On The Price of Christian Education

I once served (2008-2011) a Christian School which has a slogan that says,
“Education that cares for a child’s soul.”

But majority of the church members can’t afford to send even one of their kids to its church-school ministry.

My main question is,
“Is Christian Education only for those who can afford it?”

Alternative questions:

  1. Is there a premise to analyze in this line of questioning? (i.e., Trust issue, Socio-economic situation)
  2. Is it just a matter of the questioner’s faith and priorities?
  3. Is there a better question to ask in this situation?

Hi @dennis , I’m so glad you asked this question as it’s one close to my heart.

I feel like there’s both a yes and no answer to your question.

I taught in a Christian school for 5 years, and I’m now leading a Christian home school group with a vision to set up a school for teenagers. How I would love to provide it all for free! I don’t know how Christian schools run elsewhere in the world, but here in the uk, anyone who teaches in them does so for the love of the job, not for a great income. It’s usually a great financial sacrifice both for parents to send their children and for staff to work in them.

Education that cares for the child’s soul’ shouldn’t have a monetary value, should it? However there are the practical costs to running something like this. If a school tries not to spend out on resources, they’ll have a Christian character, but a poor quality education. Christian education shouldn’t be synonymous with poor quality education but it is seen as such sometimes. That’s why many schools want to provide an excellent education that equips for the outside world as well as a biblical one. It’s a great moral tension for many Christian educators. Here, there are ways to get government funding for free schools that hold a type of Christian education, but the compromises to curriculum content as dictated by the state seem an even greater cost to many parents and teachers than the monetary one. I guess we’re not measuring the cost only in money here. For many parents who either choose to send their kids to a Christian school or to home educate, it’s out of a response to scripture like Deuteronomy 6:7

7 And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

How can this be achieved outside of a Christian school? For many, the only way to do this is to make the whole education Bible based, rather than having to undo all the secular based education that kids might receive in secular school. For many, this is worth any cost, financial or otherwise.

Many of the uk’s Christian schools are in cities with broad social backgrounds. I taught many children who come from more deprived backgrounds that the school was able to provide for through bursaries. This can’t be done for everyone, and then that raises the issue of the families who scrimp and save, who can barely afford it, and go without in other areas just to send their children. It doesn’t seem fair.

Is this question referring to whether parents should have more faith in sending their children to these schools, that God will provide for their financial needs? Sometimes this might be so, but not always. Many parents do send their kids in faith that God will provide what they need. What about the family whose parents don’t have much faith for it. Should the child go without because of this? Another difficult question to consider. With our project, we can barely afford to send our own kids, yet we believe so strongly that this is the education we want for them that we’re having to step out in faith for it. Some days we have more faith than others! My experience is also of many families who would love to send their kids to one of these schools, and just can’t for whatever reason. It’s really painful for them as it’s not an issue of how much faith they have at all!

Perhaps churches need to prioritise this more in their charitable work? If churches globally valued Christian education more, they might be able to raise money for families to attend such schools. Sadly, my experience is that many churches just don’t understand or value Christian education. I’ve often heard the comment that our children should be ‘salt and light’ in the local secular schools, going out to fulfil the great commission to those around them. Israel Wayne wrote a good apologetic for Christian education in his book, ‘Education: does God have an opinion?’ In response to this issue, he writes,

Not only do Proverbs 13:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:33 emphatically tell us that this does not work, they tell us the inverse is true….If it were a good theory, we would expect to see government schools and society becoming increasingly Christian, since 80-90 percent of all Christian parents send their children to these schools. But that is not what we see at all. What we see, in every study imaginable, is our culture becoming increasingly hostile to the things of the Lord, and we can trace this, in great measure, directly to the influence of the government or school system

Perhaps churches generally haven’t thought too much about this? Maybe, if they had, they’d be far more concerned to contribute to Christian education as a whole, thereby releasing many more parents to afford Bible based education.

Should churches be taking far more responsibility for providing money and Christian education for families all over the world than they currently do? Should it be the individual family’s responsibility to sacrifice everything to send their children to these schools or should it be a collective responsibility of the body of Christ?


Hi Dennis, I really think that Alison really covered many of the issues relating to this. I’m definitely not as qualified to answer this as her but I could give some of my perspective here in Singapore.

I attended a Catholic school here for 10 years whils growing up in a Christian family. In Singapore, education is generally subsidized a lot by the government and this doesn’t exclude most Christian/ Catholic schools as public insitutions. Therefore whether one is sent to a religious or non religious school doesn’t usually make a difference, however, as with most countries, being a foreigner does cost a bit more.

Honestly speaking, as Singapore considers itself a multi racial and religious country, religious harmony and respect is heavily emphasized on. Therefore, even if the Christian school does provide service and Christian influence, it cannot be done strongly and cannot effect children’s own personal religion or beliefs. On top of this, many Catholics in my school who attended mass did not seem to hold on to the beliefs and character of someone who would claim to be Catholic and are doing it out of family tradition. There was a severe lack of proper religious education within the community and the bible or mass would often be made fun of my the students.

Perhaps I would also ask what exactly defines Christian education and what is the difference between the current secular form of education many public schools around the world provide? (Values, spiritual beliefs, character etc.)
Must one go to seminary to have ‘Christian education’? How would this impact the growing post-modernistic world if one were to emphasize on a public form of Christian education?


Thank you for your thoughtful response, @alison .
I remember having read your testimony some years back. I was actually amazed at your homeschooling efforts for all your kids (were there five of them?), plus the ministry. I envy your energy to be able to do such a feat. Amazing!

I understand that there really are practical costs for education. Maybe it’s just that most churches (perhaps, at least from my country,) do not really take Christian education as a ministry but, either as a burden or a business.

I hope that my line of questioning, or my way of phrasing/wording the question did not offend anyone :pray: . I just intended to raise a topic that is somewhat near to my heart.


Hi @kiko :wave:

Thank you for sharing your education experience from Singapore, (it’s my dream country to work in, BTW :relaxed:.)

Regarding your question,

Its major difference from the secular education system is its Bible-based curriculum. But, as @alison has already noted, with government compliance comes some compromises. From my country, it means making that compromise in order for the educational institution to be licensed, and its graduates government accredited/recognized; or, remain independent and be publicly tagged as colorum.
A familiar acronym for this is the ACE, Accelerated Christian Education. Not all “Christian” schools uses this curriculum. It’s mainly recognized among the born-again, evangelicals, and baptist denominations (I think :thinking:).

By being Bible-based, the ACE system do not necessarily mean being a seminary school student. In the ACE, evolution can be discussed as a theory, but not as a doctrine, as most secular schools do.
Another distinction of the ACE is its character-focused, or Christ-centered teaching. Meaning, students are not taught the classic good manners & right conduct (GMRC), but rather it is Christ-likeness.
Lastly is its individualized, self-phased, and mastery approach in learning.

The phrase,

will actually sound oxymoron in a strictly Christian sense. The public, the masses, are not likely to submit to Christ who calls His followers to Uncommon Pursuits.


Haha hi Dennis! Do come here if possible, would love to have you in Singapore! :raised_hands:

Thank you for explaining it to me, it’s so different! The Christian school I had in mind was one with the public syllubus.

This is really interesting, I think we do have schools with the ACE but they are really very rare and I haven’t heard anyone over here mention it. Based on your explanation I can really see why such a system would not be welcomed by the public, in fact the secular world might even consider it backwards😅
I wonder if this is why schools with this system are not commonly seen in Singapore, I really doubt it would be widely accepted here as a more common option.


In response to @kiko’s question and @dennis’ good definition:

This is a good example of a Christian curriculum. I know a few people who have used it either in homeschools or Christian schools. I personally have not experienced this curriculum but having looked into it, I decided it wasn’t the style of learning I wanted to use for my children.

Another example is of the Christian school I used to teach in which used the National Curriculum (the UK state driven curriculum, compulsory in mainstream schools) which was used as basis for learning progression. However, as a Christian school, all the learning was to have a ‘heart concept’: the scriptural basis on which all the learning flowed from. This might be a biblical teaching or Bible verse that was taught on throughout a lesson, a topic or a term. This is how mainstream education can be ‘Christianised’, and how the school was able to truly put Christ at the centre. It’s a way of achieving the state’s educational standards whilst also bringing Christ into everything.

In reverse to this concept, we follow the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason, who was a British Christian educator in the 19th century who explained that all education should be about 3 things: the child’s relationship with God, the child’s relationships with humankind, and the child’s relationship with all creation. Instead of taking a mainstream secular curriculum and sticking Christ in it, this is more along the lines of taking Christ and seeing everything flow out from an understanding of Him.

As we know, most teachers are a strong influence one way or another in a child’s life.
I think that for teachers to step away from mainstream education is a cost in earnings and career progression, so through paying for Christian education, whatever kind of curriculum is being used, parents are paying for people who will stand up in submission to God’s word, humility, love and wisdom, modelling
for their child the way that the Bible teaches them to go.

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