I was just wanting to get more information on schools in the Lord's church. Our minister is in the process of obtain funds form the church to open up a school in order to teach the children to read. He also mentioned opening a home for the seniors with church funds. I just wanted to know if this is scriptural? I have always thought that you are not supposed to even have kitchens in the church. I always thought that church is a place for worship and not a social gathering. Am I wrong for thinking that the church should not set up a school or senior housing?


What you are running into is set of beliefs that are commonly referred to as institutionalism. What that means is some people get it into their heads that any obligation that God places on people can be given over, at least in part, to an institution to handle.

For example, the teaching of children is a duty of parents (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). The Scriptures are primarily concerned with religious training, but a parent might "hire out" some the education to an institution, such as public or private schools. But even then, the responsibility of the training still lies with the parents. (See "On Being Educated" for more details).

A church is involved in teaching, but on a much more limited realm. It's duty is to spread the Gospel message. (See "Questions About Bible Classes" for more details.) If someone doesn't know how to read, then obviously it would improve matters to teach them reading. But I doubt the minister is wanting to fund an entire school just for teaching children to read. Reading is picked because it can be made to fit under a church's obligations. But what about the teaching of mathematics or science. Is this school going to be involved in these subjects as well? But what authority is a church to be involved in the teaching of secular subjects?

If Christians wanted to join together to form a school to teach children, then that is their prerogative as individuals. We even see an example of this where a man name Tyrannus operated a school (Acts 19:9). But what we don't find is a command, example, or even a solid inference that churches funded or operated schools.

Again, in the care of the elderly, we find that God teaches it is the responsibility of family to care for their elderly. "But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God" (I Timothy 5:4). Again, churches also are given a responsibility in this area, but churches operate under several restrictions: "Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work" (I Timothy 5:9-10). Yet, your preacher is advocating ignoring God's rules and operating a home for anyone with church funds. "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows" (I Timothy 5:16).

Therefore, your preacher is advocating changing the Gospel in the name of doing good -- but it is "good" from a human viewpoint and not good as defined by God. Perhaps it is time to find a congregation interested in obeying God. If you need help locating a nearby group, let me know.