Without question, one of the most time-consuming ministries with unlimited positive and/or negative potential, is the ministry of Christian Education in the local church. To tackle this ministry a pastor must have the clear leading of the Lord, an understanding of the biblical principles undergirding such a ministry, and a consistent and sincere prayer life.
The potential for blessing is found when a pastor willingly involves himself in the day-to-day ministry of the Christian school. God has given the pastor a position that can be used of God to steady and stabilize the educational ministry of the church. It is vital that a pastor understand why this is important and biblical.
A biblical philosophy of education expects the teacher, principal, and pastor to stand in the place of the parents during the school day. Cooperation with the homes of the pupils and a working relationship with each family will insure that those who teach and administrate the church school will have more success than those who see it as a job. As important as this familial relationship is, the pastoral relationship of pastor to principal and teachers is equally vital. It is a dangerous thing to abdicate this position and leave it to others to fulfill.
Biblically we find this responsibility in Paul’s instruction to Timothy in the pastoral epistles of I and II Timothy. Paul hardly makes it out of the salutation before dealing with Timothy’s responsibility to charge some “that they teach no other doctrine,” and not to “give heed to fables and endless genealogies,” which do not edify in the faith. Then in verses 6, 7 he warns of some who have “turned aside unto vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law.”
The pastor’s responsibility to oversee the teaching and ministry of the Word is stressed in every chapter. I Tim. 2:7, 11-12; 3:2; 4:1-3, 7, 11, 13, 16; 5:17; 6:3-5, 20, 21. This subject continues to be addressed in the second epistle to Timothy. (See II Tim. 1:11, 13; 2:2, 14, 16-18, 23-26; 3:1-7, 10, 14; 4:2,14,15. It would appear that this responsibility extends to every ministry of the church as Paul teaches the importance of the teaching ministry of the church as it governs all other activity. We find the accountability connected to it in Heb. 13 …they watch for your souls…do it with joy.
In 2 Timothy chapter two, Paul reminded Timothy of his responsibility to oversee the qualifications of who taught, what they taught, and who was to be taught. He continues this instruction in his letter to Titus and emphasizes the very things he had stressed to Timothy. He instructs Titus in chapter two regarding the teachers, the teaching material, and the students who should learn.
There should be no argument that a pastor is responsible for who preaches in his pulpit and who teaches in the Sunday school of the congregation over which God has made him the overseer. I believe that the pastor is as responsible for the staff, the curriculum, and the direction of the Monday-Friday school as he is for the Sunday school. Those who teach in the church and in the church/school do so having had the pastor commit this responsibility to them. Though we may delegate the oversight of the Sunday school to a staff or lay person, the pastor is ultimately answerable for its impact and import in the lives of the students.
For a pastor to abdicate his responsibility and authority in the Christian School is to open himself to the judgment of the Savior who holds him accountable for all those to whom he ministers.
For a pastor to abdicate his responsibility and authority in the Christian School is to open himself to the judgment of the Savior who holds him accountable for all those to whom he ministers. For him to turn the administration of the day school over to someone else entirely, regardless of the reasons, is to invite many problems with staff, faculty, students, and parents.
I do not believe there is a biblical formula for how this involvement is to be pursued in every church and every situation. I do believe that the Bible is clear as to the responsibility of the pastor to find the balance of delegation and oversight, to project his vision for the ministry of Christian Education, and to actively participate with his influence on faculty and students.