Considering where to send your child to school is an important milestone for parents. There are many options, such as private, public, charter, and homeschool, for you to consider. Understanding the differences and identifying what makes each option unique is important. As a parent, you will want to consider what is most important to your family. If spiritual development and faith formation are at the top of your list, you may want to consider a Christian education.
So, how is a Christian school experience different from that of an independent or public school? Recent research helps highlight one of the important benefits a private Christian school can offer your child: students who attend Christian schools are more likely to remain faithful as young adults.
A Christian school is not just a place where students can pray, sing worship songs, and read the Bible. A genuine Christian education seeks to integrate God’s Word into every facet of the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and events. Students will be encouraged to see and understand the world through the perspective of God’s truth, and the Bible becomes the lens through which students view what they are learning. Parents are an important part of the Christian school community and are seen as partners with the school in the student’s spiritual formation.
Recent findings from the Cardus Education Survey have presented compelling evidence that a Christian school education can shape its graduates in ways that go beyond family dynamics, socio-economic background, and church life. Indeed, the report Walking the Path: The Religious Lives of Young Adults in North America (David Sikkink, 2018) elucidates three major differences between those who graduate from Christian schools and those who do not.
Studies have shown that those who have graduated from a Christian school are much more likely to engage in religious practices such as praying, reading the Bible, attending church regularly, and tithing. This suggests that Christian education profoundly impacts the development of strong faith and moral values. Furthermore, this indicates that the teachings of Christian schools provide students with an understanding of spiritual richness, offering them guidance and inspiration for living a life of principled commitment and service. Thus, it is clear that Christian schools play an essential role in sustaining the religious beliefs of their graduates well beyond their time at school.
Well-informed students of Christian faith report a strong belief in traditional teachings, such as the notion that salvation can only be attained through Jesus Christ and the conviction that the Bible is infallible. These findings are the result of a notable rise in religious education at Christian schools, allowing students to gain an in-depth understanding of their faith. This deeper level of schooling has given students a greater appreciation for the core tenets, leading to a higher commitment to their beliefs.
Recent research has indicated that graduates of Christian schools are less likely to switch their religious affiliation or turn away from the religion they were raised in. This result has been attributed to the spiritual education imparted by these institutions and the positive reinforcement it provides. Moreover, the sense of community fostered by Christian schools is believed to be an important factor in helping individuals maintain strong ties to their faith. As such, these schools serve as a valuable resource for instilling values that contribute towards long-term religious identification and commitment.
Church and family life are important to a child’s development, and research shows that school also plays an important role in this development. A Christian education can provide a nurturing and faith-affirming foundation where students can grow and develop academically and spiritually.
When researching Christian school options, be sure to look for an academic environment that includes more than just an occasional prayer or Christmas decorations. Look for a place where Biblical truths are seamlessly integrated into classrooms, extracurricular activities, and athletics. That is the true difference between a secular and Christian school experience.