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Christian Education: Milestones or Millstones?



By Tonya Gordon


“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea’” (Matt. 18:2-6).


Whether a child is being educated at home or school, the journey can be marked by milestones or millstone moments. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a milestone as “an important event in the development or history of something or someone’s life.” In biblical times, a millstone referred to an extremely heavy grain grinding mechanism requiring the force of a large animal to move it. This exhibits the ease with which such a tool could sink the source of condemnation.


Scripture is infallible and the only reliable source of Truth. It is also crystal clear how our Savior regards all children and how they should be treated. Take into account several verses.


“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps. 127:3).


“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16).


“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 18:10).


Ministries involving children, specifically Christian education, should be approached with reverential fear. No calling that has direct access to influencing and molding a child’s or youth’s mind and heart toward Christ should be entered into casually. Whether a homeschool co-op or Christian school, candidates for employment or voluntary service should undergo a thorough multi-layered vetting process. Even then, a checks and balances infrastructure should be in place to ensure that sound, biblically guided accountability is always present.


Standard Qualifications for Christian Educators and Administrators

  • Have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ

  • Share their salvation testimony and be in agreement with all of the Bible

  • Demonstrate how to lead a child to Christ

  • Verbalize what biblical worldview is and how it directly impacts education

  • Answer positional questions on controversial topics such as social justice, the biblical definition of marriage, and the sanctity of life

  • Trained in educational methodologies and pedagogy


If any of these criteria are absent or weak, there should be a serious contemplation of whether the individual should biblically educate children. Too much is at stake to forgo caution and simply hope that training will develop key areas. Too often, Christian administrators and teachers are thrust into positions of influence out of sheer need and friendly familiarity rather than genuine aptitude and preparedness. As a result, students are the unfortunate beneficiaries of sub-par biblical worldview education and potentially harmful millstone experiences.

Likewise, Christian school board positions should not be haphazardly filled by individuals who do not have a deep passion for or understanding of biblical education. The responsibility of ensuring righteous leadership of a school is critical to each child subject to the policies and counsel of the administration. As John C. Maxwell so aptly stated, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” While surface successes and numeric growth may indicate advancement, oversight must be present to make sure the core fundamentals are in place. For example, student-athletes are held accountable and shepherded, academic best practices and ethical record keeping are employed, finances are properly stewarded, professional development is respected and encouraged, and most importantly, the spiritual culture is flourishing and supportive of biblical worldview training. One of the primary functions of a Christian school board is to implement health monitors to ensure these outcomes are achieved.


Lastly, a school truly focused on investing in children’s biblical worldview development will exclusively regard and cultivate each student’s strengths and giftings rather than treat them as a collective whole. Leadership must resist falling into the factory mindset prevalent in compulsory education and seek to meet the needs of each child in a biblical manner. John Taylor Gatto described it well: “There is not, nor can there be, a one best way to teach a child; each kid is as different as his or her fingerprint. I’ve often thought that God introduced the anomaly of the fingerprint—or of DNA—to hit us over the head with that fact.” In addition to biblical worldview instruction, students should be given every opportunity to be equipped for and grow toward their calling.


The combination of sound hiring practices, a solid Christian school board, and a biblically aligned intentionality to nurture students establishes a steadfast learning institution with a trustworthy and robust biblical worldview. Such an environment lays the foundation for a thriving biblical worldview journey marked by transformative milestones.

Setting out to provide a solid biblical worldview transformational institution of learning is always desirous of milestone moments. Unfortunately, the enemy’s ploy of distraction and redirection from original, well-intended objectives looms strong. We must remain steadfast, stay the course, and be open to collaborative support and assistance to combat such potential attacks. A child’s formative years and biblical worldview maturation should be marked by celebration. Let’s work together to do all we can to ensure that milestones, not millstone moments, are what we are cultivating. If you would like more information on how we may support you by providing biblical worldview training or conducting an assessment visit at your Christian school, please contact us at info@renewanation.org.


 

Tonya Gordon is the Director of REAP and an iLumenEd Christian Education Consultant. Over twenty-six years of experience in public, private, and homeschool education gives her an extensive and unique perspective on pedagogy. She has served in various educational roles as a teacher, state SOL auditor, assistant principal, academic dean, and homeschool tutor/educator. Tonya and her husband, Ron, live in Roanoke, Virginia, and are blessed with three children.



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