boundaries.

But in the last article, I said this “bubble philosophy” can be a very bad reason for Christian education - primarily because it often means that deep down inside we think of our kids as innocent until they come in contact with bad kids.

It’s the same wrong philosophy that some monastic groups believed. It goes like this:

Question: “How do we escape the corruption of our culture?”

Answer: “We withdraw into the desert, build walls around us, and become a haven of purity and spirituality.”

But guess what mysteriously popped up inside the monasteries? Some of the same horrific sins of the culture they left behind. And why was that? Because the monks had carried the disease with them.

Trust me from experience, I’ve seen extremely sheltered kids be extremely sinful kids despite every effort from their parents.

Creating tight bubbles doesn’t quarantine your child from sin. It actually incubates it.

No parent should be surprised to find that bad kids exist in Christian schools. But they should be appalled if a Christian school isn’t addressing the sin and designing a path for repentance and reconciliation.

But there’s another reason why the bubble philosophy is flawed.

The Purpose of the Christian Life

The bubble philosophy often misses the purpose of the Christian life.

If we assume that the goal of the Christian school is to withdraw from society in order to stay pure, we find our school becoming a sordid, bizarre antithesis to Jesus’ own life.

You’ll notice that Jesus never received accusations for being too standoffish. He never led his disciples into the desert to form a commune or build a castle. He never sent out flyers to announce where his next retreat would be held.

Jesus didn’t think you should light a candle then cover it up with a bucket. (Matthew 5:15)

In fact, Jesus was the opposite of withdrawn from culture.

He was accused of hanging out with unbelievers too much. He loved parties.

Instead of pulling his disciples out of society, he sent them out into the culture to proclaim the good news about himself.

He really thought his followers should be in the world. Just not of it.

Christian schools aren’t meant to be bubble factories. They should be designed to be light factories, fanning flames into torches that light up the darkest corners of our culture.

 We shouldn’t be starting Christian schools for the purpose of insulating our kids from the culture. We should be training them to interact with and influence our culture.

If our goal is to have good Christian kids who learn to effectively hide from our culture, then we won’t actually have good Christian kids. We’ll have flickering candles wearing buckets over their head.

The purpose of a Christian school should be to point students outward, not inward.

They should be preparing students not for a life of cultural withdrawal but of cultural witness.

Christian schools are lighting candles not blowing bubbles.

And that is a much better reason to send your child to a Christian school.

1 Comment

Karel Norman - April 2nd, 2020 at 9:08pm

Love it Jim! Couldn't agree more. It is a privilege to partner with you in developing devoted disciples of Jesus. Keep fighting the good fight.