After working all summer to better connect my church to home-schooling families, I was told that supporting a home-school co-op would be a conflict-of-interest because my church was already a constituent of school system. On the surface, it appeared that there was a conflict of interest. But when I dug a little deeper, I realized that there actually was no conflict-of-interest. Why? Because the church created a school system not to be the ONLY way to accomplishing its main goal of leading families to Christ, but to be one of the ways of helping it accomplish this main goal. This shared goal of leading families to Christ means that church AND home AND school can and should focus on experiencing mutual support, complementary overlaps, and no conflict-of-interest.
- Mutual support – Early in my church’s denominational history, the church started and supported traditional schools AND home-schools. If my church today sponsors a home-school co-op, it doesn’t change the fact that our support for our traditional system remains vibrant, like having a “second child” does not mean we don’t love and support our first. In return, the traditional school system can celebrate our efforts to reach out to family needs.
- Complementary overlaps – Both church and school minister to the same families and students, giving them similar opportunities. For example,
- Missions: The school takes church member’s kids on missions, and vice-versa.
- Bible study: The school shares the church’s work in Bible study.
- Weekend programs: The school takes students on events during Sabbath programs.
- Money: The church shares funds with the school.
- Education: Both church and school work to meet family educational needs by developing a shared goal. My church & school’s shared goal for example is “to provide a well-rounded, Seventh-day Adventist, Christian education that partners with the family to train and equip young people to develop a Christ-like character and to live a life of service now and for eternity.”
- No conflict of interest – There is no conflict-of-interest between the church-sponsored school system and other church-supported educational models that help families accomplish the goal of discipleship. In my denomination for example,
- The mission of Seventh-day Adventist Education is holistic in nature,[i] which includes supporting home-schools.
- Griggs—a home-school program—is already a part of the Seventh-day Adventist school system.[ii]
- Other Adventist constituent churches support home-schools while at the same time supporting a traditional school system.
- A home-school program can be a feeder/innovator for a traditional school. With home-school continuing to grow in our nation,[iii] it is clear that we need to do more to link the two together.
The task of the church and Christian education is not to make families fit into one mold, but to empower them through whatever means possible to become fully alive in Christ. Would you agree?