I have heard the above sentiment at least once for every one of my 26 years in Christian School education. It usually comes in the heat of a financial dispute on the tuition front or in response to consequences being assigned for a disciplinary offense. I will reserve my deeper thoughts on those two contexts for a later blog, but I always find it interesting that “Christian,” for some, entails a lesser accountability. God’s grace covers all by way of forgiveness, but the message of the cross was not that people bearing the name of Christ should operate according to shoddy business principles or remove all consequences for behavior in our current day-to-day lives.

What kind of Christian school are we? What does that question even mean? By way of gross generalization, there are two kinds:

  • Covenant model
    • enrolls only families in which at least one of the parents has made a profession of faith in Christ
    • the student is not required to be a Christ-follower to be admitted
    • maintains academic requirements
  • Outreach (aka mission or evangelistic)
    • enrolls families from all walks of life
    • only spiritual requirement is that families sign off on the school’s Statement of Faith – not that they necessarily agree with it, but that they will support it being taught
    • maintains academic requirements

Do you think Cambridge Christian School is covenant or outreach? I have had multiple conversations with some long-term CCS parents recently wherein they relayed great surprise upon learning that we are an outreach school. As one who is in the trenches with our students and families every day, their surprise is shocking to me. I suppose their surprise speaks well of the CCS culture that has been cultivated and protected by so many leaders, staff and families over the years.

The outreach model plays heavily into our identity as a school. It drives our spiritual priorities. Jesus commands us to “make disciples.” People cannot be made into disciples until they know Christ. Our first priority is that students would know Christ. Praise God – for 53 years, students, and, in many cases, their entire families, have become Christ-followers and disciples as a result of their CCS experience. Do not lose sight of our vision. It is to develop defenders of the faith in partnership with parents so generations will know God, obey His Word, and serve Him.

As parents, my wife and I have had our own children (now 23, 19 and 16) in both covenant and outreach model schools where we have served on staff. Both models are legitimate, but we prefer the outreach model for our own kids. We like the idea that, while our son may hear something in the locker room, for example, that we don’t like, he does so within the confines of a place where the teachers and coaches are relationally delivering the same messages we are at home (add the church to that mix, and you have Kingdom Education). The “bubble” aspect often prevalent in the covenant model isn’t present. We like the balance between protection and preparation. I am thankful to serve at a place where, from a Board level to a student level, both protection and preparation are valued. Our kids need both – not one at the expense of the other.