A S S O C I A T I O N O F C H R I S T I A N S C H O O L S I N T E R N A T I O N A L / I S S U E 3 / 2 0 2 1
IN THIS ISSUE
Christian Education Snippets
A Word of Encouragement
Paths to School Improvement
Christian Education Snippets
THE PALE BLUE DOT
In September 1977 NASA launched Voyager 1, a 722- kilogram robotic spacecraft on a mission to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. By November 1980 the spacecraft had completed its primary mission and reverted to its secondary task – that of investigating the boundaries of the Solar System. Still travelling at 64,000 km/hr Voyager was at that stage the most distant human-made object from Earth and the first one to leave the Solar System. Having been in operation for 43 years, nine months and 21 days as of 26 June 2021, it was anticipated that it would have powered down well before that date. As the spacecraft was about to leave our solar system and head out into deep space it was decided to take one last picture of the earth before it became invisible. The wireless command to take the photograph was accordingly sent by NASA on February 14, 1990. Because of the vast distances involved it would take 5 ½ hours for the signal to reach Voyager 1. When it did so, its two cameras turned and faced backwards for the last time. There were many concerns at the time that it was not a wise thing to take the photograph as the proximity of the spacecraft to the sun might damage the workings of the cameras and also use up quite a lot of the craft’s remaining power. Nevertheless, the picture was taken and relayed back to NASA. The result was the picture at the top of the previous page. Can you see the Earth? It appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, approximately 6 billion kilometres away, almost halfway up the brown band on the right. After taking the picture the mission managers commanded Voyager 1 to power its cameras down as it would need all its reserves for the long journey into interstellar space.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands…Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
When Carl Sagan, a 20th-century astronomer and atheist saw the picture he said, “We live on an insignificant planet, of a humdrum star, lost in a galaxy, tucked away in some forgotten corner of the universe. … We float in this immense cosmos, like a moat of dust in the morning sky.”
And yet… that is our home! That is where everyone that we know and love lives. That is where our children and grandchildren live. It is where we will die and be buried (unless Jesus comes before then!) It is where all the dictators who ever lived have spent hours and hours dreaming up ways of conquering the Earth which, from the vantage point of Voyager, measures 1/10 of a pixel in diameter! Let’s look at it from another angle.
If you went out and stood on your front lawn and looked up into the sky while Voyager took another photograph of the earth – would you recognise yourself in the photograph? Of course not! You would be smaller than an atom! And yet, notwithstanding the immensity of our God who fills the whole universe, He has thoughts about you today – in fact lots of them!
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18
This is the God who gives us our significance. He sent His Son to that pale blue dot where He lived a sinless life as one of us and then died… for us! In these actions he gave us two immense gifts. In His death he paid the penalty for our sins and He removed our guilt. His sinless life is His gift to us – it is what God will see on the day of judgement when every thought and deed of ours is weighed in the balance – and found wanting! He sees the perfect life of Christ lived on our behalf and He opens his arms wide and welcomes us in as the apple of His eye! (Psalm 17:8)
A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT……….
I have been reflecting much on what it means to be a Christian teacher and how to ensure that Christian Education becomes a reality in our classrooms, and into the lives of our students. At the start of our recent school holidays, I ran a workshop for a small mission school on laying Biblical foundations, and stressed the importance of the daily, dogged, discipline of being intentional at hiding God’s Word in our hearts, and the hearts of our students. How do we do this? We know that to be a good teacher, we first need to be a good learner/student. And so, we need to ensure that we make time everyday to be in God’s Word, learning from it, meditating upon it, wrestling with it, and obeying it.
Today, mark out your day, prioritising time with Jesus in His Word. Be still. Think deeply. Ponder upon the Truth. Tomorrow, do the same. Each day, make time for reading God’s Word and listening to His voice.
In an interesting article by Erik Raymond, aimed at pastors and teachers of the Word, he talks about how to not become bland and boring, reminding us how pastors work hard to get the sermon into their souls, and then process it into practical meat for the ears, minds and souls of their congregants. Erik takes us to the words of Jesus in Luke 6:45 where Jesus comments, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. What comes out of our mouths as teachers is precisely what is filling our minds and hearts throughout the day/week. Think about that. That is what makes Christian education real. The abundance of God’s Goodness and His truth as it fills our hearts and minds and translates into every part of our lives and oozes out into our lessons, and classrooms like a fresh fragrance, an aroma of Christ, as our Lord and Saviour. As Creator and King.
As you embark on another term, a cold term, a term that still threatens covid and possible lockdowns and mixed learning and teaching opportunities, may you take courage in your calling. May you hear your name and call from God, who when asked by Moses how he could do the job that God called him to do of leading His people out of slavery, God said, “I am with you”.
When Joshua questioned how he was to conquer Jericho, God said, “I am with you”. The “I am”, is with you today, tomorrow and each day of this coming term. Be bold and courageous, and walk in obedience to His Word, delighting in it. We are praying for you and with you. Every Monday morning, we gather as a board and pray. We meditate on God’s Word and use it to direct our prayers and thoughts for you. God is faithful. May you be the aroma of Christ in your classroom, the abundance of God’s Word bubbling forth from your mouth in ALL your lessons and interactions.
We look forward to bringing you some great teaching and learning opportunities in August/September through our online conference, “A Lifetime of Learning to Live for God’s Glory”. Refer to details further on.
Blessings in and through Christ in Education,
Sarah Cross (Chairperson)
CURRENT MEMBER SCHOOLS
Celebration International School Eaglesvale Junior School Eaglesvale Senior School Gateway High School
Gateway Primary School Karanda Primary School Lendy Park School Maranatha Group of Schools Midlands Christian School Midlands Christian College Millennial Academy
Mutarazi Junior School Rainbow Pre-School Southern Lights Trust Success Tutorial College
June: Tuesday 1st (11:00am) : ACSI Zimbabwe Board Meeting
July: Commences Friday 9th Online course: Theology of Christian Education
Gateway Christian Training College
July: Friday 16th Introduction to PSI (for interested participants) (POSTPONED)
July : Friday 30th Workshop: A Biblical Perspective of School Interactions – with pupils and fellow staff members Gateway Christian Training College
August : Fridays 13th /20th /27th Weekly releases – online Christian Educators’
September: Friday 3rd Final release – online Christian Educators’ Conference
September: Thurs 9th to Saturday 18th PSI Training – Candidate Trainees and Cohort 2
October: Tuesday 12th (11:00am) ACSI Zimbabwe Board Meeting
November Global Leadership Summit
November Grade 7 Pupil Leadership Workshop
Gateway Primary School (tbc)
The ACSI Paths to School Improvement (PSI) is a strategy to accomplish resourcing as many schools as possible through a school improvement process.
For more information: email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Tel: +263 786 031 794
Involves a two-year commitment to training, undertaken during school holidays by Heads, and then actioned throughout the term. There is a cost involved. The process of improvement continues as a lifelong commitment by the school.
The advantage of this programme is that you walk the continual process in partnership/relationship with other schools, building a community committed to improving Christian Education through Zimbabwe and Africa.
“The myth about leadership is that it’s a solitary act.”
In Numbers 11, Moses is exhausted, aggravated and complaining to the Lord about the burden of leadership. “I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! …Just kill me!” I’m sure as leaders we have all had days where we feel like Moses. (Maybe we are having them right now!) How did God respond? He said to gather other recognized leaders who would be able to take some of the load, so Moses would not have to carry everything by himself.
If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be a leader that makes it possible for other people to lead. You may find that God has put you in place of leadership, but He didn’t do it to turn you into a controlling, stressed out, loner. We were created for relationships, and leadership is all about relationships. leadership is influence and influence requires a relationship. We have goals, desires, and a vision of what we would like to see happen. But be assured…if it is a God given vision, you will work best when sharing the vision with other godly people who walk with you as co-laborers. Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 Sure, you might be the original “visionary” but I appreciate the quote, “Leaders, prepare for your departure.” It’s a process: We need mentors, and must mentor others, serving and strengthening them to become serving leaders.
Who are you leading? Or rather: Who are you with? Who is alongside of you on the journey? “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2: 2-3
Stronger Together! Brian (For the PSI Team)
Paths to School Improvement / Programme d’Amélioration Scolaire
A Program of / Un programme de: Association of Christian Schools International
If we’ve learned anything as a country throughout our history, it’s that the ways we see leaders leading in times of crisis will define legacies, often determining whether one is reviled or revered. This is because times of crisis expose the heart and skills (or lack thereof) in leaders much faster than times of peace and prosperity.
In churches, in families, and in work environments of all kinds, true leaders can pull people together in spite of the chaos that swirls around them. Here are 5 C’s that leaders need to provide in times of crisis.
Resisting the urge to panic in a crisis is critical for leaders. That’s how a leader lays a foundation for everything else to follow. By remaining calm, a leader is able to think, analyze, problem-solve, and communicate more effectively. Calm is not the absence of fear, but the presence of mind to set fear aside and focus on what’s important.
When we lose our ability to see the humanity in others, we begin to lose our grip on our morals and ethics. Having compassion for the hurting and the suffering is also important for leaders in prioritizing resources and vulnerabilities in a time of crisis. To ignore suffering is to undercut the power of self-sacrificial love.
Judgment and understanding quickly can be clouded in a crisis by a barrage of thoughts, emotions, and questions. It’s imperative for leaders to be able to clear the mental clutter, and deal with what is known and what can be done, instead of what is unknown and out of one’s control. Just pausing to breathe and simply asking “What do we know and what can we do?” is a good start to clarity.
Great leaders can accomplish what seems impossible in times of crisis, often because they are able to find creative ways to solve problems. Untold thousands of pages have been written on Abraham Lincoln’s navigation of the Civil War, recounting how he continually and creatively adapted to the resources and strengths of even his greatest rivals. A creative mind can find unexpected solutions.
In football, you often hear the winning coach talk after a game about the importance of halftime adjustments. In a crisis, a true leader doesn’t stay on autopilot but continuously takes in new information to calculate and recalculate the potential paths through the situation. Leadership is not just setting a gameplan for a potential crisis; it’s assessing and changing that gameplan in the middle of a crisis when the calculations call for adjustments.
I hope this list gives you some ideas of how to evaluate leaders in your life and inspires us to become better in every context of leadership.
Re-commencement of PSI (Paths to School Improvement) training
Schools who are currently part of PSI as they implement what they are learning;
Implementation of PSI App (Local Host Partner); ACSI Zimbabwe Advisory Board;
Sean Moore as Director of ACSI Southern Africa and his leadership and mentoring role of schools in SA during these challenging times;
ACSI Zimbabwe Members Schools: – those who are facing financial and other challenges;
State schooling system;
Preparation for online Christian Educators’ Conference in August; Protection for our communities, schools and families from Covid 19
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Membership Categories are as follows:
- INDIVIDUAL:($10 per term)
- SCHOOL:(0.50c per pupil per term)
- ASSOCIATE: $50 per term (for churches / business organisations)