How important do you consider Christian education to be? Is Protestant Reformed Christian education valuable? Do you recognize the needs of our schools and consider how you can be used of God in them?
I recently finished reading two volumes by Paul Kienel called A History of Christian School Education. It was amazing to see the emphasis God’s people have placed on Christian education since the time of Jesus. It was important to them to replace pagan education with godliness, to enable their children to read and understand the Scriptures, and to train them in the fear of the Lord. Through many periods of persecution, this education has continued. The zeal for Christian education was renewed at the time of the Reformation. In more recent history, many Christian schools began when public schools became more secular.
Take a look at our own churches. What blessing the Lord has given! Two years ago Lacombe was able to establish a school. This year a new high school was opened in Northwest Iowa. And, Lord willing, Wingham will open a school this coming fall. Besides this, our churches have seen much internal growth so that some of our grade schools and high schools anticipate having to split classes or build extra rooms. Our schools are flourishing!
Are you zealous for Protestant Reformed education? One way to show your love for the children and youth of God’s church is to consider becoming a teacher. I would encourage young people to consider this calling. Parents, if you see a gift in your children, encourage them to teach!
Teaching is not for everyone. But there is a great need for godly teachers in our schools. This year some of our schools had a hard time finding teachers. Because of this, there are some young women teaching who would like to be and should be at home caring for their children. These women have felt that the need of the children of the covenant was important and could not be ignored. The work of our schools must go on!
Already there are many bulletin announcements about the need for teachers this coming fall, and more job openings are likely to come up soon when teachers are given the opportunity to sign contracts. Without knowing exactly who is graduating from college, I would dare say that the demand for teachers exceeds the number of available teachers. There is a great need! It is an obligation to teach our children in the fear of the Lord! This obligation becomes very difficult to carry out if there are not teachers to do the work.
Anyone who has taught knows that teaching is not a simple job. For one thing, it is very demanding of your time. No, it is not an 8:00 to 3:00 job for nine months of the year! Much preparation goes into planning lessons, grading papers and decorating the classroom. And while all of those things are an important part of the work, the most demanding aspect is probably the spiritual care of the children, much like Paul spoke of the care and concern he had for the churches (II Corinthians 11:28).
As difficult as the work can be, teaching is also a blessing. For one thing, at how many jobs are you given the opportunity to open the day with devotions and singing? Also, to see the students learn and grow, especially spiritually, is a precious gift. God uses our teachers for the up-building of his church.
The Lord knows that we need more than just teachers; we need godly teachers. A pastor named Dr. Robert Candlish, speaking for a group of Presbyterian ministers who were beginning their own schools in Scotland, said this: “We (ministers) depend upon the prayers of God’s people. We know that many make it a business to pray for spiritual pastors; we urge them to pray also for spiritual teachers… Many pray for us, and for a blessing on our instructions, but few pray for the teachers of their own children, that God would send among the lambs of the flock a shepherd after his own heart” (Kienel, A History of Christian Education Vol. 2, p. 296).
Pray for those who teach in our schools. Pray for God to provide teachers. And pray that, if it is his will, God may use you in our schools for his glory.