In Luke 6:40, Jesus told his disciples that “everyone who is perfectly trained will become like his teacher.” This verse is a good reason for all of us to have godly teachers in our lives and in the lives of those we love and for whom we are responsible. Hearts are at stake.
What is at the heart of Christian education?
I visited another country this spring to explore the possibility of starting a Greater Grace Christian school. A businessman offered his evening tutoring center for use during the daytime hours for our school. He viewed the school as a good business opportunity and suggested that we hire his teaching staff. When I asked him if his staff were Christians, he said he didn’t think they were.
This businessman was not a Christian, so he did not understand why I had no interest in hiring his kind, skilled teachers. I had to be blunt. I told him that the school would never consider hiring an unbeliever no matter how caring, experienced, and well-regarded he or she was. Why? Because the heart of a Christian school is the Christian teacher.
Christian education is different
Schools have both an explicit and an implicit curriculum. The explicit curriculum is what appears in the formal documents of a school and in a teacher’s lesson plans. The implicit or hidden curriculum is taught through the philosophy, policies, and atmosphere of the school, the classroom environment, and the teacher’s example. Students learn the implicit curriculum through observation and experience.
Schools everywhere, Christian and non-Christian, teach children many of the same subjects: language, mathematics, social studies, sciences, the arts, and physical education along with character development, thinking and social skills. What makes Christian education different is the emphasis it places on educating the heart.
Wise King Solomon wrote “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 26:23) He understood the importance of educating the heart, and that his son would learn by observing his ways. A Christian teacher whose heart has been established in God’s nature and character is crucial in Christian education. For a student to learn the heart of God, he or she must observe the heart of God in action. As Spirit-filled Christian educator models God’s heart.
The heart of the message
Our explicit and implicit message to each student is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Christian educators are to so reveal God’s heart to their students that when He says, “My son (or daughter), give Me your heart,” they do.