Why Not Try This? …Challenge Your Students & Their Parents As The New School Year Begins

It was late summer 1993 and I was working with Pastor Vladimir Krupskyi and a team of Ukrainian pastors to plant the second Seventh-day Adventist church in the city of Nikolayev, Ukraine. Communism had collapsed only a few years before but its effects were still evident in many parts of society, including the school system.

On the Sabbath morning before school started we gathered at the House of Prayer (church building) for Sabbath School and Worship Service. Near the beginning of the worship service Pastor Krupskyi called all the students in the congregation, regardless of age, along with their parents, to meet him at the front. For the next few minutes, with the entire congregation watching, he gave them this challenge. (My translator helped me with understanding what was going on.)

Pastor: Students, this week you will begin another school year. Are you ready for this?

Students: Yes.

Pastor: You must listen carefully in your classes and learn well. But in your classes sometimes you will be taught things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. You must be polite, but you must not believe anything that disagrees with the Bible, God’s word. Do you understand?

Students: Yes.

Pastor: You must study God’s word carefully and regularly so you know what is true and what is false. Are you willing to do this?

Students: Yes.

Pastor: Parents, it is your responsibility from God to talk with your children each day to find out what they are learning and to help them know what is in agreement with the Bible and what is not. Are you willing to do this?

Parents: Yes.

Pastor: Let’s ask God to help you this year to receive an education that is pleasing to Him.

Then Pastor Krupskyi prayed a beautiful prayer asking God to help the students and parents be faithful during the new school year.

I had never seen anything like this before. The entire experience took only a few minutes, but it had a profound effect on me, perhaps because I had a son back home in Texas who had just started first grade. Even though he was in a Seventh-day Adventist school I still wanted him to learn to evaluate everything he learned at school and anywhere in life by the authority of the Bible. And as a pastor I wanted all the students in my congregations to learn to do the same.

I could see why Pastor Krupskyi’s congregation loved him and knew that he cared about their walk with Jesus and faithfulness to their Savior. He challenged the students to be faithful and the parents to carry out their responsibility in the education of their children. Today Pastor Krupskyi is the President of the Ukrainian Union of Seventh-day Adventists.

“It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life– lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home!”  {Child Guidance p. 17.1}

The work of parents precedes that of the teacher. They have a home school–the first grade. If they seek carefully and prayerfully to know and to do their duty, they will prepare their children to enter the second grade–to receive instructions from the teacher.  {Child Guidance p. 19.2}

A dedication service like this could easily be included in each of our worship services as the school year is beginning. What a powerful impact this could have on the students, their families and the entire congregation.

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

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