American Megachurches: Private Schools

Another area where some shifting of emphasis within megachurches can be seen is around the effort to train other religious leaders. In 2000 42% of churches surveyed said they operated a Christian elementary or secondary school, whereas in 2008 only 25% were. Likewise 30% were maintaining a Bible school or institute in 2000 but in 2008 only 20% said they were.

This is a big surprise. I mean, it’s not as though public education has gotten better in the last 8 years!

I think the change is due to the increasing focus on vision and mission. Rather than seeing the church as a sanctuary away from an evil world, leaders increasingly see the church as going into an evil world to bring Jesus. Therefore, private schools, of the traditional type, are actually anti-missional. 

In order for parents to meet and interact with the unchurched, they need to participate in community schools and athletics, not withdraw into church schools and church league athletics. Rather than creating an alternative society, the church should change society by being a part of it and being salt and light to it.

If I’m right, this marks a dramatic change in Christian thought — and good one — but a very hard one.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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