Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Why Send Your Child to a Christian School?

And why send them to Midwestern Christian Academy?

A Distinctive Christian Identity and Approach to Education
A Christian school is the only educational institution in our society that bases its philosophy of education on truth revealed by God in the Bible.  Parents are given the responsibility for their children's education by their Creator, and part of that responsibility includes their spiritual formation "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," as the Bible teaches.  Christian schools are based on a philosophical foundation that acknowledges God's existence, his role as creator and sustainer of the universe, and the belief that Jesus his Son was sent to be the world's savior.  The curriculum objectives and instructional methods of a Christian school are built on those foundational principles.

What we believe about God affects what we know about everything else.  Leaving belief in God out of the educational process means depending solely on human knowledge and wisdom.  The Apostle Paul warns us about being taken captive by philosophy and empty deceit which doesn't acknowledge the existence of God or the truth that he has revealed to us.  When growing up and learning, next to their parents, children's teachers are the most influential authorities in their lives, because they spend so much time each day in the classroom and at school.  In a Christian school, your child's teachers will also be Christians who share your faith in Christ, and who incorporate those principles into their classroom instruction.

A Christian Atmosphere 
Students in Midwestern Christian Academy are involved in a study of the Bible every day, as a part of their regular class schedule.  Students are able to learn a lot about their faith when they study the scripture every day.  We also worship together as a community in a weekly chapel service, and our school day begins with prayer, as do our classes and our lunch time.  Our teachers are all highly qualified academically, and they are also chosen to work here because they have a clear testimony of faith, and understand the process of discipleship in order to provide a nurturing environment for their students.  Our behavior standards, discipline procedures, instruction and classroom management all reflect the principles of the Bible in their application.

Academic Excellence and Social Training
A Christian school not only includes the principles of the Christian faith in its curriculum, but it emphasizes academic achievement and excellence.  While we may have some limited resources, we have a level of independence and autonomy which allows us to develop our own curriculum, and set the bar at a higher level of expectation for our students to achieve.  With smaller class sizes, and fewer distractions, and a high level of involvement and support from parents, Christian schools are able to demonstrate a level of academic achievement well above average.

We also train the whole child.  We bring students together for an all-day experience with their teachers, who are mature, born-again Christians.  We believe that being a follower of Jesus is a lifestyle, and the experience of a school day is also lifestyle training, in addition to learning math and language arts.  We set expectations for orderly behavior, social skill development, respect for authority and respect for each other.  We recognize effort and achievement.  We teach the importance of believers "setting an example" for others in the faith, and as a testimony to those who aren't.  We look for the root causes of behavior, and aim at spiritual transformation as a means of correcting it.

Shared Sacrifice, and a Reasonable Cost
Court rulings over the past couple of generations have required the public educational system, as a government-owned and funded group of schools, to take a position of "religious neutrality".  That means that education does not include objectives based on Biblical truth revealed by God, or belief in his existence or nature.   But it also means that parents who seek an alternative educational experience for their children in a Christian school environment, must bear that expense in addition to their share of tax dollars given to public schools.

Being good stewards of our resources, our teachers and staff make sacrifices in income and benefits to keep tuition and fees reasonable for parents.  MCA has a debt-free facility that has been recently remodeled and upgraded this past summer.  Compared to other church-operated schools in our community, tuition and costs of attending MCA are lower than the Catholic and Lutheran schools in our area.  And the cost for pre-kindergarten students receiving an early education is less than most parents pay for day care without the educational training.

We ask our parents to help keep tuition costs low by participating in various fundraising activities on behalf of the school.  All funds are budgeted and managed by a finance administrator and the school board, and all tuition, fees and fundraising dollars go to support the educational program of Midwestern Christian Academy.  If, in the rare event there are surplus funds left over from a previous year, the money is applied to the coming year's expenses.  Neither the school nor the church makes a profit from the money required to operate the school. Midwestern Christian Academy is able to provide a full year's education to a student for an average of less than $6,000, quite a contrast to the state average expenditure per pupil of over $12,000.

Christian Education is Christian Discipleship
Personally, I always look forward to the day when Christ's church in this country will catch the vision for what Christian schools are doing for their ministry, and will jump in with their resources to share the expenses and provide the opportunity to attend a Christ-centered educational institution to every family in their congregation.  Until then, though, it is still a fact that a Christian school is a discipleship arm of the church, and we are undergirding and supporting its ministries by training its younger generation in the faith.

We have children on our campus, involved in various learning experiences, for seven hours a day, five days a week.  That provides multiple opportunities to integrate the truths of scripture into all that they learn, and to expose them to examples of Christian faith in action all day, every day.  The school is one of the most powerful influences in our society, and one of the most dominant influences in the lives of students.  The public education system in the United States has, over the past 100 years of its development, built its foundation on a secular, humanist philosophy and as a result, each succeeding generation of American students exposed to it have been turning away from the gospel and the church in increasing numbers.  We should not be surprised by this, since the Bible is full of examples of what happens when the principles and precepts of God's word are neglected, and not taught to the next generation. 

"When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you, then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt.  And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes.  And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.  And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive as we are this day.  And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.  Deutoronomy 6:20-25, ESV

From a New Testament perspective, we are training kids in "Kingdom Citizenship."

Midwestern Christian Academy is still serving, after 65 years.  It is one of the few remaining Evangelical Christian schools in the city of Chicago, where the need is great.  We follow the servant model set by Jesus as we serve the parents of our students, helping them follow the Lord's commandment to educate children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," and "so that they do not forget all that God has done for them."  We believe what we have to offer to you is worth the sacrifices that are made to provide it.