“…a team of committed Christians experienced in cross-cultural ministry…in the Europe/Middle East region” involved in “education, discipleship and business”
I was challenged by some questions posed in an article published in the December 2008 edition of eg by The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. "In the aftermath of the credit crunch, Mark Greene wonders what lessons we will have to learn about transforming our society and the organisations we engage with."
A TeachBeyond school that “provides a quality, international Christian education that equips its students to influence their world through biblical thought, character, and action”
By Harold Klassen, Educational consultant, TeachBeyond, Abbotsford, BC
It seems to me that the solution to the problem of how to reach the unchurched world is to provide seeker-friendly schools instead of seeker-friendly churches. Isn’t it somewhat incongruous that we have strict entrance requirements for Christian schools while attempting to get as many people as possible to come to “church?”
"Education driven by discovery in Black Mountain, NC" with "16-month, immersive liberal arts program founded on the biblical narrative"
In the appendix to his book, God Our Teacher:Theological Basics in Christian Education, Robert W. Pasmiño discussing some “educational invitations” that are related to the movement into postmodernity. To whet your appetite and stimulate your thinking, I’d like to introduce you to the first of his invitations: return to relational bonds revealed in the Trinity.
“Transformation is central to the journey of faith with our triune God. God is in the business of bringing new life and sustaining life beyond what humans conceive is feasible or desirable.”
What do you call a school started by Christians, using Christian curriculum materials, and known as being based on a Biblical, Christian foundation that has Muslim teachers?...a missional Christian school! It certainly isn't a "normal" Christian school.
By George Durance
It seems to me that transformational education is not easily defined because the construct brings together two words which are in themselves complex and difficult to define, especially in a short sentence. How can we know that the reader or listener is bringing together the relevant underlying suppositions we have in mind to create a meaning like ours?
Education is about change, growth, and development. What happens when we qualify this with a word that implies a radical change in form? Must transformational change be dramatic and cataclysmic? Can it be in fits and starts or even incremental? Does it mean a complete change in form or is something less all-encompassing also in view? These and many other questions are on our mind and leave us shy of anything that has the appearance of being a definitive and final one-sentence definition.
By Rahael Haeuser in OnPractice December 26, 2019
We are modern, technologically-advanced people, yet we are still religious beings. We need guidance, a centre around which we can organize our lives, an ultimate focus. If this ultimate focus is not God, then we will find something else, an idol of sorts. A truly transformational education will help students identify idolatry and discern the idols of our time.
"…a Canadian, Christian, mission organization serving children in developing countries with quality education rooted in a Biblical worldview"
By Todd J. Williams in the ACSI blog, August 25, 2017
Within Christian schools and colleges today, I sense an almost frenetic energy. The pressures are mounting daily to meet cultural, parental, student, and higher education expectations in an increasingly complex social, political, and economic context. The challenges we face seem more daunting than ever, yet what we do has never been more important or had greater potential. To use a maritime metaphor, we are sailing in heavy seas—and are under fire, as well. The temptation to doubt our mission when we are battle-weary is real. So is the problem of drifting off course when so much is required to simply stay afloat.
In times of great challenge and great potential, we must keep in mind some essential ideas regarding our work. Whether faculty, staff, or administration, we need to see the larger issues amid our daily tasks. We must remember who we are and what we do. We must see the whole. We must engage students in an education that is principled, biblically integrated, and mission-driven.
Education is not about the head, the heart, or the hands alone, but rather all of them together. They cannot be separated from one another, because without one, the others fail. Knowledge, character, and service depend upon one another, develop one another, and prove one another.
Schools impart knowledge. It’s what we do. However, students’ knowledge and service are worthless apart from true spiritual maturity. Their character, then, is a critical issue. Character always is. Yet sadly, “character” is a term too often discussed and too seldom demonstrated. In this world, we see at once both a constant need for men and women of character and a seemingly constant shortage of the same. We seek to be encouraged and inspired, but often find ourselves disappointed and dismayed by the failings of our fellow human beings. As a result, we hold very dear the examples of men and women of renown whose character shone forth in time of great need. We also cherish the personal examples of the quietly consistent individuals in our lives, of whom no books are written but who carry out their daily existence with integrity and purpose.
In a day and age when secularism urges us to compartmentalize our lives and privatize or even apologize for our faith, when the prevailing thinking persuades us to concern ourselves only with what is experientially gratifying or personally beneficial, we tend to get both the questions and the answers wrong when it comes to character and what matters most. But the Bible does not. In Psalm 15, David asks, “O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?” He records the answer for us: “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart” (NASB). A “man after God’s own heart,” David declared that what matters most is God and what He demands of us. This is a biblical truth that must be learned, lived, and taught.
We do live what we learn. So do our students. There can be little question that education accomplishes more than simply disseminating information or developing marketable skills. It shapes us as individuals: shapes our minds, shapes our values, shapes our way of thinking about and viewing the world. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether implicitly or explicitly, educational institutions deal with more than just knowledge and skills. Though many claim to provide a “values neutral” education, no educational model is, or can be, morally or ethically neutral. What we know and how we come to know it affect us profoundly: shaping who we are, what we believe, and how we live.
This profound influence makes our educational choices and commitments weighty ones. America’s second president, John Adams, knew this well when he wrote home to his beloved Abigail, “Elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel and creep all their lives.”
Clearly, the Adamses recognized the importance of a good and moral education for their children as a foundation for all of life. No matter what our age or level of education, we take from our studies more than an accumulation of facts. We are changed in some way, for better or for worse. America’s fifth president, James Monroe, said, “The question to be asked at the end of an educational step is not ‘What has the student learned?’ but ‘What has the student become?’” This end result of “becoming” is precisely what makes the organizing principles of an educational approach so very important.
Therefore, education must not be shortsighted. It must have as a clear end something of noble and lasting value. It must be about more than simply data or dollars, more than test scores or earning potential. It must elevate the minds of students so that they may become people of courage, industry, and kindness, of excellence and virtue.
This result comes only of true integration that goes beyond curricular integration. A truly biblical Christian education looks to this end very differently than its secularized counterparts: with the view that both the educational approach and the life of the student may bring glory to our God. A truly integrated education necessarily elevates the minds of students because it begins with the idea that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” A biblical, Christian education points students to the eternal God, our Father, and His only Son Jesus Christ because “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
The light of this knowledge is transformational, changing not only the way all other knowledge is viewed, but also the way in which we think and live. Perspective matters as much as practice. In a truly Christian school, educators must do more than simply shape the mind. They must see their role in shaping the whole person as a high and noble calling with lasting impact. They must challenge students to examine their lives, must care for them in a way that encourages maturation, and must call them to be serious and intentional about becoming more and more like Christ.
In addition to the individual efforts of educators, schools must stay on course as institutions. The missions and objectives of our schools are more than formal necessities. They are declarations of commitment calling us to action, guiding us in our collective endeavors, providing standards against which we measure our resolve and our results. They must be clear, talked about often, and personally significant for each educator.It is essential that we each remember the importance of true and godly integrity, that we must all live, work, speak, and think rightly. We accomplish this by allowing our own character to be shaped according to the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus—not according to popular ethical trends, pragmatic expediency, or secular standards of achievement. By God’s grace, we seek the mind of Christ. We are to love Him, obey Him, imitate Him, and serve Him. This is the life of the spiritually mature. Writing to the Christians at Philippi, the apostle Paul exhorted those believers to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel and have the same attitude which was in Him (Philippians 1:27, 2:8). What more noble mission for life or for learning is there?
Dr. Todd J. Williams has been president of Cairn University since 2008. He holds a BS in Bible from Cairn University and his MEd and PhD from Temple University. He is an experienced educator, leader, and consultant, and he regularly speaks on biblical, cultural, and professional issues. Dr. Williams is also the chairman of the board of governors of the John Jay Institute in Langhorne, PA. He and his wife, Dawn, are avid outdoor enthusiasts and have two adult children, Connor and Caitlin. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
"…a network of fellowship and support for Christian thinkers both in and out of the university"
By Robin Phillips, November 19, 2012 in the Christian Worldview Journal
My dad, Michael Phillips, is a Christian novelist, so as I was growing up fiction played an important role in our lives. His career began by editing the novels of George MacDonald before he branched out to begin writing his own novels.
Though my father was a good story-teller, he never intended to just tell stories as an end in itself. Rather, he sought to use his fiction ministry to draw people closer to God the Father, and to spur believers on to a life of more faithful obedience to the commands of scripture.
Growing up it was sometimes interesting to hear people object to my father’s writing ministry. “Why not just tell the truth plainly, instead of putting it into stories?” I would sometimes hear people say. Other times I would sometime people say something like this: “If I wanted to learn more about the Lord, a novel would be the last book I would pick up. Why not go straight to the Bible or to works of theology?”
Today I discovered an influential educator about whom I knew nothing—Hannah More. Learning more about people who have sought to see a Biblical worldview shape their understanding and practise of education is both interesting and helpful, especially when they are able to communicate why and how they do what they do. Although two hundred years is plenty of time to forget an individual's contribution, it is now possible to understand more of the breadth of a person's influence. Hannah More is best known as a writer and advocate for the abolition of slavery, but education was also an area where she used her gifts to challenge the status quo in education for middle-and upper-class girls as well as lower-class children in Sunday Schools. As a member of the Clapham Sect she was part of a group that played a pivotal role in the transformation of English society at the beginning of the 19th century.
Karen Swallow Prior, Professor of English at Liberty University, wrote Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist which looks at Hannah's life and achievement from a somewhat different perspective than Anne Stott's, Hannah More: The first Victorian. Dr. Prior was interviewed by Dr. Beth Green who is Program Director for Education at Cardus in "Hearing lost voices: Risky friendships and faithful presence." Obviously, I haven't had time today to ready both of the books and the many articles I've discovered, but my reading list just got a bit longer. You can get started with the the interview and then go to the very condensed version at Awesome Stories–another discovery today, Wikipedia, or a host of other sources. Finding out that Eric Metaxas had written the foreword of Karen Prior’s book was an added bonus because his biographies about William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer come highly recommended as well.
"Cultivation leaders who follow Jesus" through life-changing experiences
Transforming Teachers exists to help develop distinctively Christian thinking and teaching that will make a difference in the lives of teachers and students alike.
Teachers can’t help influencing their students when they are convinced that personally knowing the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer is essential to understanding what He has made. They become excited about studying all facets of our Father’s world because it reveals His greatness and goodness—and enthusiasm is contagious. Seeking to fulfill His purposes shifts the focus from self to others. Hope is awakened as the indwelling Spirit gives the power to actually do what God wants. Everything starts to change when Christ is acknowledged as central to all of life, here and now, as well as in eternity.
All Christian teachers everywhere—including parents, pastors, children and youth workers, as well as public and private school teachers—can be involved. Because so many have learned from their teachers to ignore Christ when studying “secular” subjects, breaking the cycle is not easy. Finding resources that appropriately and intentionally connect God’s world and God’s Word can be difficult.
Explore the life-changing possibility of becoming a more Christ-centered, Bible-based, and others-oriented educator. Share resources to help teachers prepare the leaders of tomorrow by example and instruction. Become part of the Transforming Teachers global learning community.
"Impacting Christian school education around the world"
In "Missional vs. Evangelical," S. Michael Craven asked,
What does it mean to be “missional”? Missional means: to participate in the mission of Jesus in the world, to incarnate in the experiences of our lives and our communities the good news of God’s love for the world.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
“…a network of Christian schools with a vision of ‘Bringing hope to people through education and community development’…”
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