When I shared the post “Should Teachers Leave Their Faith at Home?” I got some interesting responses. We all know that the secular world does not want Christians to share their faith, but I was somewhat saddened that so many Christian public school teachers seemed to agree, maintaining that religion has no place in the classroom.

Others, however, wanted to know how exactly they could share their faith in the public school. And, wow, this is a tough question, one I didn’t really feel qualified to answer as I’ve only taught in Christian schools, not public. But as I thought about it and discussed the question with some public school teachers, I realized that the answer is not quite as difficult as I thought.

How Christian teachers can share their faith in the public school

Our Faith Must Impact Every Aspect of our Lives

Before I get to that, though, we as Christians have to realize something very important. It’s what I was trying to say in the “Should Teachers Leave Their Faith at Home” post, but I’m not so sure people really got it. As Christians, we cannot compartmentalize our faith. If we truly believe in Christ and desire to follow Him, then our faith should impact every aspect of our lives, no matter what our vocation is.

As Christians, we cannot compartmentalize our faith. 

We shouldn’t be turning our faith on for Sunday morning and back off for the rest of the week. As teachers, God has given us an important area of influence, and we have the awesome responsibility and privilege to be a light in this dark world.

Yes, there are legal issues. Yes, there are restrictions. No, I’m not telling you to stand up in the middle of your class and proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord!” But the point is that if you’re a Christian then you shouldn’t be able to turn that on and off. Your faith should influence what you say and what you do. It should permeate your life.

And it should mean that you are looking for opportunities to share the truth.

So how exactly do you do that? I’m glad you asked……

How to Share Christ as a Public School Teacher

  1. Show Christ through your actions. If our students are ever going to be open to what we have to say, they need to see Christ in who we are and what we do. So love your students, and be an example of a believer, showing Him through your conduct and daily interactions. Check out our post “10 Ways to Show Christ to Your Students” for some specific idea of how exactly to do this.

  2. Embrace the truth. Every single teacher has preconceived philosophies and ideas that they bring with them to the classroom. The difference is that ours are the truth. So if others are going to spread their false philosophies, we certainly shouldn’t muzzle our true ones.

    God’s truths are not just for Sunday mornings; they are still true the rest of the week.

    Yes, there are restrictions. So once again, I’m not saying to stand in the hallway and start preaching the gospel. But God’s truths – His universal truths that apply to every aspect of our lives – should be such a part of you that they impact everything you do and naturally weave themselves into your teachings and interactions. If they aren’t, then you need to get into the Word and really start to embrace its truths, allowing them to impact every part of you. To help you get started, check out our posts on Thinking Biblically.  

  3. Objectively discuss faith when it applies to the curriculum. According to the Liberty Counsel, you are absolutely free to discuss faith as it applies to your curriculum. For example, if you are discussing ancient Egypt, it is appropriate to discuss their religious beliefs and how they differ from the beliefs people commonly hold today. The goal of such discussions should be to get the students thinking and to prompt them to ask questions. Because if they ask questions, you are then free to answer them. [For more information about your rights as a public school teacher, check out the whole report from the Liberty Counsel, courtesy of CEAI.]

  4. Honestly answer questions about your faith.  You have great freedom to answer questions that students ask of you, whether in the classroom or one-on-one. So when students ask you a question that relates to your faith, answer it as openly and honestly as you can. If you feel it’s necessary, you can preface your response by letting them know that this is your personal belief or opinion.
     
  5. Pray for your students and for opportunities to speak. Spend time praying for your students as well as their parents and your fellow teachers. And ask specifically that God would not only give you opportunities to speak truth into their lives but that He would help you recognize and take advantage of them.

How else do you share your faith in the public school? Share your experience with a comment below.

Resources:

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21 Thoughts on “How to Share Your Faith in the Public School

  1. Honestly, sharing your faith in a public school doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. You don’t have to stand up and give a sermon. Just let His light shine through everything you do, and find opportunities to mention it when you can.

    For example: “Did everyone have a nice weekend? Did anyone do anything fun?…Well, we went to church like always and then did some gardening. It was really nice.” Easy peasy.

  2. I received these great thoughts from Ally in an email. Thanks for sharing!

    My name is Ally and this past year was my first year teaching. I taught 5th grade in a public school. Here are a few things I did to share Jesus with my students this year.

    1) Using Gospel language in every day situations: I would use words like grace, redemption, joy, love, etc. to constantly be weaving the Gospel into our classroom even if the students had no idea that’s what I was doing.

    2) Playing worship music/praying in my classroom before and after the students come in: I wanted the Kingdom to be present in my classroom, and I know that starts with me. I wanted my heart to be in a state of constant worship before, during, and after school. I found these songs were stuck in my head all day and were shaping my attitude and patience with my students.

    3) Golden Rule: I only had one rule and it was the Golden rule. I loved secretly have Scripture present all over my classroom. It’s a simple rule that encompasses so many different situations in the classroom.

  3. Anonymous on June 29, 2014 at 11:02 am said:

    Do not share your faith in school. Focus on teaching your students. I think it is unfair to try and subliminally push religion on students. ask yourself, Would it be okay if I an atheist did the same? what if a satanist teacher followed these tactics? would it be okay? if your answer is know you need to rethink! This is wrong and you should be ashamed. this is america!

    • Laura on July 2, 2014 at 12:16 am said:

      I could NOT separate my faith in God from what I do and who I am. I share my life with my students, who are my “family” for the nine months I have them. They know what I believe because of that. Period.

  4. spirit on June 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm said:

    I’m sure if a Muslim were a teacher and discussing how they ‘weave’ their faith into the classroom to subtly influence their students you would be up in arms. This is why you do need to ‘turn off your faith’ when you step in a classroom. School is not about you and your faith, it’s about teaching kids. You want to ‘weave’ your beliefs into the classroom? Be careful what you wish for, because that means any one of ANY religion gets to do the same.

  5. Allie on June 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm said:

    Maybe instead of indoctrinating children when they are vulnerable by feeding them sugar coated biblical stories and disguising ignorance under the veil of “God’s plan,” you could teach them science, history, math, English, love and compassion, fairness, and honesty without any religious ties and then let THEM decide what they WANT to believe when they are old enough to make an informed decision. Talk about caring for your students.

  6. Just wanted to give a couple thoughts in response to some of these comments. I certainly don’t except unbelievers to understand, but for any Christian teachers out there who are wondering about some of these things, here’s a few thoughts….

    1) Lots of people ask if we would want atheists etc. talking about their view in the classroom – The problem is, they are. In fact, the entire public school system (no, not every teacher but the system in general) is designed to indoctrinate students into secular humanism. So, yes, we should be pushing back against this.

    2) We have the truth. We are not the same as another religion or an atheist or another worldview. I know everyone thinks they have the truth, but we actually do. And thus we have a responsibility to share it when we can.

    3) Yes, this is America. This is America where our Founding Fathers believed that Biblical truths were so integral to our survival as a nation that they built our Constitution on them, that they engraved them on our government buildings, that they fashioned their lives after them, and – yes – that they wanted them to be taught in our schools. And for the first 150 years in this country the schools did just that – taught Christianity outright. It’s only been a relatively recent development that Christianity has been banned – and, really, do we honestly think it’s made the schools better than they used to be?

    • Jess on July 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm said:

      The founders and those after have consistently stated that this is NOT a Christian nation. Christianity is NOT referred to in the Constitution. Look more closely at the beliefs of the founders and realize that many were deists at best. Do not confuse out of context quotes by a few with the majority opinions of the whole group. It is a nation where everyone has freedom to practice their religion, but this also means freedom FROM religion. As a public school teacher you work for the department of education, an extension of the government and as such should not be promoting any religion.

      Christianity is not banned, it is not to be taught by teachers. It can be discussed in a religions of the world course in conjunction with all other faiths. It can be embraced and lead by students. If students want to form a Christianity based group you can be the adviser, that’s fine.

      You can feel you “have the truth” but which denominations version of the truth? Students who are curious and want to know more about Christianity have no shortage of resources in any area, there are churches in abundance they can go to for spiritual guidance, they don’t need you to do anything but share your academic expertise.

      • Anonymous on September 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm said:

        In God We Trust is the United States official motto so obviously we are a christian nation :). If its wrong then it shouldn’t be on the thing we use most, MONEY!

    • Anonymous on July 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm said:

      You proclaiming that you have the only truth only shows your ignorance. You should not be teaching anyone.

    • Math Teacher on July 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm said:

      And all other faiths believe they have the truth too.You have to admit that all the thousands sects of Christianity believe their version is the “truth”. How can you proclaim you’re not the same? What objective knowledge do you possess of other religions?
      You also lack substantial knowledge of The Constitution and the Founders. These were people of The Enlightenment. Their influences were the writings of Locke and the Ancient Greeks. You might want to read the writings of James Madison, the writer of the Bill of Rights instead of getting your kooky knowledge of history from Wallbuilders. Additionally, The Founders deliberately wrote the Constitution as an amendable document for good and rational reasons. Do you believe women’s right to vote should be rescinded??

      Though it is very difficult to compare the schools of today than the schools of over 100 years ago, I believe the education kids receive today far surpasses how children were taught then. All was rote learning then and not to mention the subjects taught. It’s also true that most children didn’t graduate high school as most people lived on farms. Children generally didn’t go to school beyond 8th grade and sometimes less.

      You have some good ideas in regards to classroom management, but you have revealed yourself to be an “indoctrinator” of a belief system that is your right to have but it is NOT your right to indoctrinate our children in public schools.

      Peace.

    • Anonymous on September 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm said:

      Comment #1 is exactly what’s happening. Well put Linda :)

  7. Anonymous on June 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm said:

    Well said! Christians need to stop bowing the knee to Baal, take up their cross and follow Jesus, where in America mandates are constantly prohibiting us to hold onto and practice our God given freedom.

  8. Lisa on July 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm said:

    Thank you, Linda, for such a well-written blog. I am a fellow Christian educator and I am grateful for any opportunity to share my faith — whether it be in or out of the classroom. You are right. We cannot expect unbelievers to understand (yet), but ONE DAY EVERY KNEE WILL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.

  9. Anonymous on July 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm said:

    I am a teacher in a public school classroom. A couple of comments or reactions I give my students are: I only tolerate loving Christ-like behavior and try to be an example. I will mention it was good to see a student in church or ask what church they attend if any after I comment how I like a Christian related shirt or jewelry. I thank a student for “praying” when they say “God” out loud. When the kids ask I tell them my favorite books are Christian romance or my favorite music is Christian. In my classroom I let all know that we respect all cultures and religions and share without judgment for even though I know Christianity I is true and Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life….a true Christian tries to love all. Just some thoughts. Thank you for sharing u our thoughts.

  10. Great thoughts! Love the emphasis on loving others, being real, and just letting your students see how much your faith is a part of who you are.

  11. I am a Christian and have taught in public schools my whole professional life and #3 is very questionable. The bottom line is that whether or not we Christians like it, people are allowed to not believe in Jesus. They did during Bible times and they can now.

    Christians can live their faith without using words and in the public school they should. Being sneaky Christians shows no integrity and there is no Biblical example of going to someone’s children to sneakily preach the Gospel because they happen to be in your classroom.

    You may wear a cross necklace and you may answer direct questions. If students ask you what you did over the weekend you can tell them you went to church or about a church picnic in the same way they can tell you what they did. You don’t have to hide it (neither do your students) but you may not be overt about it. Students should NEVER feel they need to agree with your beliefs in order to be successful in your class.

    Seriously, Christian or not, who tells people to be subversive with children? That’s just not okay.

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