If you read my last blog, you know I am passionate about the role of Christian educators in education—especially those who serve in our public schools. My desire is to encourage and equip educators to let their light shine for Jesus! So many Christian educators I talk to tell me they feel alone and isolated. They desire to connect and bond with other Christians, but there is no framework or system to do so. Yet, God created us for relationship.
Educators know the power of relationships and collaboration. If you have been in education for very long, the concept of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) is probably very familiar. There are many different interpretations and definitions of a PLC; however, most would agree that PLC’s are intended to bring a group of professional educators together around a shared purpose—to improve learning for all children. I am a strong advocate of PLCs. While difficult to achieve, when done well the impact of PLC’s on educators and learners is substantial.
During a recent conversation with Reverend Charles Johnson and Dr. Charlie Luke of Pastor’s for Texas Children, we were discussing my heart for Victorious Educator Ministries (VEM). During the course of the conversation, Dr. Luke said, “It sounds like one thing you are wanting to see is a spiritual version of a PLC—a Spiritual Learning Community.” It was like a lightbulb went on in my head. Since our conversation over a month ago, I have prayed about this, and I am excited about taking this suggestion to the next step. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Luke for his listening ear and spiritual discernment.
Wouldn’t it be exciting if Christian educators around the country banned together in their schools to form their own Spiritual Learning Communities (SLC)? The mission of VEM is to create a forum to support, empower, ignite and encourage educators around the world to live out their Christian faith in the workplace—in front of students, parents, and colleagues. Our schools are a harvest field. Being a Christian educator gives us a unique opportunity to shine the love and light of Jesus into the lives of those around us. Creating a SLC in your school would be one step toward accomplishing this mission!
While this idea is brand new and untested, I believe we can use some of the tenets of a PLC to get us started. I will outline some potential next steps for you here. In the future I will be putting resources and frameworks up on www.victoriouseducator.com to provide support.
1. Pray. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray that God give you the courage to seek out other Christian educators to join your community.
2. Invite. Set up a brief time to meet with fellow Christian educators in your organization that is convenient. I would recommend meeting for about an hour. Make sure and provide light snacks.
3. Meet. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Get to know each other. Share about your families, your educational background, and your spiritual background. Don’t worry about how many show up. To start your SLC you only need one other person. Just start!
4. Pray. Share prayer requests. Pray for each other and the future of your SLC.
5. Plan. Set up the next meeting to determine how you will be structured and how you will operate.
While it is crucial to not become too structured with your SLC, it is important to be organized. Teachers are probably the busiest people I know. If they are going to carve out time for an SLC, they will need to be uplifted and spiritually fed. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to Him through God the Father.” Whatever we do, we need to do our best.
Let me encourage you. You may think this is a great idea and really desire to be part of an SLC but feel inadequate to lead or take the initiative to get it going. Trust me. None of us is adequate, but God is. If you feel led to help start an SLC in your school, God will provide all you need. You just need to step out in faith and take the FIRST step.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Batterson in his book, The Prayer Circle, where he noted, “Pray like it depends on you, and work like it depends on God.” I have found, especially lately, that God gives me JUST WHAT I NEED FOR TODAY. I can’t worry about tomorrow or a year down the road. I just have to trust God to provide what I need today. You want to hear the good news? He always does, just in time.
In the next week I will be posting suggested agendas and topics on my website (www.victoriouseducator.com) for your SLC’s to help you get started. If you want something now, you can go to the website and download the Educator’s LIGHT Journal. It would be a great place to start with your group or in your own quiet time.
Most importantly, pray, stay in the Word, and let the Holy Spirit lead you and your team. Let’s grow together. Let’s show everyone that God is alive and well in our schools. He is alive in us!
Let us know how you are doing! Respond to this blog, post on our Facebook page, or comment on Twitter! Let’s start a worldwide Spiritual Learning Community (#SpiritualLC) and watch God change lives in our schools!