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Why? (part 1)

The information below was originally sent as an email to those interested in receiving ongoing updates on the formation of the Christian school at Emmanuel Community Church.

School Stakeholders:

Emmanuel Community Church is busy finalizing details for the launch of its Christian school this coming fall. The excitement, interest, and support for the school has been overwhelming and we are eager to begin sharing updates about what you can expect. You undoubtably have many questions, as you should. Educational choices should be considered carefully and be taken with all seriousness. So, over the next few weeks we will begin by attempting to provide clarity about the most important question we can answer as we start a school at Emmanuel Community Church: Why?

If you have been a part of Emmanuel for any amount of time, we hope you know well that our purpose is to make disciples. Our programming, ministries, and overall structure is focused on teaching His Word so that we can apply it well to Our Walk. Entering into the educational sphere allows the church to expand its efforts of discipleship into the most natural learning environment: school. A Christian education is a fundamentally different way to do education from top to bottom. Starting with Christian assumptions, goals, and aims throughout, the purpose of offering a school at ECC is to teach and disciple students’ hearts, minds, souls, and strengths, in their relationships, individual lives, personal beliefs, and public lives. We are adamant that a Christian education is more than just academics with Bible verses, rules and chapel attached. We rest on the assumption that every single person is made in the likeness and image of God, created by God for a purpose, called by God to live in the world he created, and specifically called to live for Christ. As T.S. Elliot said, “Christian Education is not just teaching Christian students how to behave, or how to be safe in a dangerous world. It is about training them to think and live as Christians for this cultural moment.”

It is not a small endeavor but consider this: From K to 12th grade students spend roughly 16,000 hours in school. During those same years, they spend roughly 624 hours in church (or 1,200 if they also attend youth group). However, that is only if they attend church every week. The fact is most don’t. According to Thom Rainer at Church Answers, before the pandemic twice-a-month church attendance was considered active, while today there is an increasing number of once-a-month attenders. So even if we are generous and use pre-pandemic numbers, most students only spend 312 hours in church as compared to the 16,000 hours they spend at school. That is only 2% in comparison, heavily tipping the scale of influence to the schools.

Where your student spends their time matters. Imagine if your student spent their 16,000 educational hours in an environment permeated with Biblical truth. Where the underlying assumption and emphasis was on the fact that they are made in the image of God and not pure happenstance. Where they are encouraged to find their identity in Christ instead of their sexual orientation and where truth is understood and found in the Scriptures and not in their emotions. While parents are called to be the primary disciplers in a student’s life, the influence of schools and churches cannot be underestimated.

Please take some time to ponder the implications of what is written above and watch for Why? (part 2) next week.

Grace and peace,

Brent Stringer

Executive Pastor and School Board Chair