What Is An "Authentic" Christian School?
(American Association of Christian Schools)
The sign over the front entrance of the school is not necessarily proof of a Christian school inside. A Scripture verse displayed in the office or a Christian flag hanging in the comer of the auditorium does not guarantee that a school is Christian. Neat haircuts and appropriate clothing on the students and teachers are not guarantees of a true Christian school. The academic pursuits, the sports championships, and even a church affiliation do not confirm the authenticity of a Christian school. The old adage, "What you see is what you get!" is not always true.
It is impossible to identify an authentic Christian school solely from its appearance. Even though appearances are important, the true issue when determining whether a school is Christian in name only, or in name and practice, is the philosophy that governs the school. Every individual involved in the ministry of a Christian school affects its authenticity. Whether pastor, principal, teacher, parent, student, custodian, secretary, or cook, the genuine Christian school is substantiated in each personal commitment to support the Biblical principles on which the school was founded. In that regard, appearance is a result of a genuine desire to honor God before all people. Ultimately, a parent must determine if the claim "We are a Christian school" is a legitimate claim, or empty words.
Authentic Christian school is founded upon God's Word.
Its mission and purpose statement clearly define the reasons for its existence. The Bible is viewed as the inerrant Word of God, and its teachings and principles are regarded as guiding lights for every aspect of school life. Every policy of the school, every decision made by leadership, every course taught in the classrooms, every extracurricular activity is in accord with Scripture. Teachers and support staff are professing Christians, each faithfully attending a Bible-believing church. The Christian school is different by design. It unashamedly promotes the Bible and it’s teaching. The Christian school is Christ-centered as compared to the man-centered philosophy promoted by the secular public schools.
A critical element of any school, but especially the Christian school, is relationship. How those associated with the Christian school respond to those inside and outside the school reveal the school's commitment to Christian education.
An authentic Christian school orients the total school program to both the students and their parents.
The students are important to the faculty and staff because the school exists to serve students in an environment of spiritual inspiration and academic excellence. Students are treated with respect, and are expected to show respect. Parents are also valued by the school, their support is vital to a school's ability to provide a quality program.
An authentic Christian school obeys the Scriptural command about Bible study.
A believer is to "study to show himself approved unto God." Bible verses and Bible is taught at all grade levels. Bible verses and Bible stories are a part of the elementary Bible program. Bible doctrines and book studies are taught in junior and senior high grades. Chapel services challenge students about living a holy life and surrendering to the will of God. Speakers include a variety of Christian leaders in the church, school, and community.
An authentic Christian school is a learning institution that emphasizes academics.
Biblical truths are integrated into the academic content on all grade levels. This trains the students in a Christian world view in every subject that is studied. In fact, in a genuine Christian school, Biblical truths are the basis for all that is taught. For example, teachers will emphasize such things as the relevance of mathematics to the order of God's creation; the use of God's gift of language to communicate knowledge; the value of reading well to be able to comprehend and apply knowledge. High academic standards are imposed, and every student is given the assistance he needs to learn at his highest potential.
An authentic Christian school reveals itself in the sports program, social activities, and class trips sponsored by the school.
These activities are well-planned, closely supervised, and are held in accord with Scripture.
An authentic Christian school is distinct in the area of discipline.
Discipline policies are founded upon Scriptural principles motivated by love, administered consistently and fairly, and designed to benefit the students. Recognizing that discipline is an extension of discipleship, the genuine Christian school administers discipline for the purpose of training and guiding its students.
What is an authentic Christian school?
It is a place known for its integrity and pursuit of holiness in order to honor and please God. It is a vital, active place where students are trained to serve God by instruction and example. It is an academic institution that places a high premium on the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. It is a place that challenges students to do their best in their studies and in their walk with the Lord. The authentic Christian school provides boundaries, inspiration, and instruction for it’s student that are Biblically consistent and academically challenging. These are the things that are common to the authentic Christian school.