“What can we do to save our school?” “How can we increase the Adventist school enrollment? I hear we are closing schools.” “What can we do to get our children in church school?” These are questions that I hear often as the director of education for the Atlantic Union.
My answer is, “Let me tell you about the only time I know of when Adventist school enrollments went up substantially and stayed higher for several years.” You have heard of a “perfect storm.” Well, this was a “perfect solution”—the Education Evangelist.
Converging at the same time were three individuals:
• A conference president who was 100 percent committed to support the education evangelist position, including increasing the number of scholarships available to students.
• A superintendent who was willing to work as hard as the educational evangelist to see the experiment succeed with quality education.
• An education evangelist who could cast a vision for growing schools, finding and enrolling students, and preach like children’s lives depended on their decision.
The secret to school enrollment is that each child must be assisted to become a student of Adventist education. There are no magic tools or formulas. Each student must be found, visited, and a way must be made for them to pay for Adventist education.
Since every conference president and every superintendent would be 100 percent committed, what makes the difference? The education evangelist, who has several very important tasks outlined below, makes the difference:
• Pray for every student.
• Find all students in order to pray for students by name. Each student must be found, their name recorded, and then the education evangelist prays, and gives them the opportunity to choose Adventist education.
• Lead a church/school to understand the urgency of saving the students, who we now know by name; and helping them to decide on the importance of Adventist education.
• Coordinate the tuition money needed to provide parents with possible economic solutions to enrolling their children in an Adventist church school.
The superintendent has a critical task of emphasizing, coordinating, and exemplifying high-quality professional education that all parents want for their children.
In conjunction, the conference president is not only helping to find money for parents, but is showing how the following quote from Education, p. 30, is to be the expectation among the pastors and teachers of the conference: “In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one.”
You may ask, “How is this different than what is currently going on in our conference work?” The difference is that there is a single person—an education evangelist—who makes it a point of immediate importance, with a coordinated effort, to enroll children in Adventist education. That is what evangelists do!
I believe it is time to recreate the “perfect solution.” The good news is that there are individuals who are ready to evangelize our children. When God says in Isaiah 54:13, NKJV, that “All of your children shall be taught by the Lord,” we want to do our part.
If you want more information, if you want to increase your enrollment, if you want to start a school, if you want to give money to help students in Adventist schools, if you want a speaker for your church, and if you will pray for God’s children, please contact the Atlantic Union Conference Office of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (978) 368-8333, ext. 3020. Thank you in advance.