Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Have you ever had one of those moments when someone says what you have been trying to say? I had one recently.
Jason Myers is the Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several years ago, the church started a college and seminary, and Myers gave a recent talk at a school gathering.
He said when it comes to education we often ask, “What can this school do for me?” That is, how will this school open doors for me in the future? Help me get into college? Prepare me for success?
Myers, however, argued that is the wrong question. Instead, he suggested, a better question is, “What is this school doing to you?” I believe he is right because education is not morally and spiritually neutral, and neither is the school environment. Every class lecture, every walk down the hall, and every interaction with other humans are shaping forces that mold a person in countless ways, some we see now but many we will see later.
Their values and opinions are formed daily inside and outside of the classroom. Schools must understand this and operate accordingly.
That is why parents must consider the impact of a school’s culture just as seriously as they evaluate a school’s academic program. What are the values that drive the organization? What are the expectations of students? What qualities are necessary to make a top-notch teacher? And the most important question of all is, “Where is the place for Jesus in the overall school program?” To exclude him is to exclude life, light, and truth. Excluding his teaching means building a house on sand (Matt. 7:24-27). Leaving him out will leave you to conform to another image, the results with which you must live with for eternity.
Yes, we want students to have a great education, and we want as many doors to open for them as possible. But if we are not shaping God-honoring people who will also be great fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, we are not providing a full education.
The question is, after all, not, “What can this school do for me?” That is important, but there is another question that, I believe, is more important; namely, “What is this school doing to me?”