Last week we looked at several challenges that that threaten the sustainability of Christian schools. These are very real obstacles that all Christian schools are already facing or will face in the near future. Several readers left some excellent comments. To see these comments you can simply click here.
I shared with you three categories of threats that must be overcome if Christian schools are going to survive in the years to come. These three categories of threats are:
- Cultural Threats
- Funding Threats
- Leadership Threats
Even though these three categories of threats are real and must be overcome by Christian school leaders, there is an even bigger threat to the future success of Christian schools. It is my belief that if Christian schools lose their biblical distinctiveness, they will fail. The key to the sustainability of Christian schools is determined by whether of not God’s hand of favor rests on them. If He removes His hand of favor, Christian schools will not be able to survive the cultural, funding and leadership threats that exist.
God’s Word provides us with countless examples of His people facing insurmountable obstacles to their very survival. I believe we can learn some very valuable lessons from some of these examples as to what it is going to take for Christian school leaders to survive the challenges that seem to be threatening our very existence.
Surviving Wilderness Living
We are all familiar with the amazing account tracing God’s hand in bringing Israel out of bondage and into the Promised Land. In Numbers one finds God’s people on the brink of blessing. Moses sends twelve leaders to scope out the land God had given to them. It is important to remember that all twelve leaders saw the same cultural challenges facing Israel – fortified cities, well-trained and equipped armies, and giants in the land.
Two of these leaders chose not to be overwhelmed by these real threats to their success in taking possession of the land. Instead, they purposed in their hearts to trust God and act in faith on His promises. After 40 years of wilderness living, Joshua and Caleb were the only two people out of an entire generation of Israelites who sustained wilderness life. When the Israelites finally went in to take possession of the land, the same threats were still present. Yet God gave them victory in every battle as long as they obeyed Him and pursued His mission.
A second account that provides Christian school leaders with the key to sustainability is found in the Gospels. Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a fierce storm while at sea one night. The storm was so fierce that not only were they not making any progress to get to their desired destination but they were also in danger of their boat sinking and possible death to all who were aboard.
In the middle of this life and death struggle, Jesus came toward them, walking on the raging waters. Scripture then explains how Peter obeyed God’s call, stepped out of the boat and walked on the water toward the Master.
It must be noted that when Peter got out of the boat, the sea was not calm. God did not still the waters and then call Peter to come to Him. The storm and the threat presented by the rough waters were still very real. However, when Peter kept his focus on Christ, he actually walked on the water toward the Lord.
It was only when he started focusing on the threat of the rough seas around him rather than on the answer to this threat, Christ, that he was overcome and began to sink. Fortunately, he came to his senses and called out to Christ to save him and the Lord brought him back to the safety of the boat. God expects Christian school leaders to remain focused on Him and His mission for their schools, even when they are walking on rough seas.
Surviving the Culture
The final example I want us to look at is taken from the life of Ezra. Ezra faced seemingly insurmountable threats to the sustainability of the mission God had given him. However, we find God used a pagan king to provide Ezra with all of the funds, resources and protection he needed to achieve his mission. Ezra 7:9-10 uncovers the secret to Ezra’s success.
…the good hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. NASB
For Ezra, the key to overcoming the obstacles he faced was found in the fact that God’s hand of favor rested on all he did. There was a reason why Ezra experienced God’s sustaining provision. Ezra persevered because he had purposed in his heart to:
- Study God’s Word
- Obey God’s Word
- Teach truth to all the people
This pattern of living must be true for Christian school leaders if they are going to experience God’s hand of favor on them and be able to thrive in today’s postmodern and anti-Christian culture. There are cultural, leadership, and funding threats to the sustainability of Christian schooling looming on the horizon. These treats are real and must be accurately identified. However, behind all of these threats is the main threat to our continued viability and success.
We must get back to the basics and the biblical foundations on which the modern Christian school movement was started. Then and only then will God’s hand of favor be on Christian schools and He will guide us on how to tackle these other challenges and obstacles. Next week I want to share with you several keys that will determine whether Christian schools will survive the current and future threats to their existence.