Just Communities: Christians & Education - Part 1
Aug 05, 2019
The ServeRDU team is excited to announce the relaunch of GoMentor this fall. To kick things off, this is the first in a four-part series focusing on education and why Christians ought to be involved in the education of all the children in our communities.
Jesus launched his word and deed public ministry by quoting Isaiah’s prophecy that he would come “proclaim[ing] liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19 ESV). God’s law displays his desire to not only restore us spiritually, but holistically, so that every person would have the opportunity to flourish as God intended us to flourish. God’s expectation for his people is that we would take action to ensure that everyone in society (especially the vulnerable and oppressed) has what they need to thrive-- that’s what Biblical Justice means.
We believe that all students have value and purpose because they are created in the image of God and have potential for academic, emotional, and spiritual success. We also believe that as Christians we ought to care about all of the children in our communities and their educational opportunities, and that caring should move us to action. So, where educational disparities exist along economic, racial or geographic lines, Christians ought to engage as a matter of Biblical Justice. In Christian Mission in the Modern World, John Stott says,
When any community deteriorates, the blame should be attached where it belongs: not to the community that is going bad but to the church that is failing in its responsibility as salt to stop it from going bad. And the salt will only be effective if it permeates society, only if Christians learn again the wide diversity of divine callings, and if many penetrate deeply into secular society in order to serve Christ there. (31)
God’s expectation for his people is that we display his kingdom values and bring joy to the city (Jeremiah 29 and Acts 8). How we engage, not if, should be our only question.
Teachers are the most important school-based factor in student achievement and are the essential foundation of the American education system. High-quality teachers can help offset the disadvantages of a student’s low socioeconomic background. Mentors are also a vital part of helping kids thrive. Mentors are caring adults who see and communicate the value of their mentees as people made in the image of God and offer the support to discover and realize their potential as an image bearer. Being a teacher, mentor or educational professional are some of the most influential and important roles in communities and therefore should be strategic places for Christians to intersect with our community. In our next article, we will look at how education played a vital role in early missions and reshaped the future of those communities.
As schools all around the Triangle begin their school year, let’s pray for educational professionals and people who serve our schools, many of whom sacrifice a great deal to serve in their roles. If you are interested in serving through one of our ServeRDU teams at a local school as a mentor, assisting a teacher in their classroom, or providing supplies or meals throughout the year, please sign up for ServeRDU Week and join one of the service projects at a school your campus is serving. While you are there you can learn more about what is happening throughout the year. If you have additional questions, please contact the Mobilizer at your campus or go to the ServeRDU page on the website. May this school year be filled with stories of Summit people intentionally engaging local schools and sacrificially serving our community!