A Time of Transition by Faith

February 23, 2015 | John Freedman

The Israelites were emerging on the other side of their 40-year journey to through the wilderness. They had strong times of trusting God and weak moments of ignoring God.

Through generations of journeying, God molded and shaped them. Sure, they still had their problems. We still do today. Yet, God took imperfect people and prepared them for their inheritance in the Promised Land.

On the cusp of the Promised Land, the Israelites lost their beloved leader, Moses. They were at a huge time of transition of journeying to conquering. When God commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites, he felt a measure of uncertainty and doubt.

God had a specific message for Joshua and for us (see Joshua 1:1–9) that ends with this encouragement: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Our secondary education system is at a time of transition. We are getting ready to cross a metaphorical Jordan River. This will require us to step out in faith, to pray through plans and to anticipate what God will do.

For generations, Adventist culture favored sending young people off to boarding academies. Many church members lived in widespread, rural locations. Boarding academies provided common education centers for Adventist young people to learn reading, writing and arithmetic in a faith-based environment.

This picture has changed in recent decades. With society’s growth and changing parental attitudes toward boarding school education, church communities have increasingly established local academic institutions, or day academies, for faith-based high school education. These day academies allow students to live at home during high school years and still obtain an education with an Adventist biblical worldview. Still other families elect to pursue a home-school approach.

Adventist education’s great strength through the years has been a willingness to respond to changing needs — not just as they were, but as they are and will be.

This is the challenge we face with Auburn Adventist Academy and all of our secondary education schools. How can we help it succeed, educationally, spiritually and financially, at a time when the demand for boarding student options has dramatically decreased?

This discussion on secondary education is just beginning on a number of levels. We hired a respected education consultant to work with our education leaders to rediscover our core mission and values as we create a vision for a new future. As this conversation unfolds, we are inviting our constituents to review and respond to materials posted at washingtonconference.org/reengineer.

Just as the children of Israel set up memorial stones (see Joshua 4) after stepping out in faith into the Jordan River, we are looking forward to seeing how God will lead in the future of secondary education in our conference and beyond. Let’s partner step by step with God to educate the greatest number of young people for life and eternity!