How we operate and build our facilities is another way we can do things in a distinctly Christian way. Our values of community and fellowship ought to be evident in the way we plan and build. Both aesthetic value and biblical virtue should be considered. “Frugality” is not often heard in the church today and perhaps because we hear it so little there are more and more examples of schools overbuilding and overspending. On the other hand, it’s encouraging to see schools take long term perspectives on the things they build—communicating the eternal truths taught inside even by the structure. Balance requires maturity, and maturity for the Christian school leader is demonstrated by how faith and scripture informs their decisions—from design to construction.
We communicate a lot in how we operate in the area of enrollment. Whether covenantal or evangelistic, the better we communicate our philosophy the better. If we have a more open enrollment policy, is it effectively communicated such that people understand the purpose and see the great opportunity to impact non-believers with a Christ-centered education? How well does a covenantal school educate its people so that they aren’t communicating an inaccurate description of their philosophy?
There are plenty of other parts of what we do as a Christian school that we could look at—the way we do advancement, how we set tuition, how we do discipline. In each of these cases there is a worldview that can inform the way we do things. Decision-making in light of biblical worldview doesn’t mean that there is one way that each of these aspects of Christian schooling will be done. Rather, our faith informs our actions—and the object of our work is outside of ourselves.
We are all products of a secular worldview, right? We have been influenced by the world both before and after salvation—influenced through our education, through entertainment, by the circles in which we travel. This also means that we don’t always come equipped to make decisions in a biblically integrated way. But this isn’t even possible until we recognize our condition. Just as educators benefit from first recognizing that teaching from a biblical worldview requires remediation, training and discipleship, so does Christian thinking when it comes to school leadership.
I’m particularly interested in more ideas on discipline and worldview integration—Please share your ideas and experience, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Paul T. Neal (paul.neal@cace.) is Sr. Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment at Cairn University and co-founder of Charter Oak Research where he serves as Principal and Chief Research Officer. Charter Oak Research is a marketing research and consulting firm focused on resourcing and supporting Christian schools and colleges, other Christian ministries and for profit organizations. Charter Oak brings marketing research to bear on the strategy and tactics of enrollment and advancement needs of clients to improve brand awareness, perception and sustainability. Paul has presented and been published on: the use of normative data in analysis, respondent motives, trends in education and online communities and respondent quality. Prior to founding Charter Oak Research, Paul was a Principal at Olson Research Group for 15 years as well as serving as the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University responsible for qualitative research on political culture and U.S. Public Policy. Paul has served as an adjunct faculty member at several Philadelphia area universities. Paul is a graduate of Eastern (B.A.) and Villanova (M.A.) Universities and attended Temple University for further graduate study.