Ambassadors of Hope
Join me on a walk around a Christian school campus. Better yet, conduct a student assembly or a faculty meeting and give each attendee a 3x5 card. Ask them to define diversity, inclusion, justice, equality, equity, woke, critical race theory, white privilege, racial-based reconciliation, systemic racism, or any other lightning-rod issue related to racial-based dissension.
Like the mainstream feedback from our culture, the 3x5 card answers would convey a myriad of definitions and opinions. Unfortunately, only a few answers might be based on a Christ-centered and biblical worldview.
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) unequivocally views this as an opportunity to get into this sandbox with students, faculty and parents. Yes, this sandbox is messy, and not a venture for the faint of heart. Discipleship has always been messy though. Jesus’s discipleship of the Apostle Peter is one example of the messy nature of training. And the alternative of sitting on the sidelines watching the biblically-based design for unity being co-opted by activists creates an even bigger mess. These activists espouse a worldview in which hopelessness permeates the soul of society. Hopelessness is not of God.
Preparing ambassadors of hope-filled and biblically-based unity
The transforming power of Jesus Christ provides healing, forgiveness, and genuine love for one another.
ACSI’s objective is to equip Christian schools, educators, and parents to understand and live out the Bible’s definition of unity. This hope focus is helping school communities to see the trust we have in the power of the gospel. The transforming power of Jesus Christ provides healing, forgiveness, and genuine love for one another.
We are committed to training students on how God defines diversity, justice, inclusion, and restoration. Our students need to know when these words have been co-opted by secular ideologies. Do we really want our children to be at the center of America’s increasingly ugly discourse on racial issues?
You bet we do!
At this critical juncture in our nation who is going to show people that hope, and unity are found only in one place – the person of Jesus Christ? In a culture that’s growing more post-Christendom, who is going to speak up for biblical truth? Who is going to show our students that any ideology that does not acknowledge the redemptive work of Jesus on the Cross is not compatible with a Christian worldview?
The Apostle Paul said: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy…” (Col. 2:8a). None of us want our children to be “taken captive” by destructive ideas. Nor do we want to avoid the difficult conversations of how our history still impacts many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. They need to be prepared for these difficult situations.
Jesus modeled how to prepare our ambassadors of hope.
Jesus went out of his way to engage controversial issues – and was often criticized for it.
Jesus went out of his way to engage controversial issues – and was often criticized for it. He was proactive in addressing one of the greatest social challenges of his day, diverting one of his trips to go through Samaria and demonstrate to his disciples that just one Samaritan woman was that important (John 4:1-42). In our Christian schools – and in every home – ACSI invites these difficult conversations to take place.
Mr. Jerry Nelson, ACSI’s Special Assistant to the President, will oversee our renewed emphasis on biblically-based unity initiatives. Mr. Nelson clearly articulates ACSI’s meaning of biblical unity and social engagement: “Biblical unity is made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who are in Christ are first reconciled back to God (their Creator) and then reconciled to each other. Unity, in Christ, is held together by the bond of the Spirit.”
He goes on to say, “As Christians we understand that social engagement is a matter of the leading of the Holy Spirit to engage in the ministry of reconciliation wherever he leads—whether to poor or to the powerful and everything in between.”
Let’s demonstrate what kingdom-inspired action looks like.
Our desire for unity is not politically or socially driven, but rather is given to us by God. I am confident that Christians can demonstrate to a watching world what kingdom-inspired action looks like. Today’s challenge of racial division allows us to lean into this with an informed, Christ-centered perspective. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20)—ambassadors of hope.
Larry Taylor, Ph.D., is the CEO-President of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). He also served for 20-years as Head of School at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Along with his focus on Christian education, Larry has developed a parent training program, and authored a child discipleship book called Running with the Horses: A parenting guide for raising children to be servant-leaders for Christ (WestBowPress, 2013).