Mr. Bill Stevens
Headmaster, Wilmington Christian School ~ Hockessin, DE
In my thirty years of being involved with Christian education, I have heard it called a number of things. It is an"alternative", "optional", "nice", even . . . "important." Never has the word CRUCIAL been uttered in my hearing. Yet, I believe that the times in which we live, the educational atmosphere, and the current state of the Church warrant using such a word.
Webster defines crucial as, "important or essential as resolving a crisis." When I consider this, in light of what we do in Christian schooling, and what I see in the world around me, I can't help but come to this conclusion . . . that the Christian education of our children is essential to resolving the crisis that we now see in education and, to reclaiming the future of our churches.
It only takes ten minutes of watching CNN or Fox News to see that our country needs a biblical worldview with which to approach and respond to the issues around us. A Christian education is not just "glorified Sunday School," but rather a holistic approach to viewing life, faith, and learning. Every subject taught has its foundation in the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:14-17), and teaches a perspective that God has established from the foundation of this world. In his recent studies, noted Christian researcher, George Barna states, "It appears that most Americans have not thought very much about the most pressing spiritual issues they face." Certainly this statement brings a sense of the "crucial" to the Christian education of this next generation!
A second crucially significant factor is the educational, psychological, social, and spiritual development of young people. Our children (from Kindergarten to young adulthood) need a frame of reference to their learning. I strongly believe that the current lack of stability and security in the hearts and minds of our young people is this lack of a "reference point" to learning. For too long our educational system has become piecemeal and compartmentalized, without a cohesive, driving, unifying force. God provided this in His Son. Bruce Lockerbie, in his book on Christian education, refers to this as the "cosmic center". He cites the illustration of how he suffers dizziness when watching the mesmerizing rotation of a merry-go-round. Lockerbie asks the carousel operator how he stands it all day long? The man responds by taking him to where he views things, from the center! It makes all the difference in one's perspective. Without a center that (Who) holds all things together, kids will not build that holistic framework that God, Himself, deemed crucial to our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Psalm 34:11; Proverbs 24:3-4).
Probably the most crucially compelling argument for Christian education is in the word itself. Crucial has its root in "crux," or "cross." It's where we get crucifix and crucify. WOW! That brings two closing thoughts to my mind. First, I can boldly say that education is at a crossroads. We can keep looking at education in the same old, same old manner ("public school was good enough for me, it'll be good enough for my kids"), or we can make Christian education a priority, both in our church mission, and in our individual family commitment. It's costly to move in this direction, but it's also crucial if we are to make any real change and secure any real future for our children's sake, and the sake of the "children yet to be born" (Psalm 78).
In this expanded view of "crucial" that references the cross, it doesn't take a big leap to conclude that what makes Christian education vital is Christ, and what He accomplished for us on the Cross. Not only is our salvation secured and our eternity is sealed, but, our here and now is held together (Colossians 1: 15-20). Mrs. Stevens and I have had a "rough" four years. Between cancer and heart disease, we have certainly seen the crucial side of life as it relates to our faith. Probably the central point in this "rocky journey" has been the people and ministry of Christian education, in Schenectady, in Eastern Europe, and here in Wilmington, that has made the crucial difference for us! It is through the Cross of Christ, and the centrality of it in our perspective that has made all the difference in our worldview. So we too, have been enriched and encouraged (at age 58!) from a Christian education . . . why not our kids?
As we reflect upon the world around us, and the state of affairs we've gotten ourselves into, the "crucialness" (new word?) of a Christian education in the generation to come may well stand as the closest relative of the Christian Church. Just think of the voice with which the Church would speak in the marketplace of ideas, having such a crucial ally as the Christian schooling of our youth!
No longer an option . . .