Most of us, in approaching our calling/work, would agree that we subscribe to a “work hard, pray hard” philosophy. My question is however, “Are we ‘working smart’?” Are we keeping the end in mind as we work with children and youth? Are we coordinating our efforts and keeping in mind the spiritual developmental levels of our children and youth? Have we clarified what we stand for in Christian education and what we exist to produce?
After reflecting on twenty-five years of work with various organizations, George Barna makes the case in his book, “Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions,” that the most effective ministries to youth have a clear philosophy and an “18 year plan” for working with those in their care. Before I lose some of you who wish to say that spiritual growth of children is “simply the work of the Spirit”, I want to share the distinction Barna makes between transformation and change. He acknowledges that “transformation is Spirit driven, while change is program driven. Transformation is facilitated but unpredictable, and change is caused and inevitable under the right conditions and stimuli. The most effective churches recognize that the goal is to facilitate transformation, yet understand that they cannot engineer it…only God brings about lasting transformation in a person’s life.”
Christian schools and church education began with the idea that we could have a significant impact on the life of a child. In the past several years, some schools have put together documents that reflect what their vision for their graduates looks like. Examples include: the high schools connected with the Society for Christian Schools in British Columbia (SCSBC), Rehoboth Christian School in Gallup, New Mexico, and Holland Christian Schools all have put together these type of statements. These documents are available for viewing in the Member Community Center for member schools – click on this link or go to MCC discussion forum. If you are not a member of Christian Schools International and would like to access the Center, please contact CSI for more information.