Take the First Steps
Seek guidance from the Lord, especially when you determine your philosophy of education and establish your purpose. Pray that God will help you find the right leadership and the right teachers, and that He’ll give you wisdom and discernment.
Psalm 127:1—Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Decide on your philosophy of education.
Your philosophy of education determines how your school operates academically—both what content you teach and how you teach it. By adopting a clear philosophy of education, your school can maintain a consistent, reliable standard for teaching and learning regardless of your size or your faculty’s experience level.
Because you’re beginning a Christian school, we recommend the traditional philosophy of education. It has been used to successfully educate children academically and spiritually for generations, training them in Christian character and teaching them to be articulate and knowledgeable. Traditional education is based on America’s educational heritage and supports biblical beliefs such as accountability, respect for authority, and godly character.
Hire your principal or administrator.
Recruit a principal/administrator who has demonstrated leadership and organizational skills. They’ll have a huge influence over the faculty, staff, and direction of your school as a whole, so it’s essential that the person you hire embrace your philosophy of education.
Everything rises and falls on leadership.
Articulate your mission.
Be able to describe your reason for existence in a mission or purpose statement. For example, your purpose may be to teach academics from a Christian perspective, to reach young souls for Christ, to train future servants in the Lord’s work, or to do all of the above! Whatever you have in mind, express it clearly in your mission statement and refer to it often, especially when engaging parents and faculty.
Determine whether enrollment will be open or closed.
Open enrollment means that children without a specific church affiliation may attend. More importantly, an open enrollment school reaches unsaved students and parents for the Lord. Sharing the gospel with children and families who otherwise may never have heard it is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of the Christian school ministry.
Closed enrollment means that only children of families with a profession of faith who are members of a specific church affiliation may attend.
Establish your standards.
As you start your school, resolve to give parents confidence that their children will receive an exceptional education both spiritually and academically. Commit to presenting a superior program that gives your students the education they need in both areas.
Standards in dress and behavior are integral to maintaining a distinctive Christian school environment. Write your standards down and distribute them to both students and parents so that everyone understands what’s expected. When everyone knows your standards, you’ll be better prepared to implement them.
Proverbs 22:6—Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Investigate local and state laws.
Research construction and use codes for schools in your state. Check with your state’s Christian school organization to find out how to conform to local and state laws. If you plan to use classrooms in your church or another existing building, you may already be in compliance.
Your state’s Christian school organization may also be able to provide information on state requirements for private schools, such as student-teacher ratios, faculty qualifications, and background-check requirements.
Evaluate facilities and furnishings.
As mentioned above, you may choose to use your current church classrooms. Other options are to lease space from another church, purchase a public school building no longer in use, or purchase/lease portable classroom units.
Once you’ve decided where to meet, think about the furniture and equipment that will be available. Then decide what you’ll need to purchase to get your school off the ground.