dictionary

Modern definition of “Education” from Webster’s Dictionary:

“Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge and of developing the powers of reasoning and judgment. The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.”

Original definition of “Education” from Webster’s Dictionary:

“Education is the bringing up, as a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline, which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”

Which definition do you like best? The original is unequivocally accurate.  It reminds me of this famous quote:

“I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place their child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the word of God must become corrupt.” Martin Luther, A.D. 1537

 

Lets look at the foundation of some top education establishments in America:

HARVARD UNIVERSITY

In 1636, Clergyman John Harvard contributed his personal library and property for the founding of the first college in America, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Within 16 years of the landing of the Pilgrims, America had a college “to train a literate clergy.” Rules and precepts for the school’s charter were formulated on September 26, 1642. They stated in part (original spelling retained):

“Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, John 17.-3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of Him.”

 

THE OLD DELUDER SATAN LAW:

Shortly after Harvard was established, the colonists of Massachusetts and Connecticut wanted the children of their respective colonies to be educated in order not to remain ignorant of Christian self-government, nor to lack the ability to govern themselves according to God’s Word. The leaders of Massachusetts and Connecticut passed the “Old Deluder Satan Law” in 1647. This law stated:

“It being one chiefe project of that old deluder, Satan, to keepe men from the knowledge of the scriptures, as informer time …. It is therefore ordered …. [that] after the Lord hath increased [the settlement] to the number of fifty howshoulders, [they] shall forthwith appoint one within theire towne, to teach all such children as shall resorte to him, to write and read … and it is further ordered, That where any towne shall increase to the number of one hundred families or howshoulders, they shall sett up a grammar schoole for the university”

 

 WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE

William and Mary was founded in 1693 in Williamsburg, Virginia, through the vision of Reverend James Blair. The seminary-college became the home of education for many of the Founding Fathers of America. Men such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, George Wythe, John Tyler, John Marshall, and sixteen members of the Continental Congress studied there. The school’s charter, drawn up in 1693, stated the goals and purposes of the college:

“William and Mary, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King and Queen, Defenders of the faith, to all whom these our present Letters shall come, greeting.

‘Forasmuch as our well-beloved and trusty subjects, constituting the General Assembly of our Colony of Virginia, have had it in their minds, and have proposed to themselves, to the end that the Church of Virginia may be .furnished with a Seminary of ministers of the Gospel, and that the youth may be piously educated in Good Letters and Manners, and that the Christian Faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians, to the glory of God'”

 

YALE UNIVERSITY

In 1701 a Collegiate School at Saybrook, Connecticut, was started by ten Congregational ministers. The school was later moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and renamed Yale in honor of Mr. Elihu Yale, an American-born English merchant and governor of the East India Company. Mr. Yale donated books and materials from his fortune, totaling $2,800-a considerable sum for those days. He was instrumental in shaping the college bylaws, which stated the chief aim of education:

“Every student shall consider the main end of his study, to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life.”

 

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY:

Princeton was originally called “The College of New Jersey” and was located in Princeton, New Jersey. Over the years the name was simplified to Princeton. Like all of America’s early colleges, the school was established to train young men in “God’s Holy Word and to become a useful ordainment to society.” The sentiment of America’s educators is seen in this quote by Princeton’s first president, Rev. Jonathan Dickinson.

“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross Of Christ.”

 

While President of the United States (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson chaired the school board for the District of Columbia, where he wrote the first plan of education adopted by the city of Washington. That plan used the Bible and Isaac Watts’ hymnal as the principal books for teaching reading. His sentiments were as follows:

“The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind”

 

New York’s first public school principal, who served from 1810-184,8 David Perkins Page:

“The faithful teacher enjoys the approval of Heaven. He is employed, if he has the right spirit, in a Heavenly Father’s business that man should be made wiser and happier. To this end, the Son of God, the Great Teacher, came to bless our race; so far as the schoolmaster has the spirit of Jesus, he is engaged in the same great work.

He can teach a reverence for a Supreme Being, a reverence for the Word of God, for the influence of His Spirit, for the character and teachings of our Savior. For the momentous concerns of eternity, he can teach the duty of repentance, and the privileges of forgiveness, and the salvation by His Son. “

 

These are the heritage and foundations of education in America. Sadly, and at great cost to our current and future society, it is no longer the foundations of our public education. However, it is the foundation and heritage of most Christian schools. Is it at your local Christian School?

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The word Thanksgiving originated in the Bible, where it is used 32 times, and the word Thank or Thanks is there at least another 100 times.
Give_thanks_blocksWe actually expect, require, think, or say thanks in any given day over 40 times consciously or subconsciously. The word is so important to daily life, the lack of it is responsible for an estimated 60% of relationship conflicts and even divorces.
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During a person’s troubled times, finding things to be thankful for is the #1 “prescription” or advice given by counselors and good friends. It was during our country’s most troubled times in 1863 that our President gave this advice and counsel, and was so adamant that we as a nation pause and be thankful that he signed into law that we set aside a day to be thankful each year.
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Sarah J. Hale wrote a letter to President Lincoln during the American Civil War suggesting that being thankful could unify our nation.  In finding things to be thankful for, in the midst of the sins and ravages of war, he said:

“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

The generosity and mercy of God are what brought the Native Americans and the Colonists together in the 1600’s for Thanksgiving. Massasoit and Sqanto, two Christian Native Americans were instrumental in coming together with the Colonists to give thanks to the Almighty Creator. The meal was just a means to get together to give thanks, not the focus. Can we remember this Thanksgiving, it’s not about the meal, or shopping, but about counting our blessings and thanking the God who mercifully and generously gives, even among and through the hardships and sin-ravaged world we live in.

As in the mid 1800’s, our country again is polarizing and turning against one other.  Maybe this Thanksgiving can again be a time to unify a nation…it can be…when we count our blessings, and give thanks.

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Every aimless fundraising effort will miss the target nearly every time.  Miss the target

So identify different groups of donors and target those groups with information and needs of the school specifically tailored to them. Here are some groups to target your fundraising efforts:

 

  • Area Churches
    1. Probably our biggest sources of donation help, but typically donate the least. Why is that?
    2. Draft a letter or brochure with information centered on why the church should financially support your Christian School. Don’t refrain from preaching to the choir when you outline the biblical reasons for supporting Christian education. The church may want to know that you know the biblical reasons your Christian school exists. They will need to know your school’s financial needs whether that means scholarships for students of parents that have trouble paying the tuition, or materials they would support for educating biblically; don’t be afraid to highlight specific areas of need and the amounts you suggest they donate.
    3. Ask to place a notice in the church bulletin concerning your school such as a specific upcoming event or fundraiser, or possibly a list of needs.
    4. Ask if the School administrator or board President or Chairperson be allowed to speak to their church concerning your school. This may be a presentation to the whole congregation, or to speak to the church board or even the church budget committee to ask for allocation of support funds for your school; the topics depend on the audience.
    5. Invite Pastors and Church Elders to visit your school for a personal tour, or invite them to an Open House.
  • Area Businesses
    1. Many area businesses would love to donate to a Christian school. They just do not know of a need. Many assume Christian schools are fully funded by tuition, or fully supported by churches. Many schools are funded that way, but most are not, so let them know how your school is funded, and the need for donations. Identify specific needs tailored to specific businesses, possibly products or capital improvements your school needs that those businesses provide.
    2. Donations should be a write off for businesses and/or a tax deduction, so be sure to let them know that, and that you would be sending them a receipt for that purpose if they would provide the amount. Many donations are not necessarily monetary. Many can donate unsold items, and write off the full cost of these items, and possibly receive more from a tax credit than discounting them for quick sale.
    3. Many businesses are owned by Christians, or have Christians working for them, and may just need to be informed that they can donate to God’s work at a Christian school. Like any other ministry, they just need a little information, then help and direction. Many businesses have an annual budget for donations and community support, and you should schedule a meeting with the business owner or manager to discuss your needs and ask for their support.
    4. You may want to tailor one type of brochure or letter to the businesses that have Christian ownership or employees that focuses more on spiritual matters of the school, and a slightly different letter or brochure to other businesses that focuses on academic achievements and the character of your students and graduates in society.
    5. Be mindful that the business world is scratch my back, I will scratch yours, so think of doing something for them in return. Maybe a donor sign or board at your school on which their name is listed. Maybe place a plaque in their office or store saying they are a supporter of your Christian School. Maybe take out an ad in your local newspaper to thank those that have given to your school. These suggestions need to be discussed and approved (or not), and to what level, because many Christian schools may choose to refrain from the commercialization of their school, which may include disallowing advertisements. Your decision should be consistent, and be made known.
    6. Many businesses could hire alumni from your school in the future. Tell them that supporting your school would be supporting the values and morals they admire in employees, and they could possibly hire students from your school in the future.
  • Specific people.
    1. Select specific people to send a personalized letter or brochure. After you describe your school and its benefits, describe some needs and ask to meet with that person to discuss those needs and how they can be involved. Known Christian individuals, or unknown.
    2. Alumni of your school.
    3. Relatives or friends of alumni, parents, staff, or students.
    4. Well-known figures or philanthropists in your area.
    5. Church acquaintances.
    6. People local churches could suggest to you.Suggestions for involvement in your school
      1. People can be prayer warriors for your school.
      2. Donation or other financial support. (Be sure to get them a receipt.)
      3. Attempt to gain support from people they know.
      4. Write a recommendation for your school for use in advertisements, promotional materials, etc.
      5. Help the school in any way they can through volunteerism, or other ways.
  • Letter to parents and friends of your school
    1. I know most schools ask a lot from their parents, but you still need to present them with the needs of the school. This can be a letter at certain times of the year, or a paragraph in your schools weekly communication or web site such as a Need of the Week. Be sure to ask them to pray that you run your school as God wants you to as wise stewards, and the needs of your school be met. Then give them some ideas of other ways to help, which can be specific needs, underfunded areas, or future cut backs that they may want to help prevent from being cut. Consider sharing with them your budget and actual income to date. Many churches do this, but you will have to decide if it is appropriate.
      Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive, so without sounding desperate in your letter, you can also:

      1. Ask them to contact anyone they know in a position to help out your school.
      2. Ask them to have parents or grandparents list your school as a beneficiary to some extent.
      3. Ask them to consider adding your school to the ministries they support.
      4. Again, if you don’t ask, you probably won’t receive, so ask.
  • Estate, trust fund, will, and insurance donations.
    1. Many folks do not know they can designate at least a portion of their estate, trust fund, or life insurance to your Christian school.
    2. Meet with an Attorney specializing in these areas to understand the legality, and the “how to’s” of doing this with people. This is an area most people would love to do, they just don’t know how, nor understand the legalities of it. With a little effort, you can become an expert at it.
    3. Develop a brochure targeting this area of funding that describes your school’s needs, and how to designate a portion of their estate to be given to your school. Possibly develop a handout describing the steps to designate, or will, a portion to your school.
  • Monthly pledges as a result of a Pledge Drive or similar endeavor are a good way to receive donations of a fixed amount from individuals, as well as businesses. Set up automatic withdrawals with your bank, to make it easier for donors to give monthly and not forget. Be sure to discuss this with your bank, and possibly draft a Letter of Pledge Commitment that the donor signs. I would suggest an annual statement of giving be sent at the end of each year. If the pledge is for a specified period of time, be sure to outline that, and the remaining time and terms.

Information given to these targeted groups should explain your school including the value and benefits of Christian education. So set your sights on the targets, and release your fundraising plan.One more thing: Professionalism is key, so honor Christ with a top notch endeavor, He deserves nothing less than your best!

 

EVERY Christian school leader should read the complete fundraising “How To” in the book Qualities of Sound Christian Education, available on Amazon and here.

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I had a conversation with a parent a few days ago about the upcoming school year and his children. He was concerned that sports had taken such a huge role in one if his kids’ life, that he was concerned nothing else mattered to the boy. My response seemed to be “out in left field” to him, because I said we should look to Scripture for advice.

I think since we Christians are to be like Jesus, Christian schools and home schools can look to how Jesus was educated and emulate Him and His schooling.

In Luke 2:52, there is a little bit about Jesus as a student, and a LOT can be learned about Him and the quality of His education in this one verse:  “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

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There are four areas of life that the schooling of Jesus addresses here: mental, physical, spiritual, and social.  Sound Christian schooling must train children in these four areas, giving appropriate effort to all, and none at the expense of another.  They are individual areas, but work together, and it takes all four to have a sound Christian student.  Let’s look at each of them:

 

 

 

  • Mental  I would assume this is your main focus in schooling. It is listed first for a reason. It is the foundation from which the other three build from, and the other three must have this to be of value.  Mental includes academics or the knowledge of things, and the wisdom of how to use or apply those things.
    Mental must also include the knowledge of what is right and true. Mental must also include discernment, which means the thought process to evaluate and come to a conclusion on any topic or issue, usually based on the knowledge of right and truth. Mental means to think logically.
    Mental must also include self discipline, which is the ability and maturity to control your thoughts and ideas, since everything begins in the mind as a thought or idea. Self discipline is a mental ability for all areas of our life. Mental must include the understanding of a biblical world view, including the battle of good versus evil (God and Satan), our sinful nature, the penalty for sin, and the remedy found only in Jesus if you choose to repent of your sins and accept Him as your Lord. Mental must include the tools necessary to serve God, and to recognize, resist, and battle Satan, as described in Ephesians 6:10-20.  God said in Hosea 4:6 that His people were being destroyed because of their lack of knowledge, God wishes we become mentally great, which includes academics, and knowledge of Him and His laws.
  • Physical  We are not purely mental, but physical as well; they go hand in hand.  A physically strong, healthy, and active person is a mentally strong, healthy, and active person.  Teaching physical topics includes our bodies as the temple of God, and the proper use for our bodies, as well as some misuse topics (what is acceptable, and unacceptable to God).  It also includes physical activity. Why do we have recess for children, gym class, intramural sports, individual, and team sports? I believe Jesus was strong and physically fit, and worked hard at the proper times to maintain it.
    I am a big proponent for sports in school, and sports teams for home schooled students to join. God created us to be physical beings, to use and enjoy the use of our bodies in glorifying Him in physical activity, and to learn valuable lessons.  Sports teaches self discipline, character, respect for rules and authority, boundaries, respect for others, it teaches confidence, work ethic, communication, responsibility, unity, and many other lessons in life, including winning and losing, and how to handle each.  I praise God for sports because of it is a wonderful place to teach children the valuable lessons He wants them to learn. I would like to add a comment here that sports can also be an area where we can easily succumb to worldly views, instead of godly requirements.  We are to portray the character of Jesus, not selfish prideful character that can be demeaning of others. Our coaches need to teach this. We need to be truthful. If a child makes a mistake, telling them “it’s OK” is not the truth, but telling them where their mistake occurred, and encourage them to try again to improve is.  Everyone is made by God with different abilities and different levels of ability, but all can be a glory to God.  There are winners and there are losers, but losers can be winners if they gave 100% of their effort. How the game is played is more important than winning. Compromising your values to win is a horrible life lesson to teach in sports.  Teach Christian values, and sports is a great place to teach, practice, and perfect those values.
  • Spiritual  As mentioned in the mental area above, Christian schooling must teach the biblical world view. Spirituality is part of this, of course, and must include the teaching and understanding of God’s Word, the Bible.  Spiritual comes from the Latin spiritus which means breathing.  Religious and spiritual are two different things.  Religion is people’s attempt to please God, spiritual is taking on the nature or the very essence of God, and becomes a necessary part of us like breathing.  In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says that all scripture is “God breathed”.  Therefore, the meaning of being spiritual is to have as our nature, or our very essence, the Word of God.  We are to live the Bible.  In addition to that, the Bible teaches that we are created by God to have a relationship with Him. A relationship with God is so important to Him, that He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins, so we can have a communicative relationship with God without the barrier of sin between us.  God loves to communicate with us (prayer, and reading His Word) as in personal devotions and personal prayer time. He loves for us to try to understand Him, and to be obedient to Him, which is spiritual.  He wants us to be involved in our local church, and a ministry of some sort.  Sound Christian schools teach their students to live the Bible, to obey God, and to have a communicative relationship with Him.
    Spiritual also means to have and disseminate a biblical world view, it means to glorify God in all we say and do.
  • Social  We are to have and maintain relationships. We are to have companionship and unity among fellow Christians.  Relationships are extremely important for growth as a Christian, accountability as a Christian, and the spreading of the Gospel.  To be social, we must have the learned ability to reason logically, and to communicate effectively through rhetoric. Being social means to be friendly, courteous, caring, loving, respectful, serving, compassionate, trustworthy, God honoring, and edifying.
    By nature, people are selfish, self centered, and proud (sinful nature we all have), which are detrimental to relationships with others, and to our relationship to God.  To be social, we must have well developed mental and spiritual areas (see above). Kids today are the most social kids in all of history, with e-mail, texting, cell phones, and social sites on the internet.  So Christian schools have a much bigger reason to teach Christian social skills.  Teach dos and don’ts of e-mailing, politeness, etiquette, and social rules and courtesy.
    To re-iterate: being social is a learned skill, and as mentioned above, schooling must include teaching logic and rhetoric. Christian schools must teach others-centered, Christ-like social skills based on biblical mental abilities, and spiritual abilities, with the awareness and overcoming of selfishness and pride.
    Christianity is intended by Jesus to be a group effort. To be out in the world’s “battlefield”, but to regroup, huddle up with other Christians around God’s Word, recharge, then go back out.  We are to assemble as believers, encourage each other, hold each other accountable, and ensure each other is living an obedient, fruitful life in Christ. Sound Christian schools encourage their students to interact with other Christians outside of school such as church youth groups and Bible studies.  Then teach that the extension to that is also important whereas Jesus said we are to be lights in a dark world. Remember the song “This little light of mine”? we are not to hide our light under a bushel, but to let it shine outside of the church and school environment.  Being social is important to God, and should be to our Christian schools as well.

Educators and parents are doing their student a disservice when there is little or no balance of these 4 areas.  When a school puts so much emphasis on one area, academics and homework for example, that sports suffer (physical), church activities and personal devotions are deleted (spiritual and social), and there is no time to go bowling or to the movies with friends or to family events (social), something is wrong.  In that environment, students are not given the opportunity to fully be like Jesus Christ.

Kids are underdeveloped and struggle through the next chapter in their life when these 4 areas are not somewhat equally taught. It may not need to be an equal 25% for each area, but it does need to be close. Emulate the schooling Jesus had in the four areas above, and your students will burst forth when they graduate excited, hopeful and enthused, well rounded, Christ-like, and glorifying Him, not soured and incomplete.

 

You can download a .pdf of of this and hand out to others here.

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group-prayerPrayer is essential to the growth of Christian schools.

Prayer demonstrates faith, a contrite heart, and a purpose that is God-centered. Prayer enables you to focus on God and not so much on yourself. Prayer gives the proper perspective of Gods attributes and character such as His holiness, His power and strength, His Word, His riches, His mercy, and grace. Praying puts into perspective your faith in Him, serving Him, and obeying Him. God wants humble people focused on Him to accomplish His wishes.

 

Here are some suggestions for Prayer concerning your school, some specifically to fundraising:

  • List specific prayer needs or topics on a bulletin board, or weekly newsletter where everyone involved with your school can see and pray about them.
  • Have prayer meetings regularly where folks meet just to pray for the school. Have staff prayer meetings, possibly each morning prior to the start of school. If your school operates with committees devoted to specific topics or issues such as fa undraising committee, begin and end each meeting with prayer. Parents groups, school board, and/or staff should pray for those committees. It is easy to lose focus and get chit chatty, stay on topic and stay on prayer. Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Timothy 2:8.
  • Prior to prayer, spend some time searching for any sins or sinful ways you may have that could be a barrier between you and God. Confess those sins to those offended, and to God, and ask for forgiveness. Then earnestly strive to eradicate the sin(s) and not repeat them. Psalm 26:2, 139:23-24
  • Then, spend some time discussing the many blessings from God concerning your school. Count them one by one if you can. Mention them to each other, and thank God for those blessings, it is a form of praise to Him, as well as setting a correct mindset toward God and focuses on His faithfulness.
    Psalm 37:3, Philippians 4:6
  • Please pray biblically. I would suggest prayers be structured similar to the prayers of people in the Bible, especially the sample template Jesus outlined for us in Matthew 6. Formality and structure however is not as important as attitude, humbleness, perspective, faith, content, submissiveness of your heart, etc. The “ACTS” acronym is a simple structure I use from time to time: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
  • Try to focus on what God wants, and the needs of your school from His perspective. How does that compare to your wants? Remember our purpose includes glorifying and obeying God, and to love each other.   Pray that God will be honored through your school and your students, and obey His Word, which includes the commandment to love one another. John 14:15, 15:12
  • Pray individually for your school, and other Christian schools. Many people are involved in Bible studies, or other group meetings where prayer requests are taken and prayed for. Be sure to mention and pray for your Christian school in settings like those.
  • Pray that people become aware of your Christian school and what it offers, and that they would be involved in your school in any meaningful way, including financial support.
  • Pray focused on God being glorified, and Jesus known.

EVERY Christian school leader should read the complete fundraising “How To” in the book Qualities of Sound Christian Education, available on Amazon and here.

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Now lets get down to business…the nuts and bolts of fundraising. nuts&boltsHere are a few things to start:

You know your core Christian values concerning your school. Write them down, and use them as the foundation of fundraising efforts, or as pep talk material. You should see such terms written down as: prayer, faith and trust in God, your passion for His purpose and His work in your school, your creativity and ingenuity, your hard work, your good stewardship and accountability, and even your frugality. Your Biblical values should be woven in there also such as honesty, Truth, doing the right thing, and love for others more than self.  Make sure they are reviewed prior to, and during all fundraising efforts. If the fundraising endeavor involves your students, it will be an opportunity for them to learn those values and practice them. The likeness of Jesus should come alive during your fundraising ventures.

I would suggest your school designate one person to be in charge of all fundraising efforts; one person that exemplifies Jesus Christ in their life. Since followers tend to be like their leader, you want a person in charge that sets the example of the values you want in your fundraising efforts. This person should wisely choose the endeavors to pursue, being mindful of how your school is perceived through these fundraising ventures. You do not want too many, out of control, undiscerning, poorly planned, poorly executed, or “little return for the effort” fund raising ventures. Those will turn off or burn out parents, supporters, donors, and students, and thwart your fundraising efforts.

Whether your venture is selling chocolate, discount cards, magazines, performing services such as car washes, cleaning homes, or obtaining donations from businesses or even applying for grants, consider each one carefully as to the perception of your school it will create. Remember also to not allow the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Choose wisely the fundraising campaigns that give the best return for the effort. Choose those that shine a good light on your school and God. Plan them well, execute that plan well, and create and maintain a great level of excitement, hope, and trust in God.

Be sure to utilize the full spectrum of fundraising avenues:
Small ventures such as bake sales, car washes, or product sales will involve students, and you should use these as opportunities to teach the students. They can learn salesmanship, courtesy, communication skills, presentation, counting money and giving change, thankfulness, etc.
Medium to large ventures are usually donation based auctions, school garage sales, dinners featuring a famous speaker, or entertainment endeavors. Those all take planning, coordination, and volunteerism.

There are wonderful resources found on-line, I would suggest doing a search for “Christian school fundraising”. There are also Christian fundraising consultants and coaches who offer various levels of fundraising help. I am somewhat familiar with two such consultants in Colorado which are GraceWorks Ministries, and Dickerson and Associates, but I am sure there are others as well if you do an on-line search for “Christian School Fundraising Consultants”. Be sure to review their statement of faith or core values to ensure their basis is biblical, and would align with that of your school. Be diligent at this and use discernment please, as fundraising is an area of great potential help for your school, or could be harmful to your school and the name and work of Jesus Christ.

 

EVERY Christian school leader should have the complete fundraising “How To” book Qualities of Sound Christian Education, available on Amazon and here.

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To be good stewards, and to let people know the needs of your school, you need to define and structure your fundraising needs and endeavors into these four categories: Operational, Growth, Scholarships, and Ministry.

fundraising thermometer

Operational needs are the general funds needed to operate the school. This is outlined in the general budget of the school. Additionally, many budget items have a budgeted amount that is lower than should be. Listing those items and what you would like those budgeted amounts to actually be would provide folks with a list of items they could help fund.

Growth needs are contained in two sub categories, which are the needs of committed and uncommitted growth. A new building addition is a committed growth need. Uncommitted growth items are wish list items that are not committed to be purchased at the present time. Planning for future growth, future remodeling, future replacements, even items on a wish list outside of the current budget or committed growth are all part of uncommitted growth needs. The Growth needs of your school should be itemized and then categorized into either committed, or uncommitted. Then, those two lists should be prioritized with what is most needed at the top of the list.

Scholarship needs are simply to help people who cannot afford to enroll their kids at your Christian school. If a parent has prayerfully decided in their heart that they want a Christ based education is for their kid(s), then God will provide the financial means for them and scholarships are the main means. There are full scholarships, and there are partial scholarships, and those are to be accorded with the prioritized needs of families. We are instructed biblically to care for widows and orphans, so children who have lost one or both parents should rise to the top of the priority list. Then we should help those that are less fortunate financially. However, we must maintain an attitude of helping people who work hard, but just simply cannot afford all or part of the tuition. Be mindful not to help, enable, or reward laziness, lack of biblical morals and/or priorities, or sinful behavior.

Ministry needs are something often overlooked by Christian schools, but still are important. A High School mission’s trip is one example of a ministry that your school can be, or is involved with. Community outreach projects, hosting concerts of Christian performers with a Gospel message, supporting specific missionaries, are a few examples of spreading the Gospel that Christian schools could be involved in; many of which needs funding. The Ministry needs should be identified, kept to a few to gain the most support and success, and be made known.

With these organized lists, people can see where the need is and where they would like to help. Remember many people do not give to a general fund, but if they can choose an item or area they like or can connect with, they will be happy to support. Also remember fundraising for your school is providing the opportunity for God to bless the giver, and for Him to be praised.

A complete fundraising “How To” is found in my book Qualities of Sound Christian Education, available here.

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One of the typical shortcomings of fundraising in Christian schools is that people do not know the needs of the school.

A lot of people are not very willing to give to the general fund of your school, but they would like to give to a specific need they could identify with. This identification is important because it gives purpose to the donor, they identify with something specific at your school, and also gives them a prayer topic.

An example is a couple whose children have grown, yet still wanted to donate to our local Christian school. They wanted to specifically donate to help a family with multiple children so they could afford to send all their kids to the school. To the recipient family, it was an anonymous donation, but to the donor, they had a specific family in need they were helping to support financially as well as prayerfully.

I also know of an employee of a construction specialties supply company whose owner did not want to support the Christian school financially, but did allow a donation of basketball backboards when he found out the school needed new ones. So make specific needs of your school known.

Several years ago God graciously fulfilled a dream of mine, which was to build my own house for my family. I built houses while in college, so I knew I had the skills to build my own home. The construction company I worked for did every aspect of building a house: forming and pouring the concrete foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, drywall, and roofing.

However, when I began the process of building my home myself, it became painfully clear doing everything myself was impossible. So I broke down the construction process into smaller disciplines such as framing, electrical, siding, roofing, etc. It enabled one overwhelming big task to seem like smaller manageable ones. I then delegated some tasks to more experienced people such as plumbing, and a couple tasks I knew I did not have time to do such as drywall tape and texturing.

Do that with your fundraising endeavors. Break down the needs of your school into specific “disciplines”. Then delegate certain ones to specific people. Those people can solicit donations from folks or organizations who would “identify” with that need. Remember to make those needs know, so donors and supporters have a choice.

A complete fundraising “How To” is found in Chapter 13 of my book, available here.

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We Christians are to be in the world not of the world (John 17). “In the world” means we are not to be separatists, but be out there in the world shining as light in the darkness, presenting and living the Gospel of Christ.

Fundraising is a great vehicle to get out there “in the world”, to present the Gospel to others, and for others to see Jesus Christ in us. It is a way to shine like lights, and for people to learn what your school is about, stands for, and does for society. It is also a way to erode any fallacies people may have about your school and possibly even biblical Christianity.  Look at fundraising as a way of witnessing, and God will bless your efforts because it is His desire that all be saved.

Fundraising will only be honoring to God if you are good stewards of what you have raised with the full mindset that God has given it to your school, so use it as God wants it to be used. Integrity before your God is the key here, and not only the integrity and good stewardship of the school, but of each person involved in the school administration of funds as well.

So choose people wisely who are fundraising for your school or homeschool group.

If their personal life is not pleasing to the Lord, nor their good stewardship (and generous giving), their handling of donations and tuition money probably won’t be either. Be discerning of who you use to be the “face” of your school.  Don’t allow your school to be in situations that are not pleasing to the Lord, nor appear unpleasing to Him. Your donors are watching, God’s reputation is at stake.

A complete fundraising “How To” is found in Chapter 13 of my book, available here.

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