I had the opportunity last week to travel to Alberta to be part of a Christian Schools Canada conference where two hundred leaders from all over Canada gathered to encourage, challenge, and support one another. It was a significant blessing for me in my position as one of the leaders of LCES, both in recognizing God’s greater story of Christian Education across the country, as well as being challenged to consider new goals and pathways for a school to achieve its mission and vision. I can easily say that the story of Christian Education in Canada is dynamic, exciting, and led by passionate people.
Here are few of my notes:
Christian schools are becoming increasingly complex. The diversity of families and their needs, the educational realities of pursuing excellent, meaningful learning, and the operational demands of working in a positive and compliant way with the organizations around us push us to complexity and intensity. Clarity of purpose and direction becomes increasingly important as we move into the critical era of the third generation of people carrying the goals of Christian education forward.
Christian schools are working hard at things like being sustainable in the long term, being correctly understood in the public eye, and inwardly digging deep to examine our core purpose: what should learning look like in 2016? We do this while preserving the best of our past and bringing in new structures, ideas, and most importantly, recognizing that our present parents and future students live in different times than the founders of our schools. Christian schools are aspiring to be a faithful presence at a time where people’s general trust and interest in institutions is dwindling.
Our keynote speaker, Andy Crouch, painted a picture of people and institutions using God-given power to be a source of immense blessing to those around them. Acting with total authority and simultaneous total vulnerability, allows people and institutions to properly bear God’s image and encourage the kind of flourishing of God’s world that he originally intended. This connects well to our school theme this year of “Build Your Kingdom Here” as we think on ways that God’s plan for a restored and renewed world are visible around us.
Three paragraphs don’t do three days justice, but I trust this gives you the impression of how rich this time was. Christian Education is tough, but entirely worth the struggle if we think off those who ultimately benefit: children being challenged to know, love, and serve the Lord all their days. SJ