Transformational Rest For Educators
By Marla Campbell
In this article, Marla Campbell from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies of Biola University looks at the impact of Sabbath and rest on ministers and parents—urging ministers to model this vital spiritual intimacy with God.
In these hectic days of informational superhighways and busy life schedules, Christian educators desiring to teach for transformation often find little time to rest and to be transformed personally. Implementing biblical models of rest, contemplation, and time alone with God could provide a balanced life that would in turn impart this lesson to our students in an integrated manner. Spiritual transformation must first flow from who we are and how the Holy Spirit has transformed us. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans encourages Christians to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Embracing the created design of the rhythms and cycles of life not only changes the way we think, but also more importantly how we live and what we teach our students.
Excerpt from the article
We as leaders must help the next generations order their lives according to God’s design—but we must reorder our own first. This would and can be truly transformational. Dallas Willard, in his book Divine Conspiracy (1998), spends an entire chapter (9) pointing out that we, the Christian educators, must exhibit a “Christ-like curriculum,” which he proposes comes from the core of our being intentionally connected to and developed by the Lord.
Rest and Time with Jesus as a Parent
A positive example can be found in the young mother, the daughter of a friend, who is also a homeschool teacher. When with her children, she takes time out each day to rest on the sofa and spend time with the Lord. During this time, her children must also be quiet in their own rooms or corners of the family room. They may read or nap and are given suggested things to do according to their age to build into their lives a pattern of “rest” and meeting with Jesus. This can be done anywhere in the world. When children watch parents value alone time with God, they are secure in the knowledge that their parents pray for them, reverence the Lord, and place Him in highest priority. They also see the pattern of seeking Him first as their lives are transformed.
By contrast, desperation may drive us to a change. Jill Briscoe recounts, often when she speaks, how that as a young mom herself she was often alone with the children. Her husband, Stuart, traveled with his ministry for extensive periods of time. She could not find time to be alone with the Lord due to the demands of her children during Stuart’s times away. In frustration one day she took all of the items from the playpen and hopped into it herself. There she spent half an hour with the Lord to the amazement of her confused children. This continued day after day until her children also realized that this was their time to be quiet and allow their mother some devotional time as noted in the previous illustration of the mother who homeschooled her children.
This example of modeling provides a pattern similar to the biblical references for the life of the educator that later transfers to the student. I realize that I cannot verbally “teach” this to my students. My life must model what God has transformationally done in me. Likewise, even when I explain the design of creation for all of our lives, my students must still come to an acceptance for their own lives and foster a desire to allow the Lord to transform them. Yes, we must all be transformed in this way because it is extremely countercultural almost anywhere in the world. It is not the innate propensity of humans, but it truly is the yearning of our souls because it comes from God’s fundamental design in each of us.
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About Dr. Marla Campbell
Dr. Marla Campbell (Ph.D., Biola University) teaches in Biola University’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies. She has served on the mission fields of Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific focusing on Intercultural Education and Communication.
Transformational Rest for Educators is taken from the Christian Education Journal, CEJ: Series 3, Vol. 9, No. 1 Copyright 2012; p 194-205.
All rights reserved. Permission granted by Christian Education Journal.
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