Pastors, parents encouraged to consider Christian education during NAMB breakfast

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) – In many ways, American culture is becoming more hostile to biblical Christianity, said Jimmy Scroggins as he and Trevin Wax opened the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Church-Based Schools Breakfast on June 11 as one of the ancillary events the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Indianapolis.

“The question is how are we going to push back in a helpful, constructive way that is consistent with our values, that’s consistent with what the Bible teaches and that makes the best use possible of our constitutional rights in the United States of America,” said Scroggins, who is lead pastor of Family Church in South Florida and an advocate for Christian education.

Scroggins and Wax, who is NAMB’s vice president for resources and marketing, put together a short eBook called The Education Reformation to help churches explore the possibility of entering the realm of Christian education for the sake of their communities.

During the discussion, Wax emphasized the role that Christian education can play in discipleship and evangelism and posed the question to Scroggins about whether a school might be a distraction to a local church’s mission.

“If we create some partnership between churches and homes and schools, now all of a sudden,” Scroggins said, “you have the minds and hearts (of students), and you have a lot more alignment” between the teaching and values that are being instilled in the church’s young people.

Surveying the room, Scroggins asked attendees to raise their hands as to whether they grew up attending public, private, homeschool or some form of Christian school. He pointed out that solutions to the challenges facing local churches are not “one size fits all.”

“My point is, we’re not trying to say there’s a right way or a wrong way. We’re not trying to say that public-school families are wrong,” Scroggins said. “We want to support our public-school teachers who are in all of our churches and our principals and administrators.”

At the same time, Scroggins said, there are influences at work in the highest levels of public-school education that are endorsing stances on gender and sexuality that go directly against the historic, Christian sexual ethic. The solutions to combating those influences, Scroggins said, does not start with politics.

Political solutions “might postpone some things. It can hold off some things. Some things could improve temporarily, but it’s not changing the overall trajectory of the culture,” Scroggins said. “The way to do it, the way to push back … one of the ways, we think, is to create this incredible alignment and partnership between Christian homes, Christian churches and Christian schools.”

Wax pointed to the image that many have of the established Christian school with an abundance of programs and large facilities and underscored that such examples represent only one avenue for Christian education that takes years to develop.

“This is about having a Christian school where discipleship is taking place, where kids are in God’s Word, where all of our education, no matter what subject, is Godward oriented,” said Wax.

There are several different options that churches can explore to help accomplish that mission, Wax said.

Larry Taylor, president of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), joined Wax and Scroggins later in the event to discuss the ways his organization can come alongside local churches.

“Outside of America right now … there is a major Christian school boom going on, all over the world,” said Taylor, pointing out that ASCI’s role is to help churches with the tasks of assessing their facilities, accreditation and teacher certification.

“The biggest thing we look at is … discipleship – biblically based, worldview integration into every single discipline, not just Bible,” Taylor said. “Science, literature, math, history … it’s all about biblically based, worldview integration. That’s the distinction that ASCI would want. That is our rallying cry, and we are so excited to be working with NAMB.”

NAMB’s emphasis on church-based schools is not about funding or starting such schools, Wax said. Instead, the goal is to encourage churches to explore the myriad possibilities that exist for them to enter the field of Christian education.

Aside from the eBook, NAMB has helped create other resources and has created a pathway to help churches connect with ACSI.

“I think every church that has a building should consider having some kind of a Christian school in your facility,” said Scroggins. “And you shouldn’t just say, ‘No, we’re never going to do that.’ You should think about doing it. Pray about doing it. Look into and see what really is possible.”

To learn more about how local churches can explore creating a Christian school for their community, visit www.namb.net/schools.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.)

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