In my humble opinion, a young person needs a tripod support system to have the best shot at coming to know Christ and then living a life in service to Christ and others. This three-legged support system would include the Christian home, church, and Christian school. When those three entities partner together in raising a young person, the potential for a positive result is much greater than if one or more of the legs of support is absent. I am so grateful that I was blessed with all three as a young person, and I am also thankful I now have the ability to have all three of these in the lives of my own children.
Some of Oneida’s young people have been blessed with all three legs of this support system before coming to Oneida, but most have not. Many of our students have had none of these three in their lives. Oneida is a unique, round-the-clock type ministry, and one could argue that we fill all three roles of home, church, and school for our students. However, the reality is that we are no substitute for either the home or church. We might be a temporary home away from home and also provide church services for our kids, but we are still really only one leg of this three-legged support system.
Having students around the clock provides some real challenges, but it also gives us great opportunities to minister in ways other schools cannot. We have a vast array of programs through which we minister to our students. If a church has a young person four to five hours per week for 52 weeks a year, they get to minister to that youngster about 200 hours annually. A traditional day school, public or private, gets kids seven hours a day for about 36 weeks a year, and gets to invest in their kids about 1,300 hours per year. A boarding school like ours gets to minister to kids 16 hours a day, and trust me, our students are active for every bit of 16 hours a day. These hours and days add up to about 4,000 annual ministering hours. The point is that at Oneida we have an amazing amount of time and opportunity to minister to our kids.
When our parents (homes) and churches partner with us, we can experience young lives changed for eternity through the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ our Lord. My prayer is that we as a ministry will never lose sight of this amazing opportunity to reach, teach, and send transformed young people off to the world to engage the culture for Christ. Thank you for your partnership with us. It increases the Kingdom of God and makes an eternal difference.