When I first started teaching in 1968, I had a dualistic belief system. My life was compartmentalized into the sacred and secular. I took my faith seriously but it didn’t really influence how I taught chemistry or coached my teams. I saw my subject area as basic facts that were devoid of any spiritual meaning. Chemistry was something that they had to learn in order to get into college and get a good job.
This started changing when I entered Christian education in 1973. Since that time, I have been engaged in a spiritual battle as I have fought to bring every one of my thoughts into captivity of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). God has been so good to me as I have seen a transformation of my life through the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
I have tried to share with you how my understanding of education has developed over the past 50 years in the last several blog posts. I encourage you to go back and read last week’s post to understand what led me to writing my book, Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations. By the time the second edition of the book was released, I understood that education:
- was a multi-faceted process
- took place in the home, church and school
- was and is never neutral
- resulted in every person forming a worldview that would drive a person’s attitudes and actions in every aspect of one’s life
By the year 2005, I had formulated a biblical philosophy of education that I believed should be the foundation of every educational effort that took place in the home, church and school. I had the conviction that the home, school and church had to be unified under the philosophy of kingdom education if future generations were going to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. I thought the last piece to the puzzle was understanding the role that the church needed to play in the education of our children and youth. I also was convinced that God was to reign supreme in the entire educational process of future generations.
However, I was still struggling with one question. Will this work in real life? God answered that question in 2005 when He led me to leave LifeWay Christian Resources and join the pastoral staff of Sherwood Baptist Church. It is one thing to write a book on kingdom education but it was something else to actually practice kingdom education in the real world of education.
I had been consulting with Sherwood Christian Academy for a couple of years. During that time, the school had developed a strong operating constitution that included:
- a mission statement that reflected the 10 biblical principles of kingdom education
- six core values that had to be maintained in order to achieve the mission
- a series of operating principles for each of its core values
Before accepting the position at Sherwood, I spent two days meeting with the pastor to share my convictions about how the church and school could not be separate entities but had to be a unified whole. We also discussed that the parents had to enter into a partnership with the church in providing their children and youth with a biblical worldview education. As a member of the pastoral team of the church, my main responsibility was serving as the head of the Academy. One of the major responsibilities that I was tasked with was uniting the church and school together.
The first few years at Sherwood were challenging to say the least. Satan did not want the church and school to be united. He also didn’t want the home to understand the biblical principles that needed to be followed by everyone in the effort to raise disciples of Jesus. For kingdom education to be a reality in the home, church and school there had to be an intentional, ongoing plan to drive the philosophy of kingdom education into the hearts and minds of parents, church staff and school staff.
It was exciting to be part of a training process that included:
- annual staff training on kingdom education that involved the staff members from the church and the school
- a consistent effort by the administration and staff of the Academy to help parents understand their God-given responsibility related to the education of their children and youth
- a continual staff development process at the Academy so that each and every person knew, understood and were committed to a biblical philosophy of education
Of course, we still gave careful attention to helping the faculty improve their instructional strategies, understand and implement technology in the classroom and improve other aspects of the teaching and learning process. Like other Christian schools, we required all the teachers to be certified and the Academy achieved accreditation through regional, national and international accrediting agencies. However, the first priority was to make sure that everything was done in line with a kingdom education philosophy. We knew that if we didn’t keep the main thing the main thing, we would eventually fall into the trap of becoming a quality academic institution that was Christian in name only.
Everything was going great. Kingdom education really worked. We were seeing the reality of what could happen if the words that Josh McDowell wrote in the forward of Kingdom Education became our everyday practice.
The ideal way to help our kids not only to reject the postmodern worldview but also embrace deepened Christian convictions is to align church, home and school into a unified whole that arms our children with the truth and protects from distortions.
In 2010 God, once again, took me through a refining process in regard to my understanding of education. I was sitting in my home office one day and several challenging questions came to my mind. I couldn’t get them out of my mind no matter how hard I tried. Here are those questions that were troubling me that day.
Is kingdom education true? Have I used Scripture to prove my opinions when it comes to understanding education? What would happen if I found out that I was just spinning my wheels and not really doing what God wants me to do when it comes to educating children and youth?
These questions took me on a 6-7 month deep dive into God’s Word. I also read and re-read several books. I begged God to crystallize in my mind what the purpose of education was from God’s perspective. Even though this time in my ministry was very challenging, it took me into a more intimate relationship with the Lord and clarified the message of kingdom education in my heart and mind like never before.
What God has done in my life over these past 8-9 years has been absolutely amazing. My conviction of the need for the home, church and school to be united under a biblical philosophy of education has deepened well beyond what I ever imagined. It has resulted in partnering with Sherwood Baptist Church’s media ministry in developing 6-7 hour video series, Kingdom Education for the 21st Century, that was approved for ACSI philosophy training.
During the 2013-14 school year, God started burdening my heart to step out in faith and use my remaining years to train others on a biblical philosophy of education through Kingdom Education Ministries. It has now been 5 years in following God’s leading in the effort to help parents, church leaders and Christian educators to know and embrace kingdom education in their efforts to raise a generation of young people who are equipped to engage the culture by thinking and acting from a biblical worldview.
One of the amazing things that God has done over the past couple of years came about through what I thought was a typical training opportunity. I received an email request to do a faculty inservice on kingdom education at a small school in Shreveport, LA. I didn’t realize what God had in store for Kingdom Education Ministries when I accepted the invitation.
God used that assignment to form a strong partnership with Pastor James McMenis and his church, Word of God Ministries. It would take several more blogs to share all that has and is continuing to take place through this amazing partnership. The accomplishments that have been realized over the past 1.5 years are mind boggling and include:
- a total redesign and launch of a new website, www.kingdomeducationministries.com
- a subscription side of the website that is providing parent, church leader and educator training on kingdom education to over 150 individuals and/or organizations in 4 different countries
- the filming of thirty two 30-minute videos that can be used by the home, church and school to fully understand kingdom education and a biblical worldview
- a growing number of articles, booklets and other resources to strengthen the home, church and school. A brand new booklet with a challenging study guide called, Contaminated Waters: The Poisoning of Our Children and Youth, is in final production and will soon be added to the subscription website
Over the next several months we will be filming several more video sessions. These and other resources are being developed as God takes me deeper into an understanding of His plan for educating future generations. I am more excited about what God can do as we equip the home, church and school to educate their children and youth by providing them with a biblical worldview education than ever before in my years in ministry.
Several schools and/or individuals that receive these blogs each week are already KEM Prime Members. More schools are joining this effort each day. Because of the amazing partnership with WOGM, I am able to offer this membership to schools and individuals at an extremely low, affordable annual rate. If your school is not a KEM Prime Member, I encourage you to become one today. If you’re not with a school, you can get access to all of these resources as an individual for just a $25 annual fee. You can email me for more information or simply click the Become a Member tab at the top of this post.
This world is spinning out of control like never before in my 72 years here on earth. The home, church and school must be united by a biblical philosophy of education before it is too late. God wants every Christian to address the issue of education biblically! It is the only hope our children and grandchildren have to survive today’s culture.
God has done so much in my life to shape my understanding of education from a biblical perspective. It has been an amazing journey and I am excited for what God has in store for me in the days, months and years ahead. I want to thank each of you for joining me on this exciting journey. All I can say is to God be the glory for the great things He has done!