–Summer of 2003
Parents, Listen Up!!
A major consulting firm says that there are approximately 370,000 Christian seniors in America. Of that number only sixteen percent (60,000) will attend a Christian/Bible college this fall. Of those who do attend, 98 percent will maintain their faith and stay in church. The remaining 84 % will attend a secular university or Jr. College near home. Of those that do, 52 % will lose their faith and drop out of church. Why wouldn’t Christian High School seniors and their parents overwhelmingly seek to attend a Christian College?
Another recent study shows that there are approximately 3000 churches that identify with the conservative values of a College like GBS or its peer colleges and institutes. (There are still others that would not fully identify with GBS but would still want the values based education it offers.) An observation was made in this study that denominations tend to send at least 1 student for every 2 churches to the denominational College. There is some parallel also between Church groups and Colleges they identify with. This means that there is a potential student pool for GBS and its peer colleges of approximately 1500 to 1800 students. Yet enrollment records show a little under 50% of that number attend. Why?
Our own survey shows that the key influence in a student coming to GBS is their parents (and it should be). However, our recruitment feedback also shows that the one reason college bound seniors go to secular schools is also because of parents. Why?
We have been given many reasons. The most consistent is money. Money on the front end: Junior colleges are close to home and cheap, secular universities are close and cheap, and scholarships abound in these state funded school. And money after graduation: “I want my kids to have it better than I did, and ministry doesn’t pay enough!” Parents pushing their kids for upward mobility is the number one reason for Christian young people pursuing secular training and jobs.
Another reason is status. They want their child to graduate from a college with national recognition. Another reason is some parents don’t think their child is mature enough to be away from home and fear the loss of control over their lives.
I have also heard the reasons why some parents are willing to send their son and daughter hundreds of miles from home to our Campus. Let me list some of those. They want them to get settled spiritually. They appreciate the academic excellence and ministry opportunity. They see the value of resident life in the maturing process. They want them around other kids who share their values and faith so as to have appropriate choices for a life partner. It also places them in an atmosphere where they can make themselves available for full-time Christian ministry if God so calls them.
This is true for many parents who know that their child will only be here for a couple of years and then move on to a college that offers a career field we do not and could not offer. They do not see it as wasted time, but as one of the best investments they can make in the future of a child they want to see maintain their faith and be an effective Christian servant no matter what calling they follow in life.
Nothing is more important to parents than their children. Nothing is more important to the Christian parent than the spiritual welfare of their children. If that is so, then why not do whatever it takes to get them in that 98% group that keep the faith and bless God’s Kingdom!