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Educational Choices as Mission Fields?

Educational Choices as Mission Fields?

Your children are not the salt and light in the public school system, you are

Elizabeth Leach

Podcast Host

Mom Guilt Podcast

Published On:

February 20, 2024

One sunny summer's day in Michigan, I walked side by side with a dear friend during a play date. She is the type of friend you can talk about anything with as she is bold enough to ask the hard questions yet humble enough to listen. God had called her and her family to homeschool and this had become the main topic of our discussion that day. She and I shared many things in common; such as our love for the gospel and how to intentionally disciple that love in our children, but homeschooling was not something we had in common. God had called my husband and I to enroll our children in public school. As we watched our children pedal their bikes down the quiet road, she gently asked me; “okay so what is your hope/goal as a believer with sending your children to public school?”

Almost immediately I said; “that they would be a light and share the good news of Jesus to those around them.” It felt as though this was the only right thing to say as a believer; that I could never just say; “because I want them to get a well-rounded education that I personally can’t and don’t feel called to provide to them.” Just as quickly as I answered she responded; “so you are sending your children out as missionaries?” I could see the point she was making and to be honest it was a good one. I left that play date with my head spinning. It certainly is not wrong as a Christian parent to hope and pray that your children in the public school system would share the gospel with others at their school, but this conversation forced me to look at my own time in public school.

I did not become a believer until I was an adult and I did not grow up in a believing household. My parents were as loving and kind as any other parents, but I never once heard them pray, read scripture, or ever mention Jesus as their savior. Growing up I had many friends who were professing Christians, but to be honest they were never the ones to share the gospel with me or disciple me. Believe it or not, it was their parents. I can remember going to one of my best friend's house in elementary school, as I walked into the dining room I saw a bible open on the table with words highlighted. This intrigued me, I had never read or really seen a bible in person before that day. This family would continue to invite me into their home. It was at that same dining room table where I witnessed a family pray together for the first time and talk about God during dinner. I remember thinking that I wanted my own family like that someday.

As I became better friends with their daughter I would come over for more play dates, dinners, and eventually sleepovers. My friend and I would strategically plan how we were going to ask her parents to let me stay the night and after we put on the charm, they would say yes, “but only if she comes to church with us in the morning.”

As a young child who could not drive and make my own decisions, this was the only time I would go to church and I loved it.

This was not the only Christian family during my childhood to invite me into their homes and lives. I later became best friends with the local Pastor's daughter. Again she never preached the gospel to me, but it was through her parents and home life that I saw the gospel at work. It was a massive seed planted early in my life and God used it to spark a desire for Him that He would later grow into fruition.

You see it was not other peers or friends who were the salt and light to me in public school, but it was their families. Although I was not a believer or by any means a perfect child, they invited me into their homes and showed me what it means to love the Lord. So my new answer to that question is; that my hope and goal as a believer in sending their children to public school is not that my child would solely be called to preach the gospel in their schools, but that we as a family would preach the gospel by inviting others into our homes and displaying the gospel at work in our lives.

The truth is we are all commanded to be missionaries.

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus says we are to make disciples of ALL nations; that includes foreign and domestic. And what do missionary families do when God calls them to another country; they do not simply leave their children behind because of potential danger, but they bring them along with them. So whether God has called your family to homeschool or participate in the public/private school system, you are still called to go out and make disciples. Starting with your own children. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

We certainly cannot shirk God's calling as parents to disciple our children. We cannot merely send them to Christian school or weekly church programs and expect them to disciple our children for us. No, we are called to teach and train our children in what scripture says and what it means to walk with the Lord. So, parents, no matter what education you choose for your child do not neglect to disciple them and to be missionaries to those around you. Invite your child’s friends and families into your lives. If those words sound daunting to you, do not fret. Simply start with the way you see your dining room table. See it as more than just a place to eat, but an invitation. It is an invitation and opportunity to disciple your children and invite unbelievers to witness God's redemptive work in your own life.

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