“Why does the school need a campus missionary? Don’t they have chapel every week, and talk about the Bible in their lessons? Aren’t they already promoting Christian principles?”

I get asked these questions many times, and it’s as if others think that being a Christian school automatically equates to being a school of Christian students. Reality is much more stark.

I hear stories of people getting shocked when someone from a Christian school ends up pregnant, depressed, or suicidal. The funny thing is, people are not as bothered when they hear of students who graduated from a Christian school making fun of druggies or a juvenile delinquents. They are not concerned when these students start to belittle a couple caught in scandal in their new non-Christian university, or when these students start to withdraw from their wild and worldly classmates, and become apathetic to their need for the gospel.

I’m no longer surprised when these things happen. Leading students who have either grown up in church or go to a Christian school made me realize that this kind of behavior traces back to their lack of understanding of the gospel.

So why do we need to still reach out to Christian schools? Because just like in any other campus, there are lost students inside who need to hear, believe, and live out the Gospel.

I found that in order to effectively reach students who might be too familiar with Christianity (this goes for students who grew up in Kids Church too), we need to mainly do the following:

 

1. Commend them for following Jesus, not for being good boys and girls.

Students who grew up in a Christian school might be prevented to do outwardly shocking behavior, but if all they hear is how good they are compared to the rest of the world, they will fail to understand that they too have fallen short and are in need of God’s grace (Romans 3:23).

When they cross the line or break a rule, their tendency would be to hide; thinking that as long as they don’t get caught, they are still good.

Take the case of Mary*, for example. She went to a Christian school where there were strict rules about how physically close students should be with members of the opposite sex. After school, however, she would meet up with her boyfriend who was a former classmate from another Christian school. They would party together, and have sex. When asked about her reason for doing this, she would say that she wasn’t like other people who would jump from one sexual partner to another. She and her boyfriend have been together for a year, they were each other’s firsts, and someday, they will probably get married.

If we don’t emphasize that we are all sinful and that we need Jesus to transform us, these students would compare their ‘goodness’ to others all their life, and struggle from bouncing back and forth between condemnation and self-righteousness.

2. Teach them to face their doubts, instead of discouraging them from doubting.

Anya* grew up in church. Being a precocious child, she would look at the evil happening around her, and start to question how a good God allowed these things.

Whenever she would ask her parents or her teachers, they would scold her for doubting. Finally, she decided to become an agnostic. and tune out preachings and discussions about God.

When we met, she was staunch in her unbelief. But when she realized that I was open to addressing her questions, she started to meet me every week to challenge my faith. We discussed the book “God’s Not Dead”, and at the end of our logical discussions, she concluded that she needed to put her faith in Jesus.

We don’t need to panic when students doubt God. In fact, when their faith becomes solid, they will become the best defenders of the faith (1 Peter 3:15)

3. Remember that school rules and principles do not necessarily translate to life change.

School rules cannot make someone a follower of Jesus. Only through personal discipleship will we be able to see this transformation.

Che*, Mary’s classmate, was addicted to porn. But one day, she went to a Victory Group and her life was radically transformed when she understood what Jesus did for her on the cross. She is now a Victory Group leader, and understands God’s calling for her life. She wants to reach out to others like Mary, who grew up in church and goes to a Christian school but has yet to have a personal encounter with Jesus.

Being in a Christian school will not necessarily protect these students from sinning, because our sinful nature will not be uprooted by rules and principles. Only Jesus can transform us, because He dealt with the root of that sinful nature on the cross (Hebrews 10:3-10).

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.


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Ria Corda

Ria is a campus missionary at Every Nation Campus Fort Bonifacio. When she got the call for full time ministry in 2002, she said she would never disciple kids or high school students. Two years later, she joined Kids Ministry, and has been discipling preteens and teenagers ever since. She spends a lot of time marveling at the irony of it all, and being thankful for the times when God called us to do what we didn’t initially want to do.

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