In my career I have had the opportunity to work in both public and Christian education. We need Christian educators in both places and I have had opportunities to further God’s kingdom in both places. However, here are a dozen unique opportunities that Christian school educators enjoy:
- Teaching students the joy and pleasure to be found in glorifying God by knowing him and enjoying him both now and forever.
- Showing the sovereignty of God over all things, understanding creation, man, and God in proper relationship—that there is no division between sacred and secular and seeing that all things belong to God.
- Helping kids understand how all things were created and broken but are now being redeemed and restored through Jesus Christ.
- Asking truly essential questions, discussing the difficult questions of life—no holds barred, no areas off limit, being able to relate it to the Source of Truth.
- Offering a holistic educational experience—no divorcing of body and soul, mind and spirit.
- Helping students understand that our desire for excellence in thought and behavior is motivated by a desire to please God, not just by economic or citizenship reasons.
- Applying a foundational knowledge of the Bible and faith practices together across all disciplines and aspects of life.
- Modeling faith for kids and working together with others who strive to do the same.
- Helping students see all of life as worship—and vocation as calling to serve God with excellence.
- Articulating a God-centered perspective on success versus human striving for excellence and a me-centered purpose for fulfillment in life.
- Examining all learning from multiple angles in the light of God’s Word versus only politically correct angles.
- Teaching students to memorize and engraft God’s Word into their hearts and lives.
I wrote recently to a friend in ministry: “He could do it without us, but He allows us to participate in the coming of His kingdom – what joy!!” I hope in this new year you luxuriate in the joys, opportunities, and freedoms you have been given. However, we may not always see results, and in fact will over the course of this year grow weary and discouraged. I have found the truth of these words by Thomas Merton (source: The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters by Thomas Merton) so helpful to put it all in the proper perspective:
“Do not depend on hope of results.
When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on,
essentially an apostolic work,
you may have to face the fact
that your work will be apparently worthless
and even achieve no results at all,
if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect…
The big results are not in your hands or mine,
but they suddenly happen,
and we can share in them;
but there is no point in building our lives
on this personal satisfaction,
which may be denied us and
which after all is not that important…
All the good that you do will not come from you
but from the fact that you have allowed yourself,
in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love…
If you can get free from the domination of causes
and just serve Christ’s truth,
you will be able to do more
and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments.
The real hope then is not in something we think we can do,
but in God who is making something good out of it
In some way we cannot see.”
Many blessings on your new school year!
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).