How Does Christian School Impact a Child’s Faith Development
A child’s faith is delicate and there are different people responsible for influencing a child’s faith including Christian School. So, how much of a student’s faith is influenced by their educational experience?
Research shows that students will spend an average of 15,000 hours or more under the influence of the educational system. This is significant when considering the major influences in a child’s life. Children will likely spend more time at school than they will at home or the church.
Christian School Impacts a Child’s Faith
What does this research mean to parents in our ever-changing world? What does this mean for the future of a school like Casper Christian School? The world where we grew up is not the world our children are growing up in. Our kids have their own walk with Christ and their own view of the world. In a recent interview with a college freshman, she stated, “I love our older Generation Z group. They seem like they have a good head on their shoulders, and they are more inclined to want a relationship with God.” Her view of the younger Generation Z group (The ones still in school), isn’t as favorable. She sees a decline in the way they identify their morals and ethical obligations.
Will Generation Z Keep the Faith?
Current Generation Z research demonstrates that the next generation stands apart from that of their parents and grandparents. The post-truth world they inhabit no longer shares the same moral principles or societal values. This leads to a more relativistic worldview among teens and a growing religious apathy. Christianity today has less influence on Generation Z than on any previous generation. According to Anne Mares, with Christianity today, this generation is more discerning about their faith. Students are more likely to research their faith than just blindly walk into it! For Gen Z, Revival Is Not a Bandwagon…… | News & Reporting | Christianity Today.
Thorough research, shows engaged Christian parents are eager for their children to “develop a lasting faith. However, many lack clarity on how much home, school and church should influence this. Barna Group and Cardus, provide spiritual influences with credible statistics through research. They recently interviewed 650 church leaders about the factors influencing spiritual formation and development. Although they agree that spiritual formation begins in the home and continues in the church, the influence of schools is often disproportionate or unaccounted for. The study points to a disconnect among church, home and school relationships. There is also a need for new conversations and partnerships addressing spiritual formation in the current context.
Family and Church are Viewed as Most Influential for the Spiritual Influence of Children.
Church leaders agree a child’s spiritual formation and development begin at home. Parents ranked the Christian community third, and a similar proportion (68%) ranks schools fourth in the chain of responsibility. Church leaders agree that the government and society bear the least responsibility for children’s spiritual formation.
Schools are Viewed as a Negative Influence on Faith Formation.
The clergy believe that parents, churches and Christian communities are positive influences on a child’s spiritual formation and development. However, children are spending most of their daytime weekday hours at school, which is perceived by many church leaders as a negative influence on a child’s spiritual formation. In fact, schools are ranked alongside a child’s friends and peers as primarily negative influences—In some cases, the perceived negative influence of a child’s school or friend group outweighs a perceived positive influence by double.
Despite the fact that church leaders overwhelmingly agree that parents are most responsible for a child’s spiritual formation and development, the data demonstrate that churches place little emphasis on training and equipping said parents. In fact, only about one in five clergy says they prioritize training for parents, and even fewer provide parenting guides or other resources. This lack of training persists even though many parents appear to be actively seeking guidance from church leaders on school matters; for example, nearly half of non-mainline clergy say a parent has asked them for advice regarding schooling.
The Challenge for Christian Leaders
Challenges for Christian leaders include placing a greater emphasis on church-based training for parents and addressing the negative influence of schools. Despite these needs, many church leaders are reluctant to broach the topic of education. Less than half of interviewed pastors addressed the matter of school choice in the past year. Five Trends Defining Americans’ Relationship to Churches – Barna Group. Among both clergy who have addressed school choice, most did so outside the pulpit. As expected, pastors who believe Christian schools are important are much more likely to speak about this from the pulpit.
Church leaders point to a variety of reasons for not advising parents on school choice. This includes individual student needs, the cost of private schooling and diversity of opinions on schooling. This is represented in their pews and partnerships with public schools. In separate in-depth interviews, pastors described their partnerships with schools as intentional outreach to connect with parents and community.
What this Research Means?
“While it is great that some churches have partnered with or served at local public schools for the purposes of outreach, the decision of where a Christian parent should send their child to school should take into account the whole-person formation of the child,” Brooke Hempell, Barna’s senior vice president of research, says. “And if public schools are perceived to have a negative influence on the spiritual formation of a child, parents need guidance on how to navigate this decision.”
“In this and several other studies with Christian parents, our research has found that they crave guidance on how to educate and form their children, knowing that they are growing up in a world that is far more secular than their own childhood. Parents want to hear from their pastors on this issue,” Hempell continues. “Church leaders have opportunity to develop a unique community for faith formation by bringing parents, school administrators and faith leaders together in partnerships for faith development. Overall, this study illustrates a disconnect between these three groups. Alignment between relationships among church, parents and schools could be powerful in shaping faith formation in our modern, post-Christian age.”
How Casper Christian School Partners with the Home and Church
The home, church and school will be the greatest influences in a child’s journey to faith. When all three point a child in the same direction, towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the child is much more likely to walk in their faith for a lifetime.
The mission of Casper Christian School is to partner with the home and church to provide students with Christ centered academic excellence that equips them to serve Christ in the world. We believe that Christian education will play a significant role in helping Generation Z understand and walk out their faith journey beyond their educational years. Casper Christian School is impacting the next generation through Christian education in Casper, Wyoming. Learn more about enrollment as well as the opportunity to partner with us through your giving. Home – Casper Christian School