Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of speaking in several different venues. Whether preaching in a church, conducting a parent seminar or performing professional staff development for a Christian school, there is one thing that I am more certain of than at any other time in my life and ministry. I am more convinced than ever before that the home, church and school must unite with each other and address the issue of education biblically.
This became evident when I attended an administrator roundtable hosted by Dr. Sonny Sherrill at North Raleigh Christian Academy. Dr. Larry Taylor, President of ACSI, presented the opening keynote address. He shared one of the domains of ACSI’s Flourishing School Model in his presentation. However, before explaining the model, he stressed something else that was critically important.
Dr. Taylor emphasized that the key to the effectiveness of the Flourishing School Model (illustrated by a tree) is the soil in which the model is planted. The soil, according to Taylor, represents the philosophy of education by which the school operates. Of course, the only philosophy of education that will allow the Model to flourish is a biblical one or, as Dr. Taylor said, Kingdom Education™. One of the main tasks of a Christian school administrator is to make sure the soil is properly prepared so that the school can flourish.
This is the same message that I have presented to parents, pastors and Christian educators for many years. This is why I developed my KEM Prime Member website, have written a three-book series on Kingdom Education™ and started conducting a Kingdom Education™ Summit. The most important thing that we must all do is to know and embrace a biblical philosophy of education in the home, church and school.
If we fail in this effort, the world will continue to capture the hearts and minds of the majority of our children and youth. We cannot afford to delay any longer in addressing the issue of education biblically. Dr. H.B. Charles, Jr made a profound statement in a sermon he delivered last week. He stated,
While you wait to teach your children truth, the world will not wait to teach them lies.
Every educational effort is based on some philosophy of education. The goal of any philosophy of education is the same — the discipleship of the learner. All education is aimed at making our children disciples of someone or something. This was clearly stated in Alan Bloom’s classic book, The Closing of the American Mind.
Every educational system has a moral goal that it tries to attain and that informs its curriculum. It wants to produce a certain kind of being.Even our efforts to follow best practices in teaching or to develop the most up-to-date instructional designs and strategies are influenced, either for the good or bad, by the educational philosophy undergirding them. Becky Aniol recently posted that behind every form of education is a theology.
Behind every educational methodology is an educational philosophy; behind every educational philosophy is a theology of the nature of the child, the role of the teacher, and the aims of learning.
In an earlier blog, I wrote how there is only one way to develop a biblical philosophy of education. It requires every parent, pastor and teacher to take up daily residence in God’s Word. So often, I find Christians looking for a better program or technique in their efforts to educate the next generation. However, we must understand a truth that the late R.C. Sproul understood when he wrote,
I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a technique, in anything and everything except where God has placed it: His Word.
Unfortunately, we sometimes lose our distinctiveness by trying to be “relevant” in our efforts to reach the world. Rod Dreher warns about the danger of trying to reach the world by looking like the world when he wrote,
Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top…The sad truth is, when the world sees us, it often fails to see anything different from nonbelievers. Christians often talk about “reaching the culture” without realizing that, having no distinct Christian culture of their own, they have been co-opted by the secular culture they wish to evangelize (emphasis mine).
This can also be true for Christian schools. In our efforts to keep up with the most up-to-date methodologies of teaching and learning we fail to keep our biblical distinctive that comes from operating from a well-developed biblical philosophy of education. We devote many hours to training our teachers on methods of teaching with little time left over to make sure every teacher has developed a biblical worldview and fully understands a biblical philosophy of education (Kingdom Education™).
I am all for Christian schools striving to use effective teaching strategies and incorporating today’s technology in the classroom. However, the first priority for every Christian school must be to prepare the soil biblically so that there is a firm foundation that allows the school to flourish.
It is my prayer that many more Christian schools will become KEM Prime Members so that board members, administrators, teachers and parents can use the resources available on the member site to develop a biblical worldview and philosophy of education. In addition to becoming KEM Prime Members, I am encouraging Christian school and church leaders to attend one of this summer’s two Kingdom Education™ Summits. At the Summits, we will work together and develop strategies to empower parents, engage churches and transform schools through Kingdom Education™. We can’t delay in doing this or else it may be too late!