Published December 22, 2005
In the latter stage of his ministry, Paul planned to go to Spain. His goal was to be on mission where the Word of God was not proclaimed and Christ was not known. Spain was then what public schools are now – are they not?
The Lord has raised up multitudes of teachers whom He has called to be on mission precisely in the public schools. And these teachers on mission are having profound effects.
A witness to students
One teacher has “scriptures posted subtly around the classroom in a modern translation without Biblical references.” Because of the modern language no one identifies the words as Scripture. But the Scripture remains the inspired, powerful Word of God whether or not it is named or identified by Biblical reference.
Other teachers have a Bible on their desks. Many have scriptural daily calendars everyone can see. One teacher says, “On my personal filing cabinet, I have Christian magnets and scriptures.” Still another has “In God We Trust” posted in the classroom.
A number of teachers play Christian music at appropriate times during the day. A special education teacher reports, “One day my students were upset. I could not calm them down. I began playing Christian music CDs. I stressed that if Christian music bothered any student to let me know. No one objected. After listening to the music for less than ten minutes all students became quiet.”
An elementary teacher has what she calls the “me bag.” Each child brings three items that tell something about them. The teacher says, “I brought mine, and one of things I shared was my Bible. I told the children how precious it is to me and how I read it every morning before I come to school.”
During the “moment of silence,” the teachers present a posture of witness. One says, “Each morning I make sure all my students stop what they are doing. Then I close my eyes and silently pray. Many do the same.”
Christmas and Easter are used as ready-made avenues to communicate the Gospel story. One teacher reports that “at Easter we always do a project. And it never fails that a student will bring in a project about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.”
A high school teacher states, “At Christmas I teach the reason we celebrate Christmas. “Invariably, a student will ask me what I believe. When a student asks me a question about my faith, I am at liberty to affirm my beliefs.”
One teacher reports, “Children from Christian homes speak volumes. And God always puts children from these families in my class. They serve as ‘springboards’ to get the Word out. ”
Language arts teachers state that literature gives them the option of choosing selections they use to demonstrate Christian ethics. One teacher says, “When Shakespeare says in Romeo and Juliet that ‘all are punished’ because of the hate between the Capulets and Montagues, I seek to enable students to see the destructives forces of hatred all around them. Then, without identifying it, I lead them to perceive the ethic of Jesus which offers them love, forgiveness and the affirmation of life.”
Again, the teachers are using the model of Jesus. Once He took a story extant in the knowledge of the populace and used it as a literary vehicle to teach His ethic.
A witness to parents
The witness of teachers is not only to students but also to parents. “During Open House,” one teacher reports, “I tell the parents that my husband is a minister and my faith is an important part of my life. The Christian parents really appreciate it. The others just seem to ignore it.” But the witness is made.
Another teacher states, “Throughout my ten years of teaching I have had many experiences that were definitely orchestrated by God. One example: I had a boy in my class who proved difficult both in his studies and behavior. I prayed about how I could deal with him. Finally, I wrote his mother asking if I could take him to church on Wednesday nights. She agreed. By the end of the school year he had learned so much about Jesus. My carrying him to church made him feel special because no other student got to do that. As a result he was performing much better in class. One Wednesday night my husband talked with him, and he accepted Christ as his Savior.”
The commitment of these teachers to be witnesses can be summarized by these two statements: The first teacher says, “I never assume that a teacher or a student knows the Savior, so I am always ready to give a witness for him.”
The other statement says, “As a teacher in the public schools, I have the opportunity to teach and to talk with so many children who do not know the Lord. This is why I have no doubt that God has called me and put me here.”
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