Christian Education It Takes a Team

Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders this month are turning their attention to a new school year, and they’re not alone.

Committees are meeting, and boards are busy caring for physical plants and the needs of faculty they supervise. Parents are strategizing how they can work out tuition costs. And teachers are getting ready for that first day of the new school year.

It’s a team effort of home, school, and Church. From youngest to oldest, everyone is—and should be—involved.

Our Lifeblood

The lifeblood of our Church is in its educational system. Other Sabbathkeeping denominations have appeared on the scene, only to fade out, partly because they did not have educational programs.

But our schools cannot substitute for home training. Parents set the pattern, and youngsters reflect their attitudes. Parents, do not expect our schools to be able to supply all the values and character training your children need. The school will build on the foundations you have set in the home. Remember, it takes a team.

Counsel from Ellen White is clear: “Establish church schools. Give your children the word of God as the foundation of all their education” (6 Testimonies, 195).

If we want our children to be able to cope with the stresses and conflicts of life in the 21st century, we are compelled to teach them that there is an Anchor—one educator called it a “North Star.”

We know the "North Star" is none other than Jesus (John l4: 6). Public education more and more teaches that absolute standards by which right and wrong can be established are to be discouraged—that everything is relative.

But true education develops standards and goals that harmonize with the teachings and values laid down in God’s holy word. “Our Adventist schools are the Lord’s instrumentality to fit the children and youth for missionary work" (White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, l49).

If you have doubts about Adventist education, or are debating its value, take note of the following by Ellen White: “Our institutions of learning may swing into worldly conformity. Step by step they may advance to the world; but they are prisoners of hope, and God will correct and enlighten them, and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the world” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 290).

“The education and training of their children to be Christians is the highest service that parents can render to God” (Christ’s Object Lessons, l95).

May God bless our team effort as we approach a new school year. •

August 01, 2002 / Editorial
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M.C. Torkelsen Sr., writes from Walla Walla, Wash., where he lives in retirement after a long career as pastor, teacher, principal, conference superintendent, and church administrator at local, union, and world church levels.