The vast majority of Christian schools excel at the academic development of their students. Many of them struggle to develop their students spiritually, to really Disciple them and help lead them into a deep personal relationship with Christ. Almost all these schools are just surviving from year to year due to financial challenges and constraints. These financial limitations impact these school’s ability to Disciple students. You see, finances have a direct and significant impact on Discipleship.
Why do Christian schools struggle financially? IGC believes one of the reasons is a less than effective organizational structure. Imagine for a minute you had the resources to purchase an NFL franchise. What if you traded all your players away and replaced them with nothing but wide receivers? Your team would be fabulous at catching the ball, but it probably would not win very many games, if any. These professional athletes are great football players, but for many reasons they simply cannot play all the other necessary positions to field a winning team.
What if you sent these wide receivers to training programs to learn how to play the other positions or had them read books and articles about these other positions? Would that be effective? What if the leaders of these training programs and authors of these books and articles were former or current wide receivers? How effective would this approach be at helping them play these other positions? Would the team be successful?
The reality is, it takes more than wide receivers to field a winning football team. Christian schools are like this fictitious football team. It takes more than a team of highly qualified and skilled educators to be successful at delivering Christian education. There are other positions and functions that must be filled by people with very different skills and talents to be successful.
Christian schools are a system of components:
It takes all these components operating at full capacity and at a level of excellence for Discipleship Infused Education to be optimized. At least 95% of employees at most Christian schools are experts at student academic development.
Very few Christian school staff members are authorities on revenue and funding, strategic planning or the other six components of a Christian school. There are at least eight other disciplines and functions besides academic development that a school must master to be successful. So, like the football team, we can try and send our academic experts to training programs or have them read books and articles on these other highly necessary positions and hope for success. This has been the approach for decades and it is not working very well. We can also challenge our thinking and recruit people with the skills, training, talent and experience required to properly fill these positions and perform these functions with excellence.
The Bible contains an example of developing the right organizational structure to be successful. Exodus 18 describes the implementation of a hierarchy comprised of “capable men:”
Being capable means these men have the necessary skills, experience and talents to do the job. Producing revenue for a Christian school by example, requires business and development experts.
But, Christian schools do not have the resources to hire these people? Actually, because they have not hired these people, they do not have the resources. Financial resources do not come first, the plan comes first. Christian schools must develop and implement a plan to change their organizational structures to meet the needs of these other areas or they will continue to struggle.
The answer is not one or two “development” people. Frankly, this is just a band aid. It takes more than one or two people to fund a school with dozens of other employees. A serious investment and commitment in and to a holistic approach is required.