By Roy W. Lowrie, Jr., Ed.D. (1981)
A Keynote to the Christian School Principal
Stability in serving God is commended several places in the Scriptures. Exhortations like I Corinthians 15:58 are appropriate for us Christian school administrators, for it is fairly well accepted that the hardest job in education is elementary and secondary school administration. This is true in the Christian School Movement, for the average tenure of the top administrator in a school is approximately three years.
I would like to share several thoughts, several keys, contributing to stability with you.
- We need the deep realization that Christ dwells within us because we have been born of God. (Colossians 1) Meditating on this remarkable truth makes it a part of our viewpoint on life that is far more than just being orthodox in our theology. There is great strength here, great quieting of soul, great determination to continue in God’s will and God’s ways.
- We need to comprehend the fact that Christ will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5, 6) It is common to refer to the “loneliness of leadership.” That is an understandable and meaningful expression for we often take stands alone. Yet we are never all-alone, for Christ is with us.
- We need the conviction that God will never test us above what we are able to stand. (I Corinthians 10:13) Experience in Christian school administration reveals that because of this truth we stand far more than we thought possible. When the limit seems to be reached, there is more strength in reserve than we realized. This is so in the short, intense, heavy pressure test, and it is so in the lengthy, strung-out test that persists for many years.
- We need to understand that we have angelic help. (Hebrews 1:13, 14) I fully expect to be surprised in glory to find out how much happened, or did not happen, in the school because of angelic involvement. The Lord is our helper (II Timothy 4:17), and so are guardian angels. We do not see them, but we sometimes are aware of their protection when striking events occur.
- We need to trust God when we are afraid. (Psalm 56:3) That text encourages me for it was written by the man who is after God’s own heart, David. I’m comforted to know that there were times in his life when he was afraid. The Scriptures also say that the Lord is a very present help in time of trouble.
- We need to take it patiently when we are wronged. (I Peter 2:20) Most people think that administrators, because of their authority, are always “dishing it out.” The fact is that we have to take far more than we give. When we, our spouses, or our children are wronged, we just have to draw ourselves closer to our Lord. Christ is our example in this.
- We must not allow the root of bitterness to grown in us our in our family. (Hebrews 12:15) When wronged we must trust the matter to the LORD—and then let it go. Bitterness is subtle. It starts small but has the potential to become consuming. It can spread to others. It has a blighting effect on us and on the school. It can be hidden briefly, but not for long. It can become chronic.
- We cannot be overly influenced by the words of others. (I Corinthians 4:3) Paul was indifferent to blame, or to praise. Of those two it’s easier to be indifferent to blame, for we like to hear praise. When we are right on course in pleasing God in the school then other words pale. The words that really count are, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
- We need to be contrite and tremble at the word of God. (Isaiah 57:15) Many books have been written about school administration. The classic in the field is the Bible. It is the source of our wisdom and our strength. No matter what our education or our experience, it is the Word that becomes part of our very being through study and application that gives stability to our lives. May we let it be at home in our hearts.
(Note: I just read the manuscript of Teaching and Learning: An Integrated Approach to Christian Education by Dr. Ronald P. Chadwick. Keep your eyes open for its release this summer by Revell, for it is a valuable book that you will want to have. R.L.)