The Goal of Christian Education
2 Timothy 2:1-2 – “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
In 2012, after having pastored the Heritage Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, for six years, my wife and I had the privilege of starting Heritage Baptist Academy as a Christian school for the children of the parents in our church.
It was always our goal to provide Christian education for our parents, but we wanted to make sure it was the right time and, more importantly, we want to have the right goal in mind. The Apostle Paul speaks to Timothy, his son in the faith, concerning “the things” that have been handed down to him, and in this passage we find proper goals to consider for Christian Education.
1. To Make Disciples
2 Timothy 1:5 – “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
Paul also calls Timothy “my son” in chapter two, verse one. There is an understanding here in this passage that the faith that started with Timothy’s grandmother was passed on to his mother, and then to him. Timothy was Paul’s son in the faith. Part of the Great Commission for the local New Testament church is to disciple and train those that have been won to Christ and baptized. Christian Education is not the local church, nor does it supersede it, but it can be an extension of the training and teaching that should come from the pulpit. The Christian school has been used to be a great help in reinforcing the fundamental doctrines of our faith. An education with a Bible-based worldview will greatly aid in passing down many of the truths of God’s Word.
2. To Develop Character
2 Timothy 2:3-4 – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In verse one of chapter two, Paul tells Timothy to be strong. Christian Education should seek to be training that develops character. Christian Education should be challenging. We are living in a day when the standards of everything are being lowered to accommodate the weakest, thereby weakening the strongest. “Hard things” are going to be faced all throughout life, and Christian Education should be a training ground that will develop godly character to persevere through difficult times.
3. To Discern Doctrine
2 Timothy 1:13-14 – “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”
Doctrine simply means “teaching.” A goal of Christian Education should be to train our students to be able to have a discerning spirit about what is good doctrine. They do not get this training by being taught everything that is incorrect, but by being trained and drilled in those things that were committed unto us! Paul tells Timothy in chapter 1, verse 2, “the things that thou hast heard.” Those same “things” are the doctrines that he was to commit to others that would be faithful.
4. To Desire to Serve God
2 Timothy 1:6 – “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee.”
One of the greatest desires that my wife and I had when we started Heritage Baptist Academy was to instill in the students a love and a desire to serve God. Not all of them have gone or will go into full-time ministry, but we wanted them to be full-time Christians.
Paul was specifically speaking to Timothy concerning his own calling of pastoring, but there are some wonderful parallels to the goals we must have in Christian Education if we are to be successful. May God help us realize the wonderful privilege we have to educate the next generation to know the Truth and to serve our Great God!
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Jason Atwood grew up in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, and in November 2006, Pastor Atwood was called to be the first pastor of Heritage Baptist Church of Corpus Christi. The church was meeting in a small one-bedroom house. God blessed, and they moved to a new 5-acre site to allow continued growth. In 2019, God led Pastor Atwood to join our staff. He is a tremendous help to Pastor Trieber in both the church and the college ministry. He is married to Aimee, and they have three boys — Will, Connor, and Jack.