Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just Be

The Name of God that summarizes all His Names is “I Am.” What a name! I’m sure that there are theological scholarly studies that can help with a thorough and beautiful understanding of this powerful name, but I met a teacher in Charlotte this week that applied its power to us as teachers.  Karen Barber said that all she needs to remember when she walks in the classroom is to “just be.” Isn’t “am” one of the conjugations of the verb “to be?” When we are in our classrooms, we don’t need to say we are Christians, we need to “just be” Christians. What does that look like? How would you know?  Can it be learned? Why would you want to “just be?”  How can our actions reflect the Great I AM? The simplest things are not the easiest things and on our own it is impossible, but we are Jesus with skin on in our classrooms and without a word spoken about it, we can “just be.”  You know you are there when people ask, “Why are you always so happy?” “Why do you always smile?” or “What makes you so nice?” and/or any combination thereof. That is our opportunity to tell them about “I AM.”

I would like to suggest 5 Baby Steps for Christian educators in the public and even private schools. In this blog entry, I’ll do just a short summary of each step, but will give more specific examples and details in future entries.  The 5 Baby Steps are:
1. Know Jesus
2. Frame your worldview
3. Practice the Fruit of the Spirit
4. Learn the law
5. Be in communion

Baby Step #1 – Know Jesus.  Read about Jesus. Sing about Jesus. Listen to audio/video about Jesus. Immerse yourself in Jesus. He’s so amazing.  Who wouldn’t want to be more like Him? Begin to apply his questioning skills, embrace everyone who is needy, laugh with the downtrodden and love the unlovable. These are quite the shoes to fill, but when you can recall stories about Jesus, you can place yourself in His shoes (or at least try to!)

Baby Step #2 – Frame your worldview. This is what makes us different that other teachers. We look at everything through the lens of the Bible. We frame our thinking around life and love and what God has done for us. We are in humble adoration of the great I AM and know where we have come from and where we are going. That quiet confidence can be a cornerstone to “just be.”

Baby Step #3 – Practice the Fruit of the Spirit. Memorize them. Can you “be” love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control and faithfulness? (Gal. 5:22-23) I am looking for teachers to help me describe what each of these fruits looks like on daily basis in the classroom. Do you have a story or example to share?  Theory is great, but teachers want practice.  Please let me know what you do and consider being a guest blogger for the 16-9 movement!

Baby Step #4 – Learn the law.  As government employees, public school teachers must what they can and cannot say and do in the classroom.  We have been incredibly misinformed over the past 3-4 decades about separation of church and state and at times do not even realize just how much we can do under the First Amendment. It is imperative that all teachers and administrators come to know and understand, at least the first 16 words of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ………”

Baby Step #5 – Be in communion. Our God is in constant communion with Himself and us. He created us to be in communion with Him and others. As a Christian educator, you are not alone.  There are thousands upon thousands of us who share this high calling. Unfortunately, we can be in a school for years without even realizing that some of our colleagues are Christian also. We need to seek prayer partners and friends on campus who want to learn how to “just be” so that we may transform our schools through the power of I AM. Being in an organization like CEAI, is a huge start in uniting Christians across our nation. Won’t you consider joining us to build this communion between Christians in our schools, districts, states and nation?

Prayerfully yours,

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.


  1. This past weekend Christian Educators Association International ( ) hosted a workshop with Dr. Donovan Graham, author of Making a Difference: Christian Educators in Public Schools. He stresses the importance of creating a classroom of grace...showing the same level of grace to students that the Father shows to us. In schools we have a tendency to give students what they deserve...what if the Father did that to us?

    He is not suggesting a discipline free classroom, but one that values each child as being created in the image of God...even when they do not act like it.

    Dr. Donovan suggested this type of thinking should reflect choice of curriculum and types of lessons.

    Sound interesting? Go to our website today at and order the could lead to a transforming of how you teach!

  2. I was very inspired by Dr. Graham's book! I would love to have him come speak to a group in Florida. His approach to the classroom for Christian educators was always in my head, but he had the gift of putting it into words!