On Monday, when the students arrive at Timberlake Christian School, I will be starting my twentieth year as an educator. Over the last two decades, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with hundreds and hundreds of young people as a teacher, coach, and administrator. I’ve met and worked with so many great professionals — the adults — the teachers, administrators, staff people, parents, and so many others who have been part of the great experience of working in schools. I’ve met students from all over the world from different races and social classes. It has been an incredible learning experience for me to have the door open for teaching the Bible, history, English, and so many other things.
By God’s grace, I’ve been given the opportunity to teach, both in schools and in church. I hope that I’ve been able to be a blessing to my students, although I know I am far from perfect. But as we had our staff development this week, I’ve been struck by how my view of education, and specifically schooling, has changed over the last two decades.
When I transitioned from public education to Christian education a few years ago, I had a concern that stuck with me as I planned to make the transition. For many years, I had worked in public education and saw its value. I still do. When I thought about Christian education, as an outside observer, my fear was that Christian education was only behavioral training; that it was a process by Christian families to only teach their kids that there was a certain way to act–they were to control their outward behavior (language, conduct toward others, etc.).
These last few years have helped me see far beyond that initial fear. The value in Christian schooling is found not simply in behavior modification, but in worldview development. In most American homes, as a matter of fact, in many Christian homes, a biblical worldview is not demonstrated to children, and yet, that is exactly what we as parents are called to demonstrate to them (Proverbs 22:6). When I mean a ‘biblical worldview,’ I’m not using that term exactly the way some do. I realize that believers in Christ will sometimes disagree with one another on non-essentials. What I mean by the term is that children should be taught that God’s word is the guideline, the lens, through which we are to understand the world, and not the other way around. Christian schooling helps to bridge the gap that exists in this area among many Christian homes. Our job is to help our young people develop an understanding of the Bible, and wisdom in applying it, so that they can face with boldness the challenges that lie ahead of them in life. Christian education has been defined by one writer as educating in a Christ-centered way, “intellectually, physically, socially, and spiritually for life and eternity.” This definition is based on Luke 2:52, which describes young Jesus’ development, and I think it’s a great summary of what we are working toward in Christian schooling.
As I start the year on Monday, I rededicate myself, and I dedicate this school year to seek ways to help each of my students to develop in these ways, through a Christ-centered focus, so that they are not only ready for the life they currently experience and will in the future, but also for eternity. I’m praying for them and seeking to lead each one of them toward Christ.
I hope you’ll join me in praying for our young people. God bless!