The following is adapted from a presentation given by Head of School Mr. David Cooper at an all-parent meeting at Front Range Christian School. We share it here as it communicates quite well the answer to “Why Front Range Christian School?”
Why Christian Education?
To answer this question we must begin with an examination of what Christian education is – or more precisely what it is not.
Christian education is not merely a safe escape from the world. The purpose of Christian education is not to hide our children from the world, it is to prepare them for it. In the words of Professor James K.A. Smith of Calvin College:
“…Christian schools are called to be like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia: not safe, but good. Instead of antiseptic moral bubbles, Christian schools are moral incubators that help students not only to see the glories of God’s creation but also to discern and understand the brokenness of this fallen world.”
Our classrooms are to be places of discovery where understanding the complexities of God’s creation is pursued. Places where the brokenness of the world is not ignored but engaged. Racism, slavery, poverty, persecution, beauty, creativity – these things and more are wrestled with and understood. Not from a foundation of secular humanism, which places man’s fulfillment at its apex, but from a foundation of Truth found in Christ Jesus and supported by His Word, which places His glorification at the apex.
Scripture tells us that we are to be salt and light in the world. It also warns us that if we lose our saltiness, the vibrancy of faith that draws others to us, our value it diminished. What value is there then in sending a child, who has yet to acquire their saltiness, into the world to take on a task for which they are not yet equipped? There is no value in that – worse yet, it might even be destructive to the child. This is the position of many both inside and outside of the church.
If, as they say, education is about “preparing young people for life,” then Christian education is about preparing young people to live out a Christian life. It is about making them salty. Preparing them for a battle that requires maturity and is not waged against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities.
We would never think of sending a youthful warrior off to war without first training and equipping him. My nephew recently returned from Afghanistan. He left just barely older than 19 but returned much older. It was an experience that was both horrific and strengthening for him. He found a metal inside of him that he did not realize was there…a resolve not before seen in him. But he didn’t go into that challenge unprepared. Months of training, long days of drills, more training, schooling, and bonding with those he served – all of this occurred before he entered the fray. Shortly before he left he stayed at my home (I think more for the food than the company). I asked him about going to war and if he was afraid. His answer did not expose any fear, which I am certain was there somewhere; what he shared was his confidence in his training and his platoon. He even boldly stated “I am the best they have in my company.” He saw death and he felt loss but he returned. He returned because he left prepared.
The battle our children will enter in this world is, thankfully, very different from the one my nephew fought. But it is a battle for which they must be prepared. A preparation that happens within the classrooms of Christian school.
It is not a preparation FRCS thinks it can, or even desires, to do alone. It is a preparation that must be accomplished in partnership with both your home and your church. Each supporting the other to achieve a common goal. Three critical entities in a child’s life, each working together for the advancement of the Kingdom – not in competition but in cooperation. Each must do their part, uniquely and in balance, or the process will fall apart. It is a partnership of co-laborers – each with a different gifting within the Body for the growing of children to the glory of Jesus.
Christian education is not public education with Bible overlaid upon it. It is equipping students to think Christianly – to be Christian scholars. To give them a lens through which they can see the brokenness of the world. It is through this lens that every subject is taught. It is this teaching that will enable students to engage the world with confidence having been armed with the discernment needed to make choices rooted in Christian values. Our world is more connected and therefore more complex than ever before. The arguments used by the world, while old in content, are new and more difficult to defeat in their construction. “Sunday school” answers and understandings are no longer enough. We must sharpen our students’ minds with more than knowledge; we must help them possess the mind of a Christian scholar – a mind so sharp and bright that it can no longer be ignored or marginalized in the discourse of ideas. A student so empowered will be able to hold true to their faith as they walk the halls of higher education, which are steeped in humanism, and walk out respected, influential and victorious. This is why we must integrate faith and learning so that our students will integrate faith and living.
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, presents the idea that 10,000 hours of practice within a field brings about mastery. While there is some debate about the legitimacy of Gladwell’s golden rule of mastery none have argued against the impact that that extraordinary number of hours would have on one’s development within the chosen field. Imagine spending eight hours a day for almost three and a half years being mentored by one of the world’s greatest Chefs or pianists or athletes. What kind of an impact would that have on one’s skill in that area? That concentrated amount of interaction with anyone would most certainly begin to shape more than just one’s ability. The reality is that not only would one’s skill increase but one’s worldview would be altered. That is the impact that education has upon your child.
The average child spends between 15,000 to 20,000 hours in school during their journey from kindergarten to senior year. Those numbers don’t include time outside of class doing work, team practice or rehearsals. Add those times in and the numbers soar. Those hours of impact will be given to someone. Someone who is intent on training and shaping your child. This is why Christian education is so critical. At Front Range Christian School that means raising them up to be Christian scholars who follow Christ with their whole heart. It means equipping them with the tools needed to evaluate their world through the lens of Christian values. It means building upon, not challenging or tearing down, the values and beliefs you hold in your own Christ-centered homes.
Why Christian Education?
Because 15,000 hours of influence over your children will be given to someone. Shouldn’t that someone be preparing your children to serve the same Lord as you and your home?
The answer is clearly “Yes, Lord, yes!”
You have been given stewardship over one of God’s most precious possessions – your children. Christian education is a part of being a good steward with that treasure.
May each of us as parents, as we stand accountable for that which we have been entrusted, hear those precious words:
“Well done good and faithful servant.”