What does it look like to follow Jesus in Everything, especially when it comes to others educating and disciplining our children at school?
The Church Girl Writes is pleased to present a unique perspective from assistant principal, Jake Greving.
I want it to be known that, up to this point, my formal writing has been in the form of essays, research-based papers, and policy and procedure memos. Three college degreesand countless papershave trained my brain to write very contextually and drown readers with citations and direct quotes. I am not saying I won’t do a little of that here, so a little grace is much appreciated.
Background: Before we get started I think it important for you to know the person behind who is writing about two of the most important topics in life:
- Jesus Christ
**No, not teaching about Christ in the academic sense, but showing what Christ desires for us, of which comes through us in an educational institution.**
I can’t really say whether I did grow up in church or not. Did we go to church? Yes. Did we have regular church attendance? No. Did I understand having a relationship with Christ outside of ceremonial settings, priestly robes, memorized prayer, stand-sit-kneel-repeat? Not by a long shot.
I grew up Catholic and that is where I was baptized, confirmed, and got married. Not once do I ever remember going to church out of want or a personal desire to grow closer to Jesus. I went to church, I guess, just because.
But I digress.
We came to the Crossing after my wife, Valerie, was invited to a women’s conference. That invite, and her subsequent acceptance, may have been the pivotal moment in my family’s faith. I am a different man, husband, father, friend, and professional because of it.
As with many people who attend our church, we have that moment when we think that the sermon* was made and designed specifically for us. My first Sunday at The Crossing was the day after her conference. I was so empty and didn’t even know it.
No amount of __________________(fill in the blank) can fill the void that God specifically designed for Jesus.
Christ was with me and He always has been. He was just waiting for me to accept the love that he so desperately wanted to give…and then prepare to pass that love on to others. (John 13:35, Jeremiah 29:13 )
*Click HERE for the link to that sermon.
(Don’t let the title “Zombieland” freak you out!)
Where could God most strategically place me to make an eternal difference in the lives of many people? I was already there inside a high school of over 1,250 students, staff, and teachers. For the record, I am the Assistant Principal for Hannibal High School in Hannibal, MO.
Having a career in education makes this conversation – the one about Jesus – difficult and extremely important. How in the world do you share your love of your savior in a public place where we pledge to be “one nation under God” every morning, but must tip-toe around fellowship soas not to offend?
Harold Klassen, in a 2008 article from the Association of Christian Teachers, wrote:
“Finding God in the classroom may be unexpected. We have not learned by instruction or example to find God there. In fact, it sometimes seems His presence is supposed to be prohibited there.”
We can look at this two distinctly different ways:
- We do nothing. (Hint, Hint…don’t choose this one.)
- We live our lives with Christ in the center of it, lead by example, and share our faith with others. (LifeGroups can teach you this. Join one!!!)
I must confidently know that what fills my mind and heart will ‘leak out’ in the school and to my colleagues. Christians are to pass on the teachings of Christ to others who will be able to teach others in the future (2 Timothy 2:2) Men are to train up younger men, and women younger women (Titus 2:1–6). This is part of the beauty of the Christian life.
Do I have to walk a very thin line here? Absolutely.
Has sharing my faith with a student or staff member ever caused a problem? Nope. In fact, when I do get the opportunity to share my faith with a student I make sure to call the parents and explain the conversation. Not once have I received negative feedback. More times than not, I get a “Thank you” or “I appreciate it”. This also gives a chance to share Christ with the parent, too.
“Share the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”
~St. Francis of Assisi
As a school, we only get 7.5 hours a day with a student; what they do with the other 16.5 hours is beyond our control. However, if we can model the blessings of Christ, there is more likelihood that it will play out at home and in the community.
It is all about planting the seeds. Inevitably, some will land on good soil (Matthew 13, Parable of the Sower).
You will never know the impact that Christ in education can make unless you are willing to share what you have learned. I could have still been searching for the answers had it not been for my long-time friend and colleague, Jim Coniglio. He stated as he patted his Bible (much to my irritation at times!), “All your answers are in here, You just have to look.”
And look I did.
I must be prepared each and every day to find Jesus in Everything and bring Christ in Education!!!