Private Education: Good for Students
12 Common Questions about Christian Education
Why Christian Education? Parents trying to make a careful decision for their children’s education have valid questions and concerns. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:
1. Can my children get a quality education at a Christian school?
Yes! ECS is a state-approved school, staffed with Washington state certified teachers who average 15 years of experience apiece. Our Christian learning community serves a family of students with varying gifts and abilities. Small classes do make a significant difference; students at Ellensburg Christian School do typically exceed grade level expectations. There are abundant opportunities to excel; however, students' willingness to take part of the responsibility for their own learning--in any school--is critical to their success.
In addition to solid academic training, students are regularly reminded of the spiritual foundation upon which all academics are built. “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). At ECS, creative and critical thinking skills are developed not simply for the purpose of gaining knowledge, but also for challenging students to apply their gifts and abilities for a lifetime of learning and service to God.
2. What is a Christian education?
Some schools prepare students for an occupation; others equip students for life. Christian schools are somewhat like charter schools; however, instead of offering curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as math, fine arts, or vocational training, the development of a Christian perspective and godly character is central to every part of the school day. Faith-based schools are not eligible for the Washington State Charter Schools program.
Certified teachers at Ellensburg Christian School consider the needs of the whole child--his intellectual, emotional, and physical growth, as well as his spiritual development. We believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
3. I think my child has a Christian teacher next year in the public system. Isn’t that almost the same as having her enrolled in a Christian school?
While Kittitas County has many caring and capable teachers serving in local government schools, they cannot openly pray with students, or talk about a biblical worldview. Christian teachers in a school where they are not allowed to teach about God are in an incredibly difficult position because they are not legally permitted to use the most important tool that they have—the Word of God. It is the Word of God that changes us and is the very basis for all truth. In John 17:17 Jesus prays for His people and says, "Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth." Christians grow and are made more like Christ as they hear the Word of God.
The average student has spent 11,340 hours in school by time they finish eighth grade. Luke 6:40 says that “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” How many non-Christian teachers will your child have had before they reach high school?
4. Many of my friends say they want their kids to be "salt and light" in the public schools. Shouldn't we do that?
Yes, Christians should strive to be salt and light everywhere we go. Yet no matter how well-prepared your children are, few seven-year-olds, or even twelve-year-olds, can effectively explain the Gospel. Is your child prepared to explain a biblical worldview or to defend his faith?
Most children are still at a time in life when they need to learn to become "salt and light," and are not equipped, emotionally or spiritually, to witness to their non-Christian peers. In cases in which a young person might be up to the task, placing a child in public school for the primary reason of being "light and salt" would put him or her under tremendous pressure.
5. I went to public school and I turned out fine. Can't my children do the same?
Like you, your kids can turn out fine, or even more than fine. “Fine” does not necessarily mean that all our choices along the way were the right ones, or that your educational experience was the best one.
Are you the same person today that you would have been if you had attended Christian school? What journey brought you to know Christ? How would the added support of a consistent message from your home, church, and school have encouraged and equipped you to know and live for Him?
These are questions only you can answer. Consider them, and ask God what His will is regarding your children’s education.
6. If I put my children in Christian school, will I be sheltering them from the real world?
Christian schools face the same reality that public schools do-sinful people living in a fallen world. We are all susceptible to selfishness, anger, and unkind words. No matter where your children attend class, they can hardly escape the contemporary influences found in movies, books and television.
Ironically, some parents elect not to enroll in a Christian school because they feel it is too sheltered, and a number of parents will withdraw their children from Christian schools when they realize that the students and parents enrolled are real people who are facing real problems.
The difference in a Christian learning community is that teachers and parents can openly pray with students and talk about our very real God. Together, we apply Biblical thinking in response to our thoughts or actions, and with God’s help, renew the mind of the child. By doing so, Christian schools have a better chance of helping parents raise young people who have been trained for godly living and thinking. When students do face these issues on their own, they’ll be better equipped to handle them.
7. My child wants to play sports; Ellensburg Christian School does not have an athletic program. What should I do?
ECS students are active participants in community sports and local public-school sports teams. We are conveniently located just two blocks from Morgan Middle School, so most seventh or eighth grade students have time at the end of the day to quickly change and turn-out for practice.
8. My child's friends go to public school. What should I do?
If your children have good friends at the public school, it is only natural that they’ll want to be together. Thankfully in our small community there are many opportunities through church, theater, and sports to keep in touch with friends who may not attend the same school.
The fact that the parents of your children's friends have chosen to send their children to a different school should never deter you from making the best decision for your child’s needs--which may not be the same as those of a friend, or even a sibling. Ultimately, the decision is yours; the Bible is clear that the primary responsibility for educating children rests with their parents.
9. Is a Christian school a safe place?
Christian schools are a safe environment for your children to spend eight hours a day. In addition to physical well-being, Christian schools offer a healthy emotional and spiritual environment. While Christian school students are not faultless, disrespectful words and actions are not overlooked. Because teachers approach all of life from a biblical worldview, socially-tolerant attitudes and immoral behaviors are not endorsed, which helps guard your children’s minds against compromising the guidelines that God established to protect the abundant life He desires us to experience.
10. When is the best time to put my children in a Christian school?
If at all possible, have them taught from a Christian perspective every day of their lives. As Solomon writes, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Placing your children in a public school is not a sin. The question is not, “Is it permissible?” but “Is it beneficial?” Your task as a loving parent will be much easier if your children are placed in an educational environment that reinforces, rather than refutes or ignores, biblical principles taught in your home and church.
Only 3% of 13 year-olds in the United States have a biblical worldview according to Barna's research, which also reveals that a person’s worldview is “primarily shaped and firmly in place by age 13”--before they enter high school. Ellensburg Christian School parents and teachers have a strong partnership that is making a difference. Together we educate children to know, love, and serve God throughout their lives. When surveyed, 95% of ECS middle school students indicated they have a biblical worldview.
11. Will attending Christian school make my children Christians?
No. Because Christian schools share God’s Word with their students daily, your children will have more opportunities to accept Christ than they would in any other educational setting. While there are no guarantees, since God has not promised that everyone who hears the Gospel will embrace it, scripture says that faith in Christ “comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Whether your children come to faith in Christ during their school years or not, their time in a Christian learning community will give them a better understanding of the Bible, and should they eventually accept Christ, they will be better able to defend and share their faith with others.
12. How much of a difference is there really between a secular view of the world and a biblical one?
Life is a business transaction:
What do I get?
Emphasis on Competition
Celebrates independence, sensuality and protecting your rights
Motivated by personal gain
Fulfill your dreams
Live for yourself
Motivated to do one’s best by fear of failure or rejection
Truth is relative, you decide
Takes correction personally, is defensive
Compares self to others
Identity is based on accomplishments orperformance
You are what people say about you
Your behavior is based on how you feel and think at the moment
God is irrelevant
The world operates by random chance
Nothing is eternal and transcendent
Life is a mission:
How can I help?
Emphasis on Service
Celebrates kindness, modesty, respect
and the sanctity of life
Motivated by advancing the kingdom of God
Fulfill your calling
Lose your life, then you will find it
Motivated to do one’s best by gratitude to God
Truth is absolute, you pursue it
Realizes we can learn from loving correction
Compares self to standard God has revealed
Identity is based on what God has done for you
Identity comes from what God says about you
God's wisdom can be trusted in the uncertainty of life
God is the only source of true meaning
The world is ordered and upheld by a loving God
The Word of God and souls of men are eternal
Why Christian Education?
Did you know that 2012 Gallup poll showed only 65% of US residents agreed with the statement: “religion is important in your daily life”? This places the US 104th of 147 nations survived, indicating that US residents identify less with any faith than most other nations.
In fact, the number of those living in the US who believe “religion can answer all or most of today’s problems” has fallen to 58%, while the number who believe “religion is largely old-fashioned and out of date” has increased to 28%.
Okay, so even if religion is not important in their daily lives, how many in the US at least culturally identify with a religious heritage of any kind? The Pew Research Center estimates that nearly one-fifth of the US public-and one-third of those under 30 have “no religious affiliation.” Our children are growing up in a national culture that does not have a biblical worldview.
What about our corner of the nation? Washington State church attendance and membership ranks us at 43rd in the nation according to the Association of Statitians of American Religious Bodies. Within Washington State, Kittitas County ranks 26 of 39 counties for total religious adherents. 60% of our neighbors do not claim to identify with any religion—triple the national average.
How many of those 40% in Kittitas County identify with a faith founded on the Bible (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox)? 23%--or about 10,000 people in Kittitas County.
Pretending for a moment that Kittitas County was its own nation, how does the percentage of profession Christians here compare to other places in the world? Benin, Ivory Coast, South Korea, Tanzania, and Togo are most like Kittitas County, with about 25% of the population identifying with a Christian faith.
While those who identify with a Christian faith are not the majority, how many people who do describe themselves as Christians have a biblical worldview? Before we consider the answer, how is a “biblical worldview” being defined?
For the purposes of the statistics cited below, a biblical worldview is defined as agreeing with the following statements: 1) Jesus lived a sinless life, 2) God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules today, 3)Salvation is a free giftand cannot be earned, 4)Satan is real, 5)A Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people, 6)The Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Only 9% of US adults agree with these six statements.
There are many people in who consider themselves Christians. Let’s narrow it down a bit more. Of those among the 9% who say they “have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today and that they are certain that they will go to Heaven after they die because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their Savior,” how many have a biblical worldview?
Only 19% of the 9% who profess a biblical worldview.
Statistically, this means fewer than 1,900 adults in Kittitas County have a biblical worldview and base their salvation on Christ’s sacrifice in their place. Our community is a mission field!
Among our upcoming generation of parents, those 18-23 years old, less than one-half of one percent have a biblical worldview. Raising children who know, love, and serve God is something parents need help to do, especially since many parents are first generation believers themselves.
While the population of the US is projected to more than double by 2050, an increase of 272 million, church attendance is likely to rise by only 10 million, dropping church attendance from 20% to only 10% of Americans. Children’s ministries, youth programs, and discipleship are vital ministries for equipping the next generation of believers entrusted with the message of Christ. We need to pray not only for our own children, but also for their peers, other parents, our local churches, and schools.
Why does a worldview matter? It matters because ideas have consequences. They shape our values and morals, which determine our actions. Research shows that a person’s worldview is “primarily shaped and firmly in place by age 13”-before they enter high school. Only 3% of 13 year-olds in our nation have a biblical worldview.
While Kittitas County has many caring and capable teachers serving in safe neighborhood schools, Christian teachers in secular schools cannot openly pray with students or talk about a biblical worldview. We believe this opportunity is vital in our post-modern culture. Before they are freshman, the average student will have spent 11,340 hours in school. We believe that children learn best when all three major influences in their life—home, church, and school—point them in the same direction. Luke 6:40 says that “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
The mission of Ellensburg Christian School is to equip students to put their Christianity into action and develop their academic abilities through a biblical worldview, impacting their lives for today and eternity. How are we doing?
With no preparation before being asked, 95% of ECS students in grades 6-8 indicated they have a biblical worldview. (One student disagreed with one statement of the six.) ECS parents and teachers have a strong partnership that is making a difference.
Please continue to pray for Ellensburg Christian School. Pray that we would be after God’s own heart, and settle for nothing less than the abundant life that He has for those who seek and serve him.
At Ellensburg Christian School we are privileged to be able to learn together, play together, and pray together as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. In a Christian learning environment students can examine life while wearing the “spectacles of scripture.” We can openly state that our worth is based on who we are as an image bearer of Christ. We can seek truth. Christian education is a legacy that lasts literally forever—for eternity.
Thank you for your prayers and support of this ministry to partner with young Christian families in Kittitas County.