I have this dream. It started way back in 2013 after I was saved. The dream percolated in my mind, bubbling me with excitement and wonder. It soon faded for a spell, but now it is on the rebound. I can feel ideas building up inside me, preparing to be set free to others so that they might take part. I want to connect Christian teachers throughout the world through a single thread: the love of Christ. But I can’t do this alone. That is where you come in. I am merely one man, but through you and the multitude of others following Christ, through the love of Christ, through the wondrous works of the Almighty God, we can start a revolution in the public education classroom. For His glory.
Sound appealing? Read on.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Clint Daniels, and I am a 7th grade Language Arts instructor in the Olathe School District. That would be Olathe, Kansas, right in the breadbasket of the United States. I have taught Language Arts since the 2003 school year, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that I began to let God into my classroom. Better late than never. Since being saved that year in February of 2013, I made the clear cut decision to be bold in my faith, to lead a faculty prayer group in my school building on Friday mornings, to sponsor our school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization, and to attempt to connect the Christian teacher to Christ through this blog.
Every year I choose a theme to revolve around. This year I am stoked to give you the scripture that our theme is inspired from: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 28). How fitting for a teacher to serve. That is our life! Whom do we serve? We serve our students on a daily basis. We grow young minds, preparing them for the real world, not just with knowledge of curriculum but also with character, purpose, and values that will propel them to the next stage of life. Teaching is one of the most selfless professions out there. We are called to serve as Christ served. With humility. Hence we unveil the 2016-2017 theme for the year: Serving With Humility.
Back to that dream spoken of above. For three and a half years, our prayer group has morphed from a Bible study to strictly a prayer group. We meet every Friday morning at 7:00 am in my room to share our praises and prayer requests. We lift one another up through the love of God and encourage one another in our walks with Christ. I LOVE our Friday mornings! There is no other way I’d start my day, and as we sip on coffee and share what is on our hearts, you can’t help but feel God’s presence. In reflection, however, something is lacking. We only talk about our own prayers. Our own praises. It got me thinking … Could we ever get to the point of inviting the unreached in to our room? Are we too complacent with only talking about our own hopes and dreams? Would a teacher that is on the fence ever be courageous enough to stop by my room Friday morning to seek guidance?
I don’t just want to serve our group. I want to serve others as well. Everyone deserves to be invited to partake in this all-you-can-eat buffet of substance for your soul that will eventually lead you to eternity. My dream is for the ordinary teacher that believes in God to know about our group and seek us out, to come to us for support, and to leave feeling rejuvenated by the love of Christ. My dream is for the unreached to be curious about us. My dream is to connect plenty of prayer groups together, all from different buildings, to share positives and negatives that will build our groups together into a cohesive bond, all united together for a single purpose: to serve. To show His perfect love to others. To truly live out the Great Commission, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all Christ has commanded us” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
I wonder what would happen if the Christian teacher would rise up. We are not called to turn our faith on and off like a light switch, letting the laws of separation of church and state restrict us from being bold in Christ. Certainly, boundaries should be respected, but if you are a true follower of Christ, if you are humbled by the way He gave His life to save you, to save us ALL, you will pay heed to His Word. His Word is precious, and it should drive our lives 24/7. Jesus says clearly to us, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5: 14-16).
Did you catch that? We pour ourselves out to others, not for our own glory but for His glory. So that EVERYONE will praise God. Not just the Christian teacher. Everyone out there! The unreached, those who practice different religions, the lost. Those who have never been exposed to Christ at all. That is my dream. If I were granted one wish, I would wish for everyone out there to be praising God because they see something different in these Christian teachers who follow Christ. Maybe that is just a dream. Or maybe it is something more. You see dreams are sparked by a single flame, but they don’t take root until others catch on. And when that happens? A fire is started. Let’s start that fire this year. Serving others with humility. Every step of the way.
(Is there a fire inside you now? There should be. The awesomeness of that first day is almost upon us. Seeing those innocent faces of students, scoping out the scene, wondering what this year will bring … bring them love. Serve them. Pour every ounce of your energy into molding not just their academic success but also their hearts and minds. Start a fire inside their hearts that will carry them further than their wildest dreams. Do you want to see what that looks like? Look no further than Unspoken’s “Start a Fire” video below. See what happens when others catch fire for Christ.)