We need an education revolution to see culture transformed

25 April 2024

Education Team Administrator Emily Bourne reports on Christian Concern’s recent sold-out Education Revolution Conference, and what it could mean for the future of education in this country.

Over 200 people gathered in Central London on Saturday for a conference.

On its own, that statement is not particularly groundbreaking. But when we consider the purpose of the conference – to inspire and equip those seeking to be catalysts for Christian culture building through education in this nation – it could be revolutionary. At Christian Concern, we don’t just want to fight injustice, we want to see culture transformed.

The amount of interest in this event meant we sold out of our first venue and needed to move to one with larger capacity – Westminster Chapel.  With people travelling from across the whole of the UK (including Cornwall, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight and the Orkney Islands), there was an unprecedented level of commitment and energy in the room, all focussed on ensuring that our children have the opportunity to access genuinely Christ-centred education initiatives and to be inspired by faithful Christian teachers.

The urgent need

Schools are increasingly a battleground for many of the culture wars being fought today.

Many parents and teachers are contacting us with grave concerns about what is taught in schools on matters of gender and sexuality. This is reflected in a number of our active legal cases, such as ‘Hannah’,  Bernard Randall, Izzy Montague, Kristie Higgs and Joshua Sutcliffe.

Partly because of these kind of issues, Christian Concern decided four years ago to strategically invest in the area of education by developing and growing an Education Department which can offer advice and support to parents, church leaders and teachers.

As well as challenging the existing system, we also want to be at the forefront of creating new and alternative education initiatives that will positively impact individuals and society for Christ. To create a movement towards a more Christ-centred education!

Over the past few years, the Education Department has met regularly with those who have understood the urgent need to develop New Christian Schools, Learning Centres and Home Education Hubs. We can network with these leaders to pass on the Christian faith to the next generation. We are also in regular communication with other organisations such as Lovewise, Fertile Heart and KICK and many others who are seeking to produce godly resources for use in schools and the home.

It was a joy to see much of the fruit of this work on display at the conference with many of these individuals and organisations in attendance and contributing in various ways.

Worship and testimony

The conference opened and closed with a time of powerful worship as we surrendered the conference to God, welcoming the King and then basking in his presence as we sought his direction for what he would have us do in this area of education.

Fear seeks to prevent us from stepping out in faith in the service of God and this conference provided an opportunity for some to be released from fears that may have been holding them back from pursuing God’s call on their lives in the area of education. Many responded in prayer and worship at the end of our time together.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, was able to share numerous testimonies of how faith can conquer fear, encouraging us to persevere in the race marked out for us. This session also served as a reminder that the attitudes and actions of teachers can have a lasting impact – which could be positive or negative – on the lives of children because of how they absorb everything around them.

Steve Beegoo, Head of Education, was able to explain how education is central to the Great Commission and therefore why, in a world of increasingly secular and anti-Christian trends, church leaders, Christian teachers and parents need to be catalysts for the creation of new Christ-centred education initiatives to give all children the opportunity to flourish under God.

Jesus calls us to be salt and light. We were encouraged to be that which is sprinkled into the systems of this world, but does not lose its saltiness. We were challenged to create light; those bright, bold, uncompromising places which shine out a different way to live, which comes from a different kingdom.

Practical advice and support

Delegates were able to hear from different pioneering experts and practitioners, many of whom have being serving God in faithfully in this space for many years.

We heard how the Christian Schools Trust, which was established in 1985 as many Christians even then were starting to ask serious questions about the state of education in the UK, continues to provide a network of support for around 25 Christian Schools across the UK.

Christian Education Europe, Christian Home Education Support Service and Classical Conversations have a long history of providing curriculum support and a community feeling for those who families who choose to home educate their children. Delegates discovered how the support needs from these organisations and others were growing as many more become part of an education revolution in the service of Christ.

The King Alfred School and Immanuel Online School, both of which have been supported by Christian Concern and our Education Department, are wonderful examples of the more recent new wave of initiatives that are emerging. Representatives from these organisations were able to bring a variety of their resources with them and lead practical seminars so that others considering starting their own projects were equipped with the knowledge they need to take their next steps.

What next?

It is often assumed that children are safest, and most likely to become flourishing young people, by being in mainstream state schools. However, evidence is increasingly building up which suggests the opposite. As Christians, we need to be prepared not only to challenge the failings of the existing system, but also to actively demonstrate that there is better way to educate and protect our children. To disciple them, as our Lord’s great commission to us demands. That is, of course, God’s way to educate.

If you are being stirred to respond to the needs of our children in some way, do make the most of further opportunities to connect with like-minded people.

On Saturday 18 May, events are being organised in Dudley and Coventry by those who have grasped the need for Christian education provisions in their area. If you live nearby, why not attend so you can be encouraged by how God is working and be involved in his amazing Education Revolution.

Do contact our Education Department if you would like further information on the support that we can provide as you consider whether God might be calling you to start a Christian School, Learning Centre or Home Education Community.  And if you are a Christian working within the state system and needs support, networking or ideas about resources which will help you, do contact us.

The support of others will be critical in any journey of faith because it is ultimately a spiritual battle that we must fight together with other warrior saints. This is why one of the seminars at the conference focused on Spiritual Warfare, with Titilayo Oluwatudimu of Emmanuel Schools Trust sharing about the battles she has face, and how she has overcome the enemy while serving God in the area of state education.

We were enriched by many powerful testimonies and much biblical teaching on such warfare.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood and we have been given supernatural weapons!

Fix our eyes of Jesus

It seemed divinely ordained that the conference should take place on the same weekend as the London Marathon. The Christian life can sometimes feel like a marathon. There are lots of challenges and pain along the way, but we will receive a reward that is more than we could ever have imagined if we keep going. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we see that he has gone before us, as the ultimate culture-changing revolutionary.

With over 200 inspired to take their next steps in this critical sphere, and in following our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t it be possible for us to see every child in the UK have access to affordable, local, and genuinely Christ-centred education initiatives?

Homes, schools and churches all play their part in the discipleship of our children. The more we play our part, the more we will see God’s power at work and we will reshape this nation’s educational landscape, to honour Christ and see children truly flourish.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
(Hebrews 12 v 1-2)

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