What if Missouri Baptists had 1,200 schools, not 12?
Leader: Impact on the state would be great
By Barbara Shoun
September 6, 2005
WINDERMERE, Fla. – Ed Gamble is fearful that Southern Baptists are losing the next generation by their failure to instill Christian values in their children. He cites declining numbers in baptisms and a recent George Barna survey in which 70 percent of born-again parents did not include their children’s salvation as a critical parental outcome. He believes that Christian schools are part of the answer.
Gamble is a champion of Christian schools in general and of Southern Baptist schools in particular. He serves as executive director of the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools (SBACS) here, a professional organization whose philosophy is “uniting home, church and school in Jesus Christ.”
Gamble decries the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention can provide volumes of information on its churches but has virtually no information on schools operated by its member churches.
“Public schools are destroying our kids spiritually,” Gamble argues. “Instead of educating our children, the Chaldeans are doing it. They’re coming out looking just like Chaldeans.”
Gamble believes Christians should be involved in the public schools, but that we shouldn’t expect our children to be missionaries in public schools.
“First of all, it isn’t biblical. It’s biblical that children be raised under the tutelage of godly men and women. Scripture says to make sure you teach these things to your children so they won’t forget them.”
Secondly, he says, it isn’t practical to use children as missionaries without accompanying adults.
Finally, he says, it isn’t successful.
“We have no strategy for training children to be missionaries in the public school system. We keep doing the same thing, but it keeps delivering the same result.”
However, Gamble believes Southern Baptists still have the opportunity to take ownership of the education of their children.
Gamble envisions churches starting new Christian schools. These would be open to the public and supported by church members with their tithes. In addition, unchurched parents who send their children would also be expected to support the schools with their tithes.
Gamble also envisions deliberately training adults (teachers and others) to become missionaries in the public schools.
Noting the small number of MBC churches operating schools in Missouri, he asks. “What if the Missouri Baptist Convention had 1,200 schools instead of 12? What sort of state would Missouri become?”