Pastor, How Should I Educate My Children? -- By: Kenneth S. Coley

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:3 (Summer 2007)
Article: Pastor, How Should I Educate My Children?
Author: Kenneth S. Coley

Pastor, How Should I Educate My Children?

Kenneth S. Coley

Professor of Christian Education Director of Ed.D. Studies Program Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Faculty lecture delivered in Binkley Chapel Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, North Carolina, November 15, 2006

I believe the Lord has led me to seize this opportunity to equip future pastors and church leaders to be able to answer a question they will undoubtedly be confronted with throughout their ministries, “Pastor, how should I educate my children?” Will they respond with advice from their pasts? Will they avoid conflict by the pastor’s simply pointing them to the school down the street? It is my hope that they will direct each and every one to God’s Word and remind parents that this discussion is quite possibly the most significant choice they will make for their children.

Though my responses may take on the tone of an apologetic dialogue, I want strongly to urge you not to be argumentative or condescending in any way. Likewise I implore you not to make use of demagoguery, that is leadership that preys on followers’ fears and prejudices which employs statements such as, “All Christian parents must remove their children from public school,” or, “No one can claim to be a Christian parent and allow his child to attend a government school.” This statement has been made by numerous evangelical leaders of late and the response has not been very positive. This topic is complex and emotionally charged. I have found it best to avoid clever, overly simplistic sound bites.

My parents had at least two choices before them—a county school system which provided bus transportation or a city school system with a better reputation which would mean an annual transfer fee and hundreds of trips to and from a school outside our geographic district. They chose the latter and in so doing selected the more difficult path. Woven into this educational plan were the educational opportunities of our Southern Baptist churches—Sunday school, training union, choirs, and youth activities. Once again they chose to make a serious commitment and sacrifice. As was the case with many of you, attending one church two or three times per week throughout my childhood and young adulthood was a foundational part of my training. I want to ask you about yours in just a moment.

The first objective of this morning’s lecture is to establish what we as Christian parents are trying to accomplish as we train our children. I want to invite you to examine a few of the many passages to which the Holy Spirit has taken

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