Trusting the Process – Be Careful!

th-11I woke up early this morning and checked my Twitter account.  A friend of mine had retweeted a picture and a quote that one of his coaches had posted.  As I read the tweet, my mind immediately went to something Paul wrote in Romans 8.  Before I go any further, here is the quote that caught my attention.

Most people don’t want to be part of the process; they just want to be part of the outcome.  But, the process is where you figure out who’s worth being a part of the outcome.

TRUST THE PROCESS!

We live in a day when everyone demands immediate gratification.  There is no question that more and more people want to be successful but are unwilling to pay the price and make the sacrifice necessary to achieve it.

I thought that this is especially true when it comes to the most important process that can take place in a person’s life.  That  process is the one by which God conforms every believer into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).  As I continued to think about the concept of trusting the process, I found myself asking a very important question.  What determines whether the process is trustworthy?  In response to that question I retweeted the following:

When God is conforming us into the likeness of Christ, we can trust the process because God is controlling it!

The process of conforming a believer into the image of Jesus Christ is not always pleasant.  This process is all about character development.  Most of us want to have godly character but we don’t want to go through the process required to develop it.  That is because character development involves trials and testings as described in James 1:2-4.  When in the midst of severe testing, it is not enough just to trust the process.  What this type of situation requires is to go beyond the process and trust the One who is controlling it.

Processes are very important but we must be very careful when we decide to trust one.  Behind every process are two things.  First, there is always a philosophy behind a process.  Simply stated there is a set of beliefs or a worldview that drives the process.  As with anything in life, there are good and bad beliefs behind all processes that we are confronted with in every day life.

The second thing behind every process is a person or group of persons.  This is important to understand because every person has a belief system or a worldview.  A person’s or a group’s worldview will determine the outcome that will occur from following their processes.

Education process copyLet me take one of the biggest processes we all go through as human beings.  That process is the way in which one is educated.  When boiling it down to simple terms, education can be thought of as a process by which we develop a worldview which will drive all of our actions and attitudes in life.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christian parents, church leaders and educators simply trust the “normal” process of education that has been around since the early to mid 1800s.  We seldom, if ever, study the philosophy of or the beliefs of those behind the educational process.  After all, the process is what is important.  Why?  It is because we see education as the means (a process) to getting a good job so we can have a comfortable lifestyle (often called the American Dream).

So we simply trust the process of education and never give much thought to the philosophy behind the process.  We think that the process is okay as long as our children learn the facts, perform well on standardized tests, are successful in athletics and/or the fine arts, get accepted into “good” colleges or universities, and become successful in life.  However, behind every educational process is a “god” of some type that we will fear, pursue, and serve.  At the end of the process, we will be conformed into the image of that “god.”

There are only two philosophies or worldviews that drive the educational process.  It is either a secular or godless philosophy or it will be a biblical or God-centered one.  What we too often forget is that at the end of the educational process students will be conformed into the image of the “god” that is behind the process.

Unfortunately, many Christian schools fall into the trap of trusting the process without giving attention to the philosophy behind the process.  As I travel across the country and visit hundreds of Christian schools, I am finding that very few schools are conducting ongoing, intentional training for their teachers in the areas of biblical worldview formation and biblical philosophy of education.  Many of them are using the same secular textbooks that secular schools are using.  They are presenting subject matter in the same way that secular schools do.  They have their Bible classes, chapels and mission activities.  But the process is basically the same as in any other form of schooling.

I admit that these schools are doing a great job in most cases trusting the process.  Their students are outperforming students in many secular schools on standardized tests, etc.  For this I am grateful but the real issue is all about the philosophy and worldview that is behind the process.  This is why many Christian school graduates are not going out into life equipped to think and act from a biblical worldview.  They may be excelling in a career but they don’t understand their calling in life (this is the subject for another blog post).

As we go through the summer months, it is important that we take the time to ask ourselves some very important questions about the process of education.

  1. What is the philosophy of education that is behind the process that we are trusting?
  2. What “god” or “gods” are behind the process we are trusting?
  3. What training related to the philosophy of education and worldview formation are we providing for our teachers each year?
  4. Are we merely training our staff members how to improve the “process” of education?grad cap and Bible copy

Processes are very important, but the belief system and the people behind the process are even of greater importance.  Educator and author Neil Postman said that most educational reforms and/or improvement efforts focus on “engineering” questions (process/how we do it).  He went on to say that few people are asking the question “why schooling?” (philosophy/purpose behind the process).

It is often said that efficiency is doing things right while effectiveness is doing the right thing.  The first is all about process while the second is all about philosophy.  We need to continue striving for efficiency but we need to pursue effectiveness as our highest priority.  It is all a matter of TRUST.  What are you trusting when it comes to educating the next generation – the process OR God?

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • I totally agree. It’s the “premise” not the “process” that matters. A process using the wrong premise is a problem.

  • Dr. Eric S. Smith says:

    Our teachers at ‘The Big Lake’– Dr. Lowrie, Dr. Fortosis,  Dr. Haycock etal– taught us the importance of having the RIGHT Christian educational process primarily through what was then called Biblical Integration. The admonition being to have Scripture permeate all school subjects, not just add a Bible class. But how was this to be done? Changing the ‘old ways’ was NOT intuitively obvious to the casual educational observer….
    Meanwhile since the ’70s and ’80s Francis Schaeffer, David Noebel, James Sire, etal were beating the philosophical drum to pay attention to worldview. They encouraged us to be alert to where was the author of the book, the idea, or the process coming from– much like you, Dr. Schultz, are saying in your four questions above. Thus was born the BWV or Biblical Worldview process.
    However, throughout the 90’s and 00’s at the ACSI conventions there was a steady pressure for “hands-on” workshops with less interest expressed (as evidenced by lower attendance there) in the philosophical underpinnings. After all, we are a nation of ‘can-do’ doers– even though God created us to be human BEINGS not human DOINGS.
    And therein lieth the tension in Christian School administration. We administrators get so caught up in the weeds of administrivia that Dr. Schultz’s four questions don’t often get addressed– to the detriment of true, Godly, heart/life changing Christian education happening. What will it take to be truly circumspect Christian educators?

    • Glen Schultz says:

      I am finding that it is difficult to try to teach from a biblically-integrated perspective when we have not been trained on how to develop a biblical worldview ourselves. There is also a lack of training taking place on a biblical philosophy of education for our staff members. When we are not trained in these two areas, we then jump to improving the process (hands-on how to do it). This is because we want to be successful and this allows us to present material in better ways that may keep students’ attention. However, in the end the students have the tendency to develop a secular worldview with a candy coating of Christianity covering it.

      You are right on target with your analysis. Thanks.

  • Ed Gamble says:

    Hell wants me to trust a process. Heaven wants me to trust the Processor. Psalm 1:1-2 & 6; Phil 2:13

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