Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the definition and goals of Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the role of the teacher in Christian education.

Christian Education and the Teacher

Any teacher, whether a parent, pastor, or peer, has immeasurable responsibility and influence on the life of a student. Educators have the responsibility to first emulate the actions and outcomes to which they wish their pupils to attain and then to teach those actions and outcomes. With this responsibility comes the duty to be a model and mentor. Christian educators must model, first and foremost, their own relationship with the Lord. Whatever teachers want to see produced in their students, they must strive first to be themselves.[1] If teachers wish to see godly character, such as humility, a servant’s heart, diligence, discernment, love, and faithfulness (Eph. 4:13-16, 5:1-21; Rom. 12:9-21; Col. 3:1-17; 1 Thess. 4:1-7)[2], then they must exhibit and be striving for those characteristics in their own lives. The Christian educator must not only function as a model, but as a mentor as well. Educators must intentionally look for and create opportunities to mentor students. The Christian educator can do this by teaching the Bible and biblical principles to the student (Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; Titus 2; James 3:1)[3].

A father can practice this principle by intentionally asking probing questions to see how his son is doing spiritually while playing a game of catch. A mother can utilize this principle of modeling and mentoring by taking her daughter out shopping or for coffee and intentionally asking her how school, relationships, and other things are going in her life. The youth leader can model and mentor by taking a teenager along with him for daily errands and projects, while using this time to purposefully engage with the teenager about their spiritual life. This concept causes the relationship between student and teacher to be considerably farther reaching than the classroom or formal setting.[4]

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the role of the teacher is in Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, check it out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Student. 

[1] Ibid., 270-272

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 978, 948, 984, 987

[3] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 977-978, 992, 996, 998, 1012

[4] George R. Knight. Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2006), 218-221