Mark Shepard
What are we thinking?! – Part 3: Putting ideas into action
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By Mark Shepard
April 19, 2020

Part 1 of this article made a case that every education option impresses a set of values and ideas into students. A free-market education model is the only option that allows parents to give their children an education consistent with the parents’ worldview. A free-market model can, and generally does, deliver a safer, better-quality, more appropriate education at a lower cost than a monopoly-type state-controlled education model.

Part 2 of this article explored applying free-market thinking to education from a Christian worldview, to help parents fulfill the call to disciple their children.

Part 3 is an extension of Part 2, and as such is focused on creating solutions largely from a Christian perspective. It puts action to Jesus’ core calling to Christians in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8, because education is discipleship.

  1. Parents:

    • There are many options. Search them; study the curriculum and teaching methodology with the goal of finding an education environment that will instill strong biblical thinking in your child, while giving a format that fits well with your family. Collaborating with friends on this venture will be encouraging and helpful for both you and your friends.

    • If you are part of a local church that does not strive toward ensuring every child in your church has an opportunity to be educated (discipled) in Godly ways, encourage a change in priorities; if that fails, join a different church. A biblical church, by definition, will not ignore the core calling of the church. Correct thinking does not come by chance, it requires intentional discipleship and that is the core calling of the local church.

    • Remember that whoever pays for the education ultimately controls the education. Your children’s education is worth being a top priority in your home. There is no second chance.

  2. Pastors and church leaders:

    • Where are the shepherds who are to protect the sheep (even the least of these) when the vast majority of churched children are sent to have false ideas impressed upon them five days a week? Who will stand up against the resulting confusion from children being told to believe two very opposing sets of ideas? Who will encourage churchgoing parents to educate their children in a manner consistent with the biblical worldview taught and preached from the pulpit? Who will lead the church as a whole to help make that possible?

    • Where are the pastors who truly stand up against a dualistic mindset that limits biblical thinking to a couple hours a week within the four walls of the church building, and perhaps a little personal daily time for seasoning? Is not the biblical worldview an all-encompassing, comprehensive worldview that does indeed speak to all aspects of life? If not, it is not a worldview.

  3. Church family:

    • Working together creatively, as a single body with a single purpose, help find ways for every child in your local church family to have an opportunity for a Christian-based education. Christians aren’t to be islands who simply join together once or twice a week. We are called to do life together. Do not limit yourself or God.

    • For some churches, homeschooling might fit every family. Others will find the best option to be a co-op type school, where several families work together and make use of the church building. And then other churches will open or be part of opening a more traditional school that, while more expensive to operate, can reach well beyond the needs in a single church.

    • A mix of all of these options could deliver great results, while also being more affordable for parents and more sustainable for traditional schools. Younger students would be educated at home or in co-op arrangements that are more intimate and then go on to a traditional school setting, which has more offerings, for their high school years. This mixed model creates a natural feeder program for the traditional school, reduces the higher-level cost to just four years for each student, makes Christian education available to far more families, and makes great use of existing church buildings that are generally empty during weekdays. It is a win-win-win-win!

    • The main point is to organically find what best fits your church. One size does not fit all.

    • Resist the fortress model of simply protecting your children from competing ideas and forces, but rather understand the ideas that confront and confuse our culture. Open your doors to families who are not part of your church so they have options besides the confusion created by the ideas pushed through the public school system. Help shift your local church from simply being another social venue to being a strong and trusted pillar of your community.

  4. Existing Christian Schools:

  5. Christian Teaching Colleges:

    • Are you training teachers to educate students to truly think biblically in all subjects?

    • Many teachers from Christian teaching colleges seek public school jobs simply to pay for their education debt. Are you able to lessen the financial burden for graduates based upon the graduate teaching in a Christian school for a number of years? Teachers in Christian schools are very much missionaries, answering a calling.

    6. Resources:

    • Over the past few decades, many people have been working tirelessly to create better options, and their efforts have truly prepared our nation for a time such as now when, because of the COVID-19 virus, parents are forced to be more engaged in the direction of their children’s education. Just over a year ago, several of these people and their organizations joined together to create the Christian Education Initiative (CEI) at https://christedu.org/.

    • With CEI, those actively working for free-market education solutions built upon a Christian worldview can get to know and support one another and collaborate with their various strengths to create more and better opportunities for children to have a Christian education. CEI is a resource for parents, churches, Christian schools, and Christian teaching colleges who embrace the calling of the church to make disciples and most especially disciples of the children in the church. CEI is new and growing, so there are still many great resources that are not yet connected in with CEI.

© Mark Shepard

 

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Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard served two terms in the Vermont Senate (2003-2006) and ran for Congress in the 2006 Republican Primary. (Click here for more.)

For a number of reasons, not the least of which is its small size, Vermont was targeted as a key beachhead by those desiring to move America away from its liberty-based birth, where the laws of nature and nature's God were supreme, and toward socialism, where the state (man's wisdom) is supreme. It was in that environment that Mark ran and served in elected politics... (more)

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