- Posted on August 16, 2016
By Gary Herring, FPDS Head of School
As the title of this blog indicates, First Presbyterian Day School is different from other educational choices. Just exactly what distinguishes a Christian school education?
Being a Christian educator for 29 years, I have gained much knowledge on what a Christian education is and what it is not.
First and foremost, a Christian education must introduce students to Jesus Christ as the Master Teacher and role model for all students. This concept begins at home before a child enters kindergarten and is then reinforced upon his entering five-year-old kindergarten in a Christian school. Parents and teachers alike must model what it means to “follow Jesus.” Home and school must work together, along with a family’s local church, to “show” Christlikeness to the child.
A child’s Christian education does not end in kindergarten but continues throughout the educational career of the student. Its goal is to prepare the child/young person to leave the home at age 18 firmly grounded in the Christian walk that will not be shaken by college professors, college peers, philosophy classes, fraternities or sororities.
Secondly, the Bible commands that we all do “all things” with excellence and in an orderly manner as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24) In this regard, academic excellence is required to be the “best of the best.” Christ is not honored if we uphold a strong Biblical world and life view without an equally strong academic preparation of the student. The scales must be balanced at the highest level. And why? Because the Christian must go into the world and be a leader and influencer for the Kingdom. Whether he or she is a homemaker, politician, lawyer, nurse, doctor, teacher, or skilled/unskilled laborer, the Christian must be willing to be a “changer.” A “changer” is one who lives counter-culturally to influence one’s world for Christ. As Os Hillman has stated in his book, “The easiest way to discredit Christ in the workplace is for a Christian to do inferior work. Go the extra mile when necessary. Make the effort to serve those around you. Do your work with excellence.”
Thirdly, the Christian school must be filled and overflowing with teachers who love Christ and minister in His name to their students. Their motivation must be to recognize for whom they are actually working. They are to live their lives “on mission” for Him…“going therefore into the world to make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19) Christian teachers are to leave a lasting influence on their students who sit in their classrooms each and every day.
We have all had that special teacher to whom we can credit the positive influence he or she had upon our life and possibly even our career. I certainly look back at my mentors who were teachers. Needless to say, teachers who influence are teachers who CARE…teachers who pass their faith to the next generation so that they in turn pass their faith to the next generation. (Psalm 78:4-5)
First Presbyterian Day School seeks to meet all of these requirements and to do them well. In order to succeed, we must use the very best curriculum, visit schools throughout the country to learn, and cultivate “digital citizens” using the latest technology. Additionally, we much teach students to be scholars and to think for the sole purpose of becoming counter-cultured Christians who are prepared for secondary school and a lifetime of service in their future homes, professions and churches.
To answer the question posed in the first paragraph of this article, a Christian education must include a Christian world view with Biblical teaching, excellence in academics, and a faculty of Christian administrators and teachers who teach and live what they believe. We at FPDS believe that we meet those criteria.