“Welcome to The Principal Connection! I am excited to serve as Editor for this adventure to support principals and other leaders of Christian schools. Below is information about the people we involve, the things we believe, and the approach we use as we help educational leaders thrive, personally and professionally.
Please drop us a note if you ever have suggestions or needs. The Principal Connection is about serving you, so suggestions and questions are always welcome.
Blessings on you as you serve in the most difficult job in Christian school education. And, the most important for changing lives.”
–Joe Neff, ThM
(Joe is Founder of Rooted Schools, a fourteen year Head of School, Upper School Principal of both a National Blue Ribbon Middle School and High School, a thirty-two year veteran of daily Christian school leadership in three schools, has written for national publications like Focus on the Family and Christian School Education, and has edited past publications. He is the author of Building Biblical Worldview: The Three Loves and 10 Keys to Powerful Faculty Growth, due out in late 2016. For more on Joe’s background, go here.)
The folks who will be writing some parts and whose books and articles we share will be mostly drawn from trusted Christian educators. But, we will use other sources. We will try to let you know if, based on the information we have, we aren’t sure a source fits our predispostions about truth (in a nice way). Not to label or judge, but so you can dig deeper in the background of the person you are listening to. You really should test all your sources all of the time, even us! None of us are ever off the hook for figuring out the sifter of truth we use and listen to.
We are excited to have guest writers from Christian schools and other organizations and to share the voice of other leaders and writers throughout Insights & Ideas and the Yes! Memo.
We will avoid a deep doctrinal statement, but be assured that we want to serve and partner with those people who hold a high view of God’s Word as authoritative truth in its 66 books, as opposed to more books or other books. We believe that the Bible is true and accurate and useful for life today, living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword as the writer of Hebrews says. It is sufficient for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And Christian school education is a good work, right?
We also cling to the fact that we are all depraved sinners and that God in his grace and love rescued us. That God became man in Jesus and is fully both. That while Jesus on earth fulfilled many purposes such as demonstrating and living out truth as the living Word, and following the Father’s will, His most important work and gift for us was to die on the cross for our sins and to rise from the dead. This payment for sin and rescue of us from eternal life apart from God is received by us as a gift only by faith, not as a result of any works we can do.
We also have great hope in many things. Such as the return of Jesus to the earth to set up His kingdom here, accompanied by a future judgment. Such as the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the third person of God as part of the trinity. The Spirit who does so much in our lives and the work in our schools by encouraging, teaching, comforting, guiding, convicting, empowering, and more. Without God as the Holy Spirit we would be left alone, and we aren’t!
While there is much doctrine we could define, our hope is that we can partner with those who accept Jesus’ gift of eternal life by faith and who have a high view of Scripture. God says to not partner with unequal oxen, it would make the plow impossible to use. So, we seek to enter into this rather tenuous, paid for relationship with you if you are these things and want some of the things we can offer.
Many organizations that serve Christian schools do not hold God’s Word as the primary source of truth to use in all parts of schools: content, pedagogy, operations, and practice. Often their beginning point of life and what will work is distant from the beginning point of a large majority of Christian schools. Much of the work in education and leadership relies on an epistimology rooted in man’s ideas, research, and logic and either neglects the Bible as a primary source or uses it only to validate conclusions. We all stand in danger of using the Bible this way. Or, just as dangerous, of using the Bible only for theology or personal belief and not as powerful and useful in all we do in our lives and schools.
We love to read and use ideas from a range of research, organizations, and writers, but we must use wisdom and sift those ideas through God’s Word to have biblical worldview for how we do school. Some ideas from a lot of sources are true and good. But some reflect the world’s wisdom, which is foolish compared to God’s, and yet ironically those who use the world’s wisdom often perceive God’s truth as foolish. This confusion is because of the great divide at the starting point for truth that we use in life. We desire to start with God’s Word as the source of truth and the sifter of truth.
We want to help fulfill Frank Gaebelein’s sixty-five year-old dream from The Pattern of God’s Truth, using truth from God’s Word in all we do:
“We have had a great deal to say about God-centered, Christ-oriented, Bible-based education. But, in actual practice we are not doing nearly enough of it…That is not to say, of course, that we are not to any extent practicing Christian education. That is too extreme a judgment. Nevertheless, in respect to a thorough-going integration of Christ and the Bible with the whole institution, with all departments of study, with all kinds of student activities, with all phases of administration, there remains much land to be taken.”
So, who are we? We are growing a group of people connected by faith in Christ and high view of God’s Word, not just for what we believe but for how we live personally and in how we do school. As we look for writers and people with whom to partner and help, these are the folks we want. People who know God personally, who love Him and people, who have joy and know God’s power and peace. People who care about you and Christian school education, not necessarily as it is, but as it can be in changing lives and cultures and countries. One by one.