One of the primary obstacles for Christian families pursuing Christian education is affordability. My school strives to keep tuition affordable, but this can still be a huge amount for many families. Nearly a decade ago when I was considering the educational options for my growing family, the cost of paying for two or more children to go to a Christian school seemed insurmountable. But in due time, God provided. If you’re thinking through the affordability of a Christian school, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
There is no greater investment that you can make than to invest in the spiritual life of your children. You have been given the unique and high calling to oversee their spiritual development. Yes, we have our pastors, but are they limited in what they can do. No one else can do what you do. This will require sacrifice, but ultimately your sacrifices will be driven by your greatest desires. My greatest desire for my children is that they would develop into fully mature disciples of Christ. If you’re reading this, you probably think the same way. Now that you’ve decided on what you want for your family, you can come up with an action plan. It won’t be easy, and you may need to reimagine what prosperity looks like in your life. Investing in Christian education may mean a smaller house, older cars, and “staycations.” Is it worth it? Absolutely.
What are some action steps you can take?
First and foremost, pray. We asked God to provide when we had no idea how it was going to happen. Little did I know at the time that I would become a teacher in a Christian school, and then an administrator. If you really believe this is the direction God is leading you, pray that God would show you the way. Your strategy may take a few years to fully implement, and that’s okay. The Lord has provided everything you need today to take the first step of obedience.
Next, research schools and calculate the cost of tuition. Schools typically have monthly payment plans to make the cost more manageable, and many offer financial assistance.
Then, take an inventory of your assets. Determine how much you can afford now, and how much it will take to bridge the gap. Is it possible to downsize to free up some space in your budget? Pay off or pay down some debt? Do you have any assets you can sell to make it possible? This is a difficult step, especially if you’ve become accustomed to a certain standard of living. As you think through this, you must be determined and resolute with your spiritual priorities intact, otherwise you will find reasons not to move forward. As a wise pastor once told me “If everything is a priority, nothing is priority.”
Here’s some additional questions to consider. Do you have family members, such as your children’s grandparents that are willing to invest in Christian education? Is an increase in income possible through a job promotion, or even a side hustle?
Could you perhaps teach or work in a Christian school? Christian schools typically offer a substantial tuition discount to employees, and some even offer free tuition.
Every family has different resources, and so every solution will look different. If you’re willing to sacrifice, the Lord will show you the way.
A word of caution. You may be tempted to decrease or stop giving to your local church to afford tuition payments. I would strongly advise against doing this. You will end up undermining your local church, and in doing so, undermine your own efforts to disciple your children.