How To Start A Christian Daycare LOGO 800x800

Chapter Three

How to Start A Christian Daycare

Rev. Ellsworth E. McIntyre

Founder of Grace Community Schools & Early Childhood Education Pioneer

Chapter Three

The Price We’re Asked to Pay in Christian Education

This book will not be read, I suspect, by many public school teachers. Some may begin, but it will be a hearty heretic of a public school teacher who will get this far into the book. If there is one out there (congratulations!), hang on. I do have a solution. I do have a glorious plan for “teaching without starving.” Persevere: your heavy yoke of government oppression can be lifted. I have a wonderful plan for your life!

No doubt the majority of eyes on this page peer out of heads full of Christian teaching dreams. You chuckled through the previous chapter, musing “Amen, brother, preach it to them! Show no mercy! Take no prisoners, slay utterly! They are the bad guys; we Christian teachers are the good guys, right?” Well, brother or sister, there is a price in Christian education also, and we must examine ourselves, first searching for the beam in our own eye before we find the speck in our brother’s eye.

If A Church Board Makes Policy

Who sets the policy in the church school? Who decides what is an education in the church? To paraphrase Mark Twain, “After God made jackasses, he made school boards as an encore.” Churches have school boards. Perched high on these boards are the proud graduates of the government schools.

Almost universally, they seem to have baptized their public school Social Marxist with Christian clothing. They believe in no absolutes (“We are not under law but under grace,” they never tire of saying) and no rules (“We will decide by majority vote”). They believe every man is entitled to his own opinion of right and wrong (“That’s your interpretation. I read the Bible differently,” they say). “I am as good as any man” is the credo of the modem Christian. Since Christians believe themselves not bound by God’s law, but under grace, then God must mean to say, “All men are equally sinful or equally good in all respects.” Doesn’t God say that He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)? Surely, the old-time Christians believed in equal­ity before the law alone and inequality in all other respects; but that was before our modem, enlightened, and glorious apprecia­tion of the equality of man and the unconditional love of God.

Calvin, Luther, Knox, and all the greats had a mean streak in them, according to some modem Christians. These greats did not appreciate how free grace can save a person without any resulting reformation of character. So what if our students in Christian schools fall prostrate before the god of chaotic mu­sic—so what if our students act, look and smell like unconverted kids—the important thing is that they know we love them in spite of their sin, just as God does. “Love, that’s the answer,” is a shibboleth of the modem Christian. When our students turn of their free will from their wrecked lives, they will return to our churches serenely sure that Christ must accept them. Christ must forgive them no matter what. Christ will not punish them. No, perish the thought. To have such a thought is to sin against the grace of God (or so they believe)!

All these perversions of the truth are rooted in Social Marxism. They have no soil in the Bible. Nowhere does our Lord promise to hear the prayer of the sinner at the sinner’s choice of time. Instead, our Lord warns, “Call now! Boast not of tomorrow! Today is the day [not a day but the day] of salvation.” Our Lord nowhere in the Bible invites us to believe ourselves saved while continuing in sin. Instead the Lord warns, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience is the evidence of genuine faith. A profession of faith backed up by a changed life is the bedrock of the real saint. All orthodox

Christians of all ages surely cry out in horror at the notion that heaven can be gained without supernatural reformation. I John 5:2,3 reads, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His com­mandments are not grievous.” The author labored for 14 years, from 1971 to 1985, in several Baptist day schools, both as a teacher and an administrator. I found many in secret who would endorse this historical orthodox Christian faith, but always in secret in order to stay employed.

Can the Christian Teacher Discipline Children?

Faulty theology is not the only defect in most Christian schools. Discipline of rowdy, rebellious teenagers is an un­pleasant but necessary task in any school, public or Christian. In a church-related school, the elders’ children present very pecu­liar problems to the Christian teacher. If the elders believe in a God who loves unconditionally, the obedient and disobedient alike, if the elders adore the God who always responds slave­like to the will of the sinner, or if the elders believe that the teacher must always respond in permissive love as does his imaginary God, what will be the fate of the teacher who punishes an elder’s child? Will not the Christian teacher be accused of being unchristian? You’d better believe it! If you dare to even raise your voice, the condemning stone of “unlov­ing” will zing against your head, followed by the stones of all the elders as they gather for your execution. True, some parents will still accept punishment for their own kids, but most only believe in punishment for other people’s kids. I know the outward expression is, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” but the inward thought is that “My child will never need a paddling.”

Not Jesus of the Bible, But Another

The donors of the church must also be considered. My generation and their seniors are not Bible believers, as a rule.

They attend church in an unholy, craven fear. Death hovers beyond the day, but they know only the name, Jesus. The person behind that name is not the Jesus of the Bible, but another person entirely. The preachers know how to open the hands of the donors. He must preach that “Love is the answer.” It is a very old heresy, nothing new.

Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales described a foolish plump nun with a badge upon her breast. The Latin inscription on the badge is translated, “Love conquers all.” By this, the nun did not mean demonstrated, supernatural obedience to the law of God (I John 5:2,3) but instead, a rosy, toasty, glowing good feeling of affection for her make-believe god who forgives all, always and in response to our will alone. Donors love this housebroken, well-behaved servant-god. This god alone can pry open the greedy hands of the “fat cats” of my generation. Every pastor knows this. If you doubt it, just listen to his sermons! Yes, yes, yes, there are exceptions, but the holy minority write books, preach sermons, and teach school to a remnant.

The Bible’s Jesus is not a friend to this world’s churches. If this is so, and it is, then most Christian schools are not the huge improvement over government schools of which they are ca­pable.

If Administrators Make Policies

Our Christian schools are business enterprises. Does that shock you? Most likely, it does because we are taught to take the “not for profit” label seriously. But what happens to schools which cannot make the payroll? They either go out of business or they beg. My mailbox is heavy with letters from such silly managers. I recall a classic missive that gave me years of laughter. The letter began, “Dear Christian friend, As I write this, the drone of the diesel caterpillar can be heard through my office window. We are clearing ground for our new fellowship hall and gymnasium. We need your help, brother,” the letter said. “Summer has come and the tuition from our students has stopped until fall. We were caught short, and our sacrificing, dedicated teachers will not get their final paychecks unless you respond to this plea. Please, please pray, and we are sure....”

What’s funny about that? Well, I suppose a school ad­ministrator knows the students leave for the summer, don’t you? How can that be a surprise? Surely, a manager with an I.Q. above room temperature would be ashamed to write admitting this. What in the world is the caterpillar tractor clearing ground for more building when the payroll cannot be met? If a business­man in the private sector wrote such a letter, he would be committed. I wish such letters were rare and the exception, but they are not. Poor management of Christian works seems the rule, and not the exception. The best beggar is called a “devel­opment or stewardship director.” The practice abroad in Chris­tian education is to run the school into the ditch and cry for help.

Not only are church administrators poor managers, they are very poor in dealing with parents. For example, nearly every Christian school attempts to impose a dress code on their students. I support such efforts, and I believe a dress code is essential to any school, Christian or public. If a McDonald’s fast food restaurant needs a dress code, shouldn’t a school? No wise parent should bicker over such a necessity, but there is room for surprise in how such a dress code is enforced. Instead of a polite note mailed home to the parent or a diplomatic phone call, I have seen children publicly tongue-lashed for not meeting the code. When the child gets home crying about her humiliation, the parent is outraged. Why? Simple: the parent purchases the child’s clothing, and the parent either cuts the child’s hair or takes the child to the barber. Most likely, the parent directs the barber’s work. The silly administrator or teacher is inadvertently punishing a parent. Not very smart, don’t you agree? Yet some administrators can spend years repeating this mistake. As the apostle wrote, “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults....” (I Pet. 2:20). I know where these men learned this foolishness. Their college imposed the standards on them, using similar measures, but there is a vast difference between dealing with a dormitory student 500 miles from home and a ten- year-old boy or girl. The child is not autonomous; therefore, the child is not necessarily rebellious when he shows up with long hair. Even if he is consciously rebellious, a wise administrator gets the parent in his comer before trying to straighten out the child.

The Christian teacher needs to remember that his authority is grounded in God’s covenant with the parents. To move contrary to the wishes of the parents is similar to a mother and father arguing in front of a child. God has given the child to the parents, and teachers are just substitute parents, deriving their authority from the parents. A good rule for any school is this, “No teacher will speak directly to a student concerning a dress code violation. Instead, the problem is to be referred to the supervisor for appropriate action. The appropriate action is always to consult the parent in private.”

Church schools have another flaw to overcome. The best administrators frequently leave for better jobs. Besieged by parents vs. donors, elder’s children vs. school parents’ children, faculty vs. church staff, financial problems, moral problems, etc., every year many administrators, who would grow into efficient managers, simply bum out. Someone somewhere must come up with a way to teach without starving. I am glad you read that, because there is a better way.


Let us consider the curriculum of the Christian school. Does the Christian teacher have a greater choice than the public school teacher? Perhaps, but in most cases, personal experience says no. What about the lowest common denominator problem? Well, we still must not offend the Social Marxist Christian; therefore, we must water down the academic content, so more children can transfer from the public school to the church school. But the result is that the student is given a stone instead of bread. The students of the church school usually score better on standardized tests, but not that much better; because the model is not that different. If we would have dramatically superior results, we must have a dramatically superior school model, and that model can be yours!

Income Level

Like it or not, the Christian school owner faces parents who are not willing to buy his product. The product of the Christian school can be obtained for free at the public school. Because the product is not superior enough to overcome the inferior-free product, Christian education is viewed by the parent as an attractive option, or even a “holy” option, but not as a rule, an irresistible option. “Train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” is not regarded as a binding law. Most Christians believe in the dispensational heresy that God’s law is itself an option. R. J. Rushdoony is in the habit of showing up at court proceedings when Christian schools need an expert witness to present the Christian’s lawful obligation to get a Christian education for the Christian’s children. Dr. Rushdoony is badly needed, because if the fundamentalist were put on the stand, he would be exposed as taking the Lord’s commands as “prin­ciples” or as “guidelines,” but certainly not as binding law. As I heard one Christian attorney put it, fundamentalists have a “preference” for Christian education but not a “conviction.” In order to have a conviction, one must recognize a law that cannot be broken. The attorney was too polite to point out to the assembly of Christian educators why they had no law. As a consequence, his doctrine went over the head of the audience. Salvation by faith does not eliminate the law as the standard to measure genuine regeneration.

Is it necessary that the Christian teacher be asked to sacri­fice so much for an inadequate living? Is it necessary that the Christian teacher labor without a retirement program or stan­dard health insurance? As I stated in the first chapter, I have eight children. I had to deliver two of them personally at home. It was a wonderful experience for my wife and me, but what a terrible risk! Why should a Christian teacher be forced to jeopardize the health and safety of his family like that? One of the busybody women of the church spread the word around the church that we delivered our child at home. She did not do it maliciously. On the contrary, she thought it was wonderful. She was sure that I did it to prevent the child from being assigned a social security number, a number which she believed, was the “mark of the beast.” With wild excitement, she told how I had defeated the anti-Christ. My high school students peppered me with questions about birthing babies. My answers, I now know, may have been too graphic. Another group arose, (no doubt the plot of the anti-Christ) crying for my scalp: “He’s teaching sex education!” they thundered. My principal demanded my dis­missal, but my pastor, not always noted for a cool head, overruled the principal to prevent a church split between the believers in the anti-Christ social security numbers and those wishing to fire a sex educator. I kept my job for another year. Substandard health insurance, you see, can have far-ranging and unforeseen consequences.

Low Status

Not only is the Christian teacher sacrificing a decent living, a decent retirement, and standard health insurance protection, but his status suffers before the parents of his students. The teacher will tell himself that the sacrifice is well worth the price, but what of his wife and children? Substandard housing, sub­standard transportation, and substandard clothing leave perma­nent scars on the teacher’s children. One day the teacher will ask himself if it is right to ask his wife and children to endure hardship. Women and children will compare their home, car, and clothes to what others have. They will not or cannot long ignore the difference. Try as they may, they will be seen as objects of charity. The parents will send their old hand-me- downs and canned goods. The parents mean well, but one doesn’t have to receive such gifts to know that “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” When the Christian teacher sees the pain in the eyes of his wife and children, it is a severe assault on his manhood. Is this necessary? Is this the way it must be?

The Christian School May Go Bankrupt

To the burden of poor job security, no retirement program, substandard health insurance, low status, and becoming an object of charity must be added another cruel, piercing thorn for the brow of the suffering Christian teacher. The school may go bankrupt! Every school that my career took me to was on the verge of bankruptcy. Remarkable to record, every school had no real shame about the prospect of bankruptcy. Financial failure is just not embarrassing for many Christian churches and schools. The general public does not know how extensively the cancer of debt has infected the church.

As a young man of 24,1 worked for a trucking company. All of my young life, I had attended church, and I had a high opinion of the institution’s integrity. Imagine my anger and surprise when the trucking home office sent down instructions not to deliver any freight to religious institutions on credit. I asked my terminal manager if the president of the company hated churches, or what? Everyone in the office smiled indulgently. Those in business know who the deadbeats are. Such businessmen sel­dom speak publicly about the churches’ “sin,” but I must. Christian institutions, as a rule, have poor credit records. Expe­rienced businessmen and Christian teachers should not trust their future to incompetence, especially if it’s not necessary. Using my system, as described in my operational manual, you can place your future in better hands: your own!