While we likely all agree that parents share the primary responsibility for the faith nurture of their children, the Christian school and the church can play major supporting roles. Sometimes it has problematically felt like the Christian school and the church have been competing for the time and attention of the children and young adults they are attempting to serve. It is critical that these two organizations share a common, rather than competitive role.
The common ground that both share is faith nurture of young children and adults, each in different contexts. Whenever churches and Christian schools communicate, collaborate, and even co-plan, the kingdom can be advanced. The focus needs to be on the needs of the young person, not the organization.
Consequently, there are at least four areas of focus for Christian schools and churches as they consider how to best serve a young person’s faith development:
▪ Differentiating – How can we attend to spiritual needs of youth at each stage of their development?
▪ Describing – How has God gifted individual students? How can we help them identify their gifts? How can we encourage them to develop their gifts? What fruits do we see emerging? How can we help young people understand their spiritual pathways?
▪ Discerning – How can we help students with worldview development, cultural “maladjustment,” lifestyle choices, and seeing good and evil in social/institutional structures?
▪ Developing – How can we help connect head, heart, and hands? How can we help disciple young people move beyond personal salvation to Lordship issues? How can we help them articulate their growing faith? How can we help with cross-cultural and cross faith connections?
What are some partnering strategies that you have observed that have proven effective for churches and Christian schools?