One of the things that distinguishes Christian schools is the opportunity that teachers have to openly address matters of faith. This can be done in classrooms, where a Christian worldview can very intentionally be integrated into the material that is taught, into the way the classroom is structured, into the way students and teachers interact with each other, and into the way students and teachers hold each other accountable. It can also be done in chapels, in classroom devotions, and in staff room devotions. When our faith is evident in all that we do in schools, students will see a picture of what an authentic Christian faith can look like. It is always our prayer as Christian educators that students will then be drawn to accept that faith as their own and will dedicate all that they are and do to the service of God.
One of the challenges in all of this is that we need to recognize that Christian schools are not first of all places for evangelism. There is a temptation to hold up the devotional life of the Christian school as the only thing that makes Christian education worthwhile. But to do that would risk turning schools into places of indoctrination where the freedom of students to explore God’s world is compromised. Schools instead should be places where students can, in age-appropriate ways, be challenged to ask any questions and test any answers to those questions. Christian schools are places where Jesus’s invitation to follow him becomes the context of all studies and all activities, including the school’s devotional life. That invitation permeates everything we do in our schools, and the challenge for Christian educators is to be Spirit-led guides and models for the students as they grow in their understanding of what Jesus’s invitation means for them.
It is the hope of all the contributors to this issue of CEJ that the ideas presented here will be of help to Christian educators as they seek to lead their students to see and to serve Jesus faithfully. We hope that these ideas will stimulate conversations in staff rooms that will enable us to serve and lead our students more effectively as they grow in their faith.