In the fall of 2016, it was reported by the National Center for Education Statistics that approximately 50.4 million students attended public elementary and secondary schools. About 35.4 million were in prekindergarten through the eighth grade, and 15 million ninth through twelfth graders (https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372). This is astounding because it’s about 16% of the United States’ population. In fact, if you were to start a brand new country with those students it would rank in the top 30 most populated countries in the world. It is my firm belief this is the greatest mission field in the United States of America.
There’s no doubt secularism, humanism, evolutionism and other false teachings have bombarded the youth of America. In fact, I went to public school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I was introduced to the theory of evolution as early as kindergarten when studying dinosaurs, but it wasn’t until my Earth Science class in ninth grade when it made me really question the Christian faith. You see, I grew up in a very conservative Baptist church. The things I learned about in high school were in complete contradiction of what I was being taught at church. This was a great struggle for me, but God intervened.
During my sophomore year of high school, a creation science evangelist came to my town. I’ll never forget those meetings. He spoke about creation, evolution, dinosaurs and the Bible. It was then when I learned that God’s Word is true, the gospel of Christ truly transforms lives, and what I was learning in public school was inaccurate. The following summer I committed my life to Christ and asked Him to forgive me of my sins. Before then, I hated school, but afterwards I grew to love it. I enjoyed listening to my teachers’ lessons about evolution. God allowed me to challenge what they were teaching before the entire class. During my senior year, I presented two lectures about my faith: “Creation & Evolution,” and “The Bible & Health.”
I believe God’s sovereign hand was involved throughout this process. I realize God’s plan for me to attend public school is not the same plan for others, but I’ve learned this great lesson: The public school system is the greatest mission field in the United States of America. It’s also one of the greatest mission fields in the entire world, if not the greatest. It’s time we start reaching these young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. My only regret of high school wasn’t skipping out on all the parties or not going to prom. It was not becoming a student leader of FCA during my senior year. Even though I shared my faith often with fellow peers, I missed out on a great opportunity to share the gospel. Encourage the youth you know to become active in the Christian clubs their school provides. Let’s reach the youth of America with the gospel!
Pastor Bryan Ratliff is the Pastor at Clearbrook Baptist Church in Roanoke, VA. He is a musician, a blogger, writer & aspiring writer. He was attended public schools from K-12 and has a passion to see them reached for Christ. Bryan will be a regular contributor to our blog but you can also follow his blog at www.pastorbryanratliff.com