Category Christian School Education
Title 20 Years of CSE
Author/s Steven C. Babbitt
Preview As I read the articles for this issue of CSE, I am amazed - but certainly not surprised - at how the hand of God superintended their authorship.

Welcome to the twentieth year of Christian School Education (CSE) magazine. I have been privileged to be part of this magazine's development throughout its entire 20-year history, during which-at an average of four 40-page issues per year-CSE has provided nearly 3,200 pages of insight, practice, and thoughtful reflection from your colleagues who have served in Christian schools around the world. Any issue that pertains to Christian schooling has been discussed at least once, and many have been discussed several times.  

The topic of this twentieth anniversary issue of CSE- spiritual formation-has been addressed in prior issues. After all, spiritual formation is unquestionably the distinctive of Christian schooling. It is the purpose at the core of our existence. It is the opportunity not just to shape minds, but to take part in the spiritual development of each student in your school.  

I often meditate on Romans 12:19: "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." While the verse speaks specifically about not making revenge our responsibility, the phase that challenges me is "leave room for God"-don't get in God's way.

I wonder how the principle of "leaving room for God" might apply to this critical area of spiritual formation. I do not intend to advocate a complete laissez-faire attitude, but rather, to explore how we in Christian schools do not leave room for God in the spiritual formation of our students.  

As I read the articles for this issue of CSE, I am amazed-but certainly not surprised-at how the hand of God superintended their authorship. Though the authors didn't collaborate, many of the articles revolve around this idea of leaving room for God. So many voice the truth that spiritual formation is a matter of transformation-an authentic change that occurs in the heart, mind, and soul-not a conformation to a set of rules or expectations.

Michael Gulker, President of the Colossian Forum, asks "what in our culture [do] students need to see most-a tidy answer or a faithful question to a God whom we can trust to see things through even when we can't?" Are Christian schools places where authority and vulnerability, held firmly together in Christ, guide the spiritual transformation of students?   

Donovan Graham, author of Teaching Redemptively and Making a Difference, wonders if the Christian school assists or hinders in the process of spiritual formation. He considers what might happen if our Christian schools became places where there is room for reflection, for quietness before God, for risk-taking, and even for failure.

Don Furuto, head of the Bible department at Briarwood Christian School, and Larry Taylor, head of school at Prestonwood Christian Academy, both write about the intentionality of spiritual formation. Are Christian schools making room for spiritual formation to take place? Is there a plan for intentional spiritual formation?

When Joseph and a very pregnant Mary journeyed to Bethlehem, it is recorded in the Word of God that there was no room for them. It's hard to imagine that the innkeeper would have turned them away if he had known that the child about to be born was the long-awaited Messiah. Let's not be like the innkeeper. Let's find room for God to accomplish spiritual formation in the lives of our students. Every joy, every sorrow, every celebration, every disappointment, every success, and every failure is an opportunity for God to bring about transformation. May you make room for Him in all aspects of your school.   

Steven C. Babbitt Vice President Purposeful Design Publications

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