September Brings Education Into Focus

By Al Reimche

September… How has the summer flown by so fast? I am sure that to our students and educators, June just ended and now it is already September. It is true, however, we have begun a new school year in the 31 schools throughout our conference. Though the numbers are not all in yet, we have heard some of our school principals telling us of increases in the students that have enrolled. One thing is certain: all 200+ teachers in the Oregon Conference educational system are deep into lesson plans, classes, and trying to assess what is left of all the knowledge they poured into their students last year.

I had the privilege of meeting with two groups of our educators this past month. I first spent an afternoon with the Milo staff at a retreat setting near Grants Pass. Before all the details of the year were presented, we spent time discussing their calling to the ministry of education. Each shared their experiences in understanding how God called them to become educators.

The discussion then focused on the importance of starting with the question "Why." We shared a video that discussed this concept from a business perspective and then looked at why that would be important even for Milo. Why do we need Adventist Christian education? Why does Milo Adventist Academy exist? Why are we called to minister to students, especially those coming on to the Milo campus?

The second opportunity was just for a few minutes at the Oregon Conference Teachers Convention held in Gladstone. Though my time was brief I had the opportunity to witness a powerful theme emerging which defined the true direction of Adventist education: Jesus! As one educator shared, "The feeling from speakers and our superintendent was that our only REAL goal was to show Jesus to our students, their parents, and others." Other statements included, “I came out of it ready to run through walls for Jesus and proud to be an educator,” and “I was encouraged in the mission Christ has set before me as an educator.”

Summer is gone and a new school year has begun. And we are blessed to have an extraordinary group of Adventist educators in our schools "ready to run through walls" so that our students will experience Jesus. How can we support the ministry that is happening every school day throughout our conference? Has your church taken the time to dedicate your educators this new school year? Are the teachers and students being prayed for regularly? Please commit with me to pray for this very important ministry.