Last fall, I contributed a CACE blogpost titled “A COVID Opportunity.” I suggested that the impact of the pandemic has created an incredible opportunity for Christian schools to serve a population that may not have otherwise considered Christian education. It was a time to connect and serve new parents and students who were looking for an alternative to online/virtual schooling. Fortunately, many Christian schools have been able to successfully meet face to face and serve students and families well due to the sacrificial investment of school administrators and dedicated faculty.
As 2020 came to a close, many things were written about how the year was ”unprecedented.” People were so excited to say goodbye to 2020 and turn the page from a year that was so devastating for millions globally. The flip of the calendar came with the promise of a new year and new beginnings. But one month into 2021, we have experienced more unprecedented events, causing us to reflect on all that is happening in our world.
Reflecting on current events, I am even more convinced of the importance of Christian education. With spikes of COVID cases in some states and countries, new strands of virus that might be even more contagious, a disputed U.S. presidential election, rioting and vandalism in some cities and countries, continued injustice related to race, attacks on the U.S. Capitol, etc., the value and importance of Christian education may be, I dare say, higher now than at any other time. When nothing seems firm, our faith and trust in a Sovereign God grounds us.
As a parent, it is a blessing to send my son to a school whose stated mission is to be a “Christ-centered, college preparatory school, equipping and developing students to effectively integrate Biblical truth and learning into their daily lives and to impact the culture for Christ” (Charlotte Christian School, NC). The training that takes place in Christian schools around Biblical truth provides a great opportunity for students to process everything they are reading and seeing with their own eyes. The Scriptures point to a God who never changes and a hope that is imperishable. Christian schools train students to be leaders with their peers today and to be faithful, effective future leaders of influence in a world that desperately needs the gospel.
In his book A Time for Confidence, Stephen J. Nichols writes the following:
In the first of the thirty sermons on Isaiah 51:8, Jonathan Edwards declares that there is one “sum of all those works in God.” There is one chief work that defines and centers all of human history. It is God’s work of salvation. History is the history of redemption. It is the grand narrative that shapes all of life and meaning. Redemption is the center, guiding and governing the details. There is not chaos; there is nothing random. God has bent his bow, He has taken aim, and the arrow of His purposes and intentions will hit squarely on the mark. . . . The movie playing out on the big screen has not been left to chance. God governs history and moves it along towards His desired end and purpose as surely as the sun rises. The short clip, playing out on the small screen, has not been left to chance, either. God’s purposes for His people, the individual purposes for His individual people, will come to pass. We can have confidence in God’s work of redemption.
If salvation is the chief work that defines and centers all of human history, then our schools should be a safe place for students to study and analyze all they are seeing and hearing in the news–a place where Biblical truth is taught and reinforced as they wrestle with the challenges of the day. As schools, we must embrace the role to train up a generation and to equip students as they move towards their next steps, whether it is the workforce, college, or the military. With students in our schools for 6-8 hours per day, 5 days per week, there is no other institution that has the opportunity to serve to the extent of Christian schools.
Eighteenth-century American theologian Jonathan Edwards concluded a sermon series with this encouragement, words for our day as well:
Let us with like pleasure and joy celebrate the everlasting duration of God’s mercy and faithfulness to his church and people. And let us be comforted by it during the present dark circumstances that the church of God is under, and all the uproar and confusion there is in the world . . . and let us take encouragement earnestly to pray for those glorious things which God has promised to accomplish for the church.
Basking in God’s mercy, let us be faithful and do good work in this new year.