We connect to songs and stories with high elements of feel and emotion to them. It is a natural connection as it reflects how God designed us, but, at some point, we need more than feeling and emotion to justify committing to something or someone, whether that be a person or an organization.
Christian schools are often said to have a good “feel” about them. As the head of the school of Denver Christian, I am thrilled to hear prospective parents declare, “The school climate just feels right.”
We’re heartened to hear these comments, and to have students and their families affirm the tangible ways in which the Denver Christian School community welcomes and supports each other. I have also always maintained that Christian education is about more than just generating good feelings or emotions for those they serve.
But does it? What are the long term implications of a Christian education for the students that are served by schools like ours?
Until recently, Christian schools’ claims of developing students’ value systems were assumed by those within them but rarely validated by social research. Until recently, that is. The Cardus group has been conducting legitimate research on the long term effects of Christian schooling among graduates over the past 20 years, and the results are encouraging.
Evangelical Protestant Christian school graduates (Denver Christian is an evangelical protestant Christian school), according to the research, desire greater involvement in civil service, give more of their money, and have a broader sense of what they hope to achieve in life when compared to graduates of public, Catholic, and non-religious private schools.
The qualities mentioned above are three of several traits the Cardus education surveys have found within the graduates of Christian schools. This is encouraging to all of us who, in partnership with Denver Christian parents and families, invest in shaping the hearts of minds of our students. Woven through our instructional practices are emphases on worship, community, service to others, and a commitment to help each image-bearing child of God succeed and thrive.
As we navigate as a nation through one of the most challenging periods of modern history, we have to start asking ourselves: What do we as a society value most? Christian schools are framing that question within the minds and hearts of its graduates in a manner that may be the difference between our communities, with God’s guidance, being able to overcome this crisis, or succumbing to it.
by Matt Covey, head of school at Denver Christian School