When I think of a Christian education leader who combines the best of prophet, priest, and king leadership, my mind turns to Ron Polinder. Formed by the routine and discipline of farm life and educated in K-18 Christian schools, Ron is someone whose life and career passionately reconciles his deep faith with his vocational practice. Along with many others, I count myself a beneficiary of his encouraging, astute, and gracious manner each time we have interacted over the years.
Ron has been a fearless and prophetic voice in the Christian education community and has walked his talk. He demonstrates a priestly heart of compassion that comes from his desire to be Christlike and his personal suffering and loss. His ability to connect belief and life, philosophy and faith have made him a strategic, big picture, kingly leader. Ron’s work and life exemplify the best of these three critical aspects of leadership. This Kouses and Posner quote certainly rings true for Ron: “Leaders envision the future, and enlist others in the dream.”
In this video from the Engage conference held in October 2021, you will hear Ron’s accumulated wisdom distilled from 70 years in Christian education in 10 succinct, humorous, and touching points. Ron closes his keynote expressing his personal and passionate desire for schools that bear Christ’s name:
Prepare our students like never before to go to their neighbors–or the ends of the earth–with heads, hearts, and hands shaped by principals and teachers, like you here today, sending forth graduates bearing witness to the love of God, and the good news of the Gospel!
And all God’s people said–“AMEN!”
Excellent perspective of Christian Education! Can’t we clone him?
Didi–how sweet of you! It has been too long since we swapped stories and laughter during long ago Dallas visits. Always so grateful for your friendship with sister Marge, hanging around the margins of that for a few hoots.
Mr. Polinder was my principal. While I was under his leadership, he spoke life in me. As I was watching this video, I found myself saying, “Amen!” I quickly discovered he is where I got a lot of my understanding of Christian education. I thank God for Mr. Polinder’s love for God and others (this is me).
Oh Kent, I remember visiting your 7th grade Civics class. You asked the best questions. And you still are! Appreciate our friendship and your contribution to the world of Christian Ed.
Friend Ron Polinder shares in such a positive manner! I liked his emphasis on Scripture, the Catechism, and Singing. One can tell that he lives his faith! Praise the Lord for a man like Mr. Polinder who promotes Christian education. Such A Blessing To Know Him! I even served on a CSI Committee to evaluate Christian School. in the Northwest that included friend Ken Bootsma. What wonderful memories!! … George
Ron: I believe that I have a wrong email address for you. What is your phone number, please? Het Beste Mit Luv … George