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Desiree Bryant holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Oakwood University and a M.A. in Teaching Reading from Western Michigan University. She has served in various educational roles as teacher, principal, conference associate director in the Education Department of the NAD

 The Value of Adventist Education for Ministerial Families (pdf)

You might ask, “Why is Adventist Education so important for families in ministry? I’m glad you asked!  First of all it’s not just important for families in ministry, but it provides ALL families the opportunity to stack the odds in their child’s favor for developing and maintaining a relationship with Christ, remaining in the church, and being ready to meet Christ in peace when He returns.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7(NET) says, “You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.  These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” In other words, we are to keep Christ before our children.  In most families today both parents work outside of the home. In order to follow the counsel given in this scripture, our children must be placed in an educational environment where this can happen.  Our children spend more of their waking hours in school than at home. Therefore, it’s imperative as ministerial families that they’re in an environment that is reinforcing what we’re teaching in our home and preaching in our congregation.
The next point is that the home, church and school are to work in partnership for the salvation of our children!  They are like a 3-legged stool.  If one of those legs breaks the stool is unstable.  The church in which God has appointed you to as the leaders along with the school, are to be partners in ministry.  Both exist to fulfill the gospel commission of making disciples.  The Spirit of Prophecy in chapter four of the book “Education” says,  “In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one, for in education, as in redemption, “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  There have been countless families who’ve accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and have gone down into the watery grave of baptism because of Adventist Education.
There are a growing number of pastoral families who are choosing public education or other non-SDA private schools in which to educate their children.  The number one question to be answered in this case is are they reinforcing the values and beliefs being taught in your home and in your congregation?  They may be close but not 100%.
Some of us have experienced some real challenges with the Adventist schools in which we’ve enrolled our children.  There have been some legitimate concerns ranging from bullying, to subpar academics.  The question has been raised, what do we do?  We want to keep our children in Adventist Education, but what do we do when the challenges seem insurmountable?  The first step is PRAYER!  As the well stated in a favorite hymn, ‘Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pains we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” 
The next step is communication.  Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!  Communicate with your child, with your child’s teacher, with the principal, and with the Superintendent if necessary.  Hopefully you won’t need to go this far, but prayerfully present your case to the conference administration if necessary.  Get involved at the school.  Build a relationship with your child’s teacher and the administration of the school.  Most often, if they see you involved and your concern, it will increase their awareness and sensitivity to the needs of your child. 
Hang in there and fight for the salvation of your children!  This is not just about preparing them for this life but for the life to come.  This is an eternal life versus an eternal death decision, and cannot be taken lightly!  We are in a spiritual warfare!  The enemy will not sit back and allow us to keep Jesus before our children without a fight. He will try to stop it from happening by any means necessary; whether from without or within our own ranks.  In a war, there are going to be some battle scars, but we will come out victorious if we remain faithful.  The battle is not ours it’s the Lords!
If you’ve done all of the above, and believe that you’ve exhausted every solution, continue to pray and ask God to provide another way.  He will!  Other options are home schooling, and on-line education.  There are Adventist Distance Learning Schools in our Division. 
In some cases there have been children with special needs in which most of our schools are not equipped to accommodate, but can have access to services provided in the local school district.  As taxpayers in your community, you have rights to those services.  Research and talk with your school administrator about options available.  There were children in the local Adventist School where I once taught who received special services from the local school district.  Some services provided were brought to the school and others were provided off-site at one of the nearby local schools, but were made available to our students through bussing.
As a sixteen-year product of Adventist Education along with my two sisters; we faced challenges.  One of the major challenges was prejudice and discrimination because of the color of our skin.  My family, and other families from my church were denied entrance into the school in our hometown.  This situation could have stopped my mom dead in her tracks.  She could have sent us to the local public school located just down the street from our home.   However, determined to obey the counsel and claim the promise found in Is. 54:13.  She was determined by God’s grace to find a way to keep us in an Adventist learning environment.  My older sister was sent to live with my aunt in the next town for her first and second grade year of school.  My mom would go up and visit her on the weekends or go get her and bring her home for the weekend.  The following year, my middle sister started school and since two were in school, my mom decided to just make the drive back and forth daily.  I was a young baby.
She drove 80 miles round trip, rain, shine, sleet, and snow, and did domestic work during the day while my sisters were in school and I was cared for by my aunt, until school dismissed.  Often times because we had old raggedy cars to travel in, we would breakdown before getting to our destination.  This went on for an entire school year. 
The hometown church finally got a new pastor and she went to him and shared her experience of what she’d gone through for the past three years so her daughters could have an Adventist Christian Education.  He was appalled and couldn’t believe that she had gone through all of that when there was an Adventist school right there in town they could attend.  He had a long board meeting and it was decided that my family, along with other families of African descent from our church were granted permission to enroll in the local Adventist school the following year.
I shared this because my mom had every reason to throw up her hands, give up, walk away, and say Lord I tried, but she didn’t.  She knew and understood what was at stake!  Her faith was tested and thank God, she passed the test!  The three of us have a relationship with the Lord, married ministers, and continued the legacy by sending our children through Adventist Schools.  There were challenges along the way, but God pulled us through.
My hope and prayer for you is that you remain faithful to the counsel given in God’s word and the Spirit of Prophecy in regards to the education of your children.
                  Did you know that Adventist education:
  • Has the largest Protestant school system in the world!
  • Has been in operation since the 1870s
  • Encompasses over 7,800 schools in over 100 countries
  • Educates over 1.8 million student world-wide
  • Has in the past 10 years, in the NAD, experienced a net loss of 270 schools. This number
    reflects the schools closed down and opened during that time period.