Christian schools often take hits from the public that their academics are watered down, or they aren’t preparing students for the “real-world.” I have to say, that rhetoric doesn’t fly with me. I recently read an article called “Why Christian Education,” by a gentleman named Jim Drexler. In it, he identifies misconceptions about Christian education, and I thought it an opportunity to share how ECS is a fantastic example of how we wrap our educational experience in Jesus Christ.
A Christian school is not a place where a few “ornaments” like prayer, chapels, and Bible classes merely complement an otherwise secular education.”
ECS certainly has the “ornaments,” but I have to confess that it is the ornaments that make me nervous. Those are exactly the things that can become wallpaper if you don’t anchor them to LIFE. We ask our teachers to put in their lesson plans for every period how they are integrating the Bible in each period, every day. In our elective called Service Learning, today’s theme for the work is that “The Lord has given you a voice to communicate Truth. Which belief and story will you share to offer hope and encouragement to your audience? How can the ability to communicate and discuss text be used to further His Kingdom? “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:40).” In a Social Studies class studying ancient Mesopotamia, my teacher’s theme is that “The truth of the Gospel has brought worth and dignity to all people and is an obvious contrast to the cultural beliefs and practices that reflect the darkness of depraved man.” Each day carries the arc of the cross and how His life is the model for our lives.
A Christian education should encompass more than the study of religion.
Just because the world may not attribute Truth to the Creator does not mean that it is not from Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 says, “20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.” Test EVERYTHING. Proverbs 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” not “Taste and see IF the Lord is good.” We teach that unless we view the world (whether history, communication, relationships, mathematics, athletics) through the lens of the Gospel, we will always be slave to the convenient gospel. The convenient gospel is the gospel that serves our own comfort, which is certainly not what Jesus died for. When you turn on the devastation of the nightly news, there is Hope. When your friend says that one thing behind your back, there is Hope. When you should have, but didn’t…there is Hope. Thank you, Jesus.
A Christian school is not a “safe house” from the world.
At ECS, we connect the attitude and culture of learning to two phrases: Be Real, and Be Dangerous. A gentleman named Erwin McManus wrote a short piece that I love about ideas like this:
“One summer Aaron went to a youth camp. He was just a little guy, and I was kind of
glad because it was a church camp. I figured he wasn’t going to hear all those ghost stories, because ghost stories can really cause a kid to have nightmares. But unfortunately, since it was a Christian camp and they didn’t tell ghost stories, because we don’t believe in ghosts, they told demon and Satan stories instead. And so when Aaron got home, he was terrified.
“Dad, don’t turn off the light!” he said before going to bed. “No, Daddy, could you stay here with me? Daddy, I’m afraid. They told all these stories about demons.”
And I wanted to say, “They’re not real.”
He goes, “Daddy, Daddy, would you pray for me that I would be safe?” I could feel it. I could feel warm-blanket Christianity beginning to wrap around him, a life of safety, safety, safety.
I said, “Aaron, I will not pray for you to be safe. I will pray that God will make you dangerous, so dangerous that demons will flee when you enter the room.”
And he goes, “All right. But pray I would be really, really dangerous, Daddy.
“Have you come to that place in your own life where you stop asking God to give you a safe life, and make you a dangerous follower of Jesus Christ?
That is my prayer for the students and families at ECS. Not that we would be safe, safe, safe. But that we would be dangerous to the culture of the world.
The Christian school is not a reform school for families who have exhausted other options to solve their problems.
It is my closely held belief that ECS and its staff can not fix every problem. What we can do, however, is help to be the lamp and the light that Psalm 119:105 talks about when David says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” We can bathe our lessons in scriptural reference and still not “fix” anything. But our responsibility is to equip our students with the seeds that only God can grow. The Word is indeed the lamp that lights each step…step…step. It is the light that shines on landscape so that we don’t walk off the cliff. A good friend of mine often says, “Time + the Holy Spirit = Perspective.” We, at ECS, can live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in community with these young men, women, and families, and we earnestly seek to do so! But at the end of the day, week, or school year, we cannot fill the role of the Holy Spirit. Only in God’s timing.
5th-8th Grade Principal
Evansville Christian School