Due to the current state of American education, Christian educators must focus even more on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible as we are called out into our spheres of influence so we can glorify God daily. What more can we do to be change agents in this current era?
Changing times bring changing needs and call for changing strategies.
Post COVID-19 enrollment trends in US schools changed dramatically in the fall of 2021. Sources indicate that parents have exercised their choices to home school or enroll their children in charter or private schools in record numbers. Many private, independent schools have abandoned their previous enrollment testing and other admission requirements as parents are seeking alternatives to what their local school districts are offering according to the National Association of Independent Schools (Hoerle, 2021).
For Christian educators in a public school that may be facing an enrollment decrease, one strategy you can employ to potentially discourage this flight is to simply spend more time listening to parents. Help them to realize that you recognize them as the primary educator, which is aligned to a biblical worldview. This can go a long way in helping the public perception of your school and more importantly in ministering to the unique needs of each family and community. Christian educators in public schools can lead the way in being the salt and light needed in this time when public schools are facing scrutiny. God may have placed you there for such a time as this.
For Christian educators in Christian schools, try to avoid the temptation to offer a smorgasbord of choices to compete with public schools. Instead, emphasize the preeminence of Christ in every facet of your program. Your school should be a uniquely different choice from the public schools, not one that seeks academic or athletic excellence above biblical wisdom. One Christian school that I recently visited in a city in Arizona grew five-fold in their enrollment because of COVID-19. They anticipated that upon the reopening of the local public schools their enrollment would decrease; however, they have continued to grow and are adding a high school to their K-8 program. They never wavered from their biblical foundation and never compromised in their pursuit of kingdom education. Glen Schultz (2003) defines kingdom education as “a life-long, Bible-based, Christ-centered process of leading a child to Christ, building a child up in Christ, and equipping a child to serve Christ.” This may be Christian schools’ finest hour! How may God use you at this time?
Changing culture with truth is challenging, but urgent.
We often use Daniel as an example of how God raises up his people amidst a pagan culture. Throughout scripture we can see how he remained faithful to God in all circumstances. He never compromised, even if it was unpopular. Today, however, many Christian bloggers or authors find ways to try to fit our culture and its narratives into a Christian box. It takes discernment and wisdom to know who to listen to or follow currently. Are we content to compromise to conform to the cultural narratives?
With all that is happening in our society and our schools, we cannot just sit idly by and collect our salaries; we must rise up to become the Daniels that God expects us to be. That requires a kingdom mindset and time set aside to pray and study scripture so we are ready for action. This is the time for us to step into the forefront as leaders in building up our schools, encouraging coworkers, parents, and students. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells everyone to work hard, but not just to please earthly masters when they are watching, but “as slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (Ephesians 6:6-7 New Living Translation).” Let us not miss this opportunity to speak light into the murkiness of this culture and help lead our schools. It may not help you win a popularity contest and may even bring mocking from those still prisoners to the narratives driving our culture, but it is what will honor the Lord and bring truth to those who will listen. It’s a spiritual war we’re in, Christian educators, not just a career we’re building. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not with flesh and blood! We’re following a Commander who has already won! Let’s take our rightful place in the fight.
Hoerle, H. (2021) Six enrollment trends to watch. National Association of Independent
Schools. Washington, D.C.
Schultz, G. (2003). Kingdom education: God’s plan for educating future generations.