Missional: (mis′sion·al adj.) To adopt the thinking of a missionary, and view yourself as someone sent into your culture.
Sent into a brand new culture
Imagine a situation in which your entire faculty has been sent into a culture where every family in the community around you was responsible to provide home education for which they are neither prepared nor supported. To make it more challenging, the children in this imaginary society would not be allowed any social interaction and have to stay within their homes most of the time. You could imagine that most of these families would be experiencing frustration, isolation and struggling to deal with the demands being placed on them. Meet America in 2020.
Whether you are a covenant school with a focus on the spiritual formation of students who are already part of believing families, or you are more evangelistic with a focus on reaching those who are not yet believers, your school is right in the middle of a missional opportunity.
The question is, will you behave as people who are “sent”, or restrict your efforts only to serve your own cloistered school community?
Of course, one of the special things about your school is the fact that you are a community of believing learners. The “walled garden” of learning that you have established serves a purpose and creates a spiritual community within a broader community so that you can nurture faith and model godliness while you help students develop to their potential. Your students are benefiting not only educationally from your private school community, but you are also helping them to experience this crisis in a much healthier way, because your school is staying connected.
The Macedonian Vision
If you’ve gotten through the transition from school as normal to digital education in the age of coronavirus, then another opportunity is calling to you. Nearly every family in your community has been put under stress, and except for those who are already in a school like yours, they are now working, home-schooling, and experiencing new approaches to family life that are both foreign and frustrating. It is almost as if we need to see the same vision of the Macdonian man that the Apostle Paul did, who called out “come over here and help us.”
The talents, skills and educational know-how that exist within your school are a precious commodity. Most people who rely upon a public school for their children’s education, aren’t getting the kind of support you offer, and they also don’t get the kind of encouragement and spiritual nurture that you provide. What’s more, they aren’t experiencing the kind of community offered to your students and families.
If you were to share just a thimble full of the skill and knowledge that your faculty possesses with the community at large, you would not only model to your students what it means to be missional, you would allow potentially thousands of families in your community to get a taste of what your families enjoy every day – even now. How difficult would it be for art, a P.E. or science to be shared in a way that community members could benefit?
Do good and do well
In this unique moment, schools that understand and act upon their opportunity to act with missional intent will not only model for their students what it means to be Christians in the world, but will also have the opportunity to reach many new families. With enrollment curves that have been flattened with the disease response, the opportunity to do something for the right reason also carries with it an opportunity for future growth.
If you respond to this missional moment it will require two things:
1) Figuring out how to share some of the wisdom and skill of your faculty (and students).
2) Sharing in a way that creates a technology connection that will allow you to stay in touch with those you help.
This two-part recipe to helping right now will allow you to encourage your community in a meaningful way, but also to build a relational connection that you can follow-up when the crisis passes.
While your entire community looks out the window of their homes, sharing just a little bit of the educational and spiritual wealth that you possess will open up a future opportunity to serve a larger number of families in your community. You can “do good” with the right motive, and “do well” as a result. What would happen if you could help some families in your community to get ideas about better learning at home, the joy of discovery, or simply experiencing creativity with your unique school flair? What kind of relationships could you develop by offering some encouragement to parents who are struggling with a sense of isolation and depression as they wrestle with education in the coronavirus era?
It might be more than just an option. It might be a calling.
Latest posts by David Mills (see all)
- Four Keys to Help you Rebound Faster Online - June 4, 2020
- What is a Content Management System (CMS) and do you need one? - June 4, 2020
- Do you need a second website or microsite to boost your marketing? - June 4, 2020