Among some Protestant groups, the Christian day school is a relatively recent discovery. Among others, Christian education through the agency of a day school is a long tradition. While the primary purpose of the Christian school will always be education, there is currently an added dimension. The Christian day school today is taking on a new face: unchurched people are lining up to enroll their children in Christian day schools, and these schools are forming a new and exciting horizon of opportunity to reach children—whole families—with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Traditionally, Christian day schools have been nurture oriented. Christian families supported the school to insure a good, Christian education for the children of the parish. Many immigrants to the U.S. settled in communities of people like themselves, and America blossomed as a multiethnic smorgasbord of pluralism. The church played no small part as a solidifying factor in these pockets of ethnicity in America. In this role, the Christian day school was often central. Geared primarily for the Christian child, it presumed that, theologically, the child was already one of God’s people. It simply reinforced what the child learned in Sunday school and at home from Christian parents.

In the last decade, however, things have begun to change. Public education has lost much of its good reputation. U.S. Supreme Court decisions banning prayer left a bad taste in the mouths of evangelicals; the emphasis on evolution to the exclusion of creation also concerned them. But the most significant force influencing the growth of outreach in Christian schools has been the increasing discontent of unchurched people with public education.

The mood surrounding education at this point in ...

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