Core scripture: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
Message: Pop quiz. How confidently can you answer the following questions? I will try to make this as easy as possible, so we will go with true/false. Here we go … Good luck!
- You are allowed to keep a Bible in your classroom library.
- Teachers are not allowed to read from the Bible during class.
- Students can pray together with each other at lunch.
- Teachers can promote church events in the teachers’ lounge.
- Students can participate in Bible studies at lunch.
- A Language Arts teacher could use a parable of Jesus to explain what an analogy is.
- Christian music is not allowed to be played in the classroom.
- It is legally permissible to call Christmas Break or Easter by its name.
- Students are not allowed to mention the name of Jesus in the classroom.
- We can teach the Bible as long as it is objective and non-devotional.
How did you do? The answers are attached above if you want to check yourself to see how you did. (Please note that these answers are based on what I know my boss would have allowed last year. Our school is being blessed with a new boss this fall, and I will need to seek her out to see what she is comfortable with.)
Quiz answers: Blog true-false answers
Not the easiest questions! Do not worry. I was right there with you a while back. It was not until I was blessed with taking the online course “Faith, Freedom and Public Schools” through Gateways to Better Education that I was awakened fully to my rights. Gateways, an organization that prides itself in enlightening others to their Christian rights in education, was founded in 1991 by Eric Buehrer. Quick promotion … If you have never had the opportunity to take this class, I highly recommend it! You can find out more about Gateways on their website at https://gogateways.org/.
With a little over two weeks to go before our district reports back on August 8, there is no better time to read up and research what the Christian teacher is allowed to do regarding their faith. Did any of the answers above surprise you as they did me? It seems as if there is this myth that Christian teachers must leave their faith at home. NOTHING could be further from the truth. For years I took my faith for granted. Not anymore. I cannot wait to utilize newfound rights in this coming year, and I would love to provide you with a quick guide on how to do so yourself.
- Research your rights: Going into the school year without knowing what rights you have is like a professional athlete going into their season not knowing their playbook. Study these rights. Talk to veteran Christian teachers about what has worked for them. Utilize websites like Gateways. And of course you can always use your friend Google to search websites, documents, and videos to guide you along as well. With day one coming so close, this is the time to soak it all in. Become a sponge of your faith! Let your Christian friends know of their rights too.
- Talk to your principal: This is essential. Some administration may be more lenient toward allowing you to act out your faith. Always remember that you are “subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). I actually remember quoting this verse to my principal when she arrived three years ago. Now I will be sharing it with my new boss. I have lots of questions flooding my mind on what she will be comfortable with, and I must respect the authority God has put over me. Otherwise my job may be in jeopardy and bridges could be burned. Not smart!
- Implement what you learned: Wherever your principal stands, take the rights you learned about and apply them. Start small, and then go big. Pray on a daily basis that you can become more bold as the year proceeds. Once your feet are wet, take that step out into the ocean of faith. Start a teacher prayer group or Bible study. Quietly build relationships with Christian students. Most importantly, be Christ to others. “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). Walk His way. (I almost sounded like Aerosmith there, didn’t I? Minus one letter.)
That is it. Easy as 1-2-3. A former student of mine said it best: When teachers are bold about their faith, it helps students do likewise. That is when the real magic happens. Although Separation of Church and State might restrict the teacher, students are protected by their right to free speech. Your boldness increases their witness! You will see those unashamed Christian kids being lights for Christ everywhere they go, and that, my friends, is called disciples making disciples.
“Go therefore and make 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 that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Challenge: Read up on your rights as a Christian teacher, and find out where your principal stands on them. Pray about how bold you should be in your faith at work. You may even realize that certain classes feed off that mentality more, giving you the opportunity to crank it up a tad. Whatever God tells you, act that out.
Bonus Challenge: Just like teachers, students may not know their rights. This Gateways PDF document attached below will guide students in that regards. I also created an FCA lesson that I presented to three different schools that I recorded on YouTube. Both are below.
Christian Student Rights PDF: Christian student rights
“Know Your Playbook” FCA video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kie3OT9WayM
Song application: “Unashamed” by Building 429
So let my life proclaim
I am unashamed
I won’t hide your name
So all the world will know
You are all that I live for
I am unashamed
Video application: I was asked to go speak to MidAmerica Nazarene University in the fall of 2016 about being a bold Christian teacher. My Christian friends at my school, students and teachers alike, helped me create this video.
Journal/Accountability: After reading up on your rights as a Christian teacher and talking to your principal, journal or talk to a trusted Christian friend about steps you can take to become more bold in your faith. Start small and go bigger as you feel more comfortable. Have your friend keep you accountable if you would like, and keep them accountable as well.
Quote: “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” (Ronald Reagan)
Other Scripture: Meditate on the following scripture …
- Romans 13:1-7
- 1 Peter 2:13
- 1 Timothy 2:1-4
- 2 Timothy 2:15
Prayer: Father, I pray that I can be the Christian teacher You have called me to be. Teach me to be bold, unashamed, and full of passion to spread your Word legally. Amen.