Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Legacy and a Future

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
For 50 years, Portersville Christian School has been providing a quality, distinctively Christian education to children from Christian families in Western Pennsylvania.  The school's location in a small town is centrally located, and over time, has turned out to be a major asset, allowing students to be bussed from seven different school districts.  We're right between Cranberry Township and Grove City, Butler and New Castle, and inside that radius, we remain the only private, Christian school which offers a PK-12th grade educational program that is fully accredited. 

During our 2012-13 Warrior Legacy Fund drive, we discovered that the alumni and supporters of our school can be found in all walks of life, all over Western Pennsylvania and beyond.  The school's graduates serve as doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, school administrators, college professors, coaches, missionaries, ministers, business owners, housewives, you name it, they do it.  They are our legacy, and for the most part, they are faithful believers in Christ, and faithful supporters and members of churches.  I don't know what the actual numbers would show us, but after four years of meeting literally hundreds of our alumni and families who sent their children to school here, one of the things I have observed is that there is a direct connection between the discipline of the Christian life that connects us to the body of Christ, and having attended school for some period of time at PCS. 

For a number of years now, those who are involved in research related to the trends and movements of the Christian church have been telling us that an increasing percentage of young people who are raised in the church, and are active in its youth ministry through high school, drop out of church by the time they graduate from college,.  From the late 1970's to the present, that percentage has grown from approximately 70%, to over 80%.  And while it was once thought that many of those students eventually come back, either when they get married and start a family, or before then, the fact of the matter is that in the more recent research, the fact is that they aren't really returning at all.  Fewer than 10% of Americans between 18 and 35 are members of, or claim involvement with, a relatively conservative, Bible believing Christian congregation.  And with more than 50% of American church membership now past 55 years of age, the future of the church is definitely changing.

There are some factors which research shows help young people stay committed and involved in the local church.  One is if they are able to connect with a church, or a campus Christian ministry of some kind, when they first arrive on a college campus.  Students who make a deliberate attempt to find a local church, and get involved in a local campus ministry are much less likely to drop out of church than their peers who don't do this.  A second factor is whether or not they attended a Christian school prior to college.  The longer they were enrolled in a Christian school environment, the more likely they are to stay connected to the church through college and beyond. 

The alumni of Portersville Christian School seem to fit that data pretty closely.

So how about that?

It would seem then, that pastors and local church leaders would want to promote PCS to the members of their congregations, since we provide a discipleship ministry that thoroughly trains their kids each day they come to school, and will support and undergird the work of the local church body.  They would want to encourage families to consider a Christian education for their children, because they care about their future, and whether or not they remain in a Bible believing church that honors and worships God by preaching Jesus. We've got a legacy that points to the good work we've been doing in this area.  Why not help us promote our enrollment and disciple your kids?