Christian School Leadership: Perception and Reality
Welcome, Christian Educator! I’m so glad you’ve found my blog and hope it becomes an important tool for your Christian school leadership. We all know of some Christian schools that are complete standouts, known for academic excellence and sought after by believers and unbelievers alike. Unfortunately, this is not the reputation of all Christian schools.
Like it or not, Christian educators sometimes have a reputation of being behind the times or unable to get a public school job. Implied is the idea that Christian schools are sub-par, unable to provide a fantastic scholastic experience for our kids.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of this perception.
More, I’m frustrated that it sometimes represents reality. We serve the God of the universe, yet all too often we just scrape by. We work extremely hard, but we have fewer resources and are stretched almost to the breaking point as school leaders. Should this be our legacy? Of course not, but how do we change our reality? We want to be at the front of our field, utilizing the latest research-based practices, but who has time to sort through it all?
In the beginning of my career as a full-time Christian school administrator, I worked around the clock, staying late each day, then working at home until bed. The weekends were no different. There was at least one occasion in which I stayed at work through the early morning hours! That is craziness, but there was so much to do and not enough time to do it all. I know some of you recognize the struggle and have experiences to match.
With a schedule like that, how is a Christian school leader supposed to find the time to research educational methods and trends?
That’s where this website comes in. I am, and always have been, a giant nerd. I love to read educational literature in my free time and attend any educational conference I can (sitting in the front of the room, of course). My desire is to use my nerd status to support fellow Christian educators by combing through the latest trends and helping you choose which ones best fit your current needs.
Of course, all this will be done with an eye on Scripture, seeing how educational trends line up with our worldview and ensuring we lead in Christ-honoring ways.
We’ll combine current METHODS with biblical MEANING to raise up a generation of leaders.
Inspiration from Nehemiah for Christian School Leadership
As we think of Christian school leadership, let’s turn our minds to Nehemiah. He’s likely a familiar biblical leader, known for his work to restore the wall around Jerusalem after it had been destroyed and its people exiled. A city’s walls were a sign of its strength and security, so their destruction revealed the mighty loss the Jewish people had taken. Further, it left them vulnerable to future attack.
Upon hearing of the wall’s destruction and the embarrassing and vulnerable position of Jerusalem and the remnant there, Nehemiah, the king’s cupbearer, petitioned for the ability to return to his homeland and oversee the rebuilding of the wall and its gates.
Nehemiah’s Challenges and Ultimate Success
Nehemiah’s work, much like ours, was not without opposition. Just as some call Christian education ineffective and a lesser version of a secular school’s program, enemies mocked Nehemiah and the workers, calling them feeble and ill-equipped for the work at hand. When mockery didn’t stop the project, the enemies plotted an attack. Meanwhile, his workers had grown discouraged and tired.
Nevertheless, Nehemiah learned of the planned attack and set half the men as a guard while the other half continued the work on the wall. Those carrying materials carried a sword in one hand and the supplies in the other. The workers also wore a sword, ready to defend their work when necessary.
Nehemiah’s people were spread out far away from each other as they worked around the city. Perhaps we could say they were spread thin, much like the Christian educator. Though it was difficult to defend themselves, Nehemiah knew God would fight for them (Nehemiah 4:20b) and encouraged his people saying,
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b
When the work was nearly completed, the opposition tried a new approach. They attempted to lure Nehemiah away from the work with plans to harm him. In wisdom, Nehemiah responded,
“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3b.
Finally, just fifty-two days later, due to God’s sovereignty, the workers’ dedication and effort, and Nehemiah’s leadership, the wall was completed. Nehemiah 6:16 NIV states, “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
Christian School Leadership Challenges and Ultimate Success
Like Nehemiah, Christian school leaders and teachers are surrounded by brokenness as families fracture and our society increasingly consists of people who are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power” 2 Timothy 3:2-4a.
This work of fortifying our children against the views and lifestyle of the world and empowering them to impact it for Christ is daunting and not without opposition. We, too, are mocked. We, too, are increasingly under attack through regulations and threats to funding. And we, too, could easily become distracted from the important things or discouraged with the work and leave it for something easier or just plod along towards retirement.
This is where our inspiration from Nehemiah comes in. Whether administrators or teachers, we, too, can adopt the mindset of “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down!” as we fight for the next generation of believers.
Let’s do this work together as we look at the latest trends in education and evaluate their appropriateness for our school settings. I want to be your ally as we work together living out our faith through Christian education- to God’s glory!
As Christian School Administrators and Teachers, let’s combine methods with meaning to raise up a generation of leaders!
Want to Go Deeper?
Download the FREE reflection/discussion guide or visit my store on TPT to purchase everything you need to launch a Wall Warriors theme for your school year. To share with teachers, find the shortened devotional here.