House Church Talk - Eldership - so simple we miss it.
david at housechurch.org
Mon Nov 10 20:17:53 EST 2003
In his inscrutable wisdom, God has employed -time- to keep things from
happening simultaneously. Usually, our children come to us neatly spaced
by about a year or so, give or take a few months or years. As a result of
this pattern there are going to be some older ones who can assist with
the younger ones as time unfolds. I repeat: Usually.
In the church, a variety of ages exist and the benefits of that reality
should be most apparent. As for older women helping younger women, the
church has really grasped that idea. Now, there are even "Titus 2 Clubs,"
But consider how elder men can (and should, according to my understanding
of eldership) be mentors and models of godliness to the younger men. And
consider how even children can model Jesus to the younger children. God
has wired the admiration of "elders" even into children. I see it every
time we get together in just about any context. The younger ones desire
to look up to, to look and talk like those just a few years older.
Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal Opinion site from
earlier this summer. Hmmm, there goes the world hijacking another great
idea of ours. But hey, we got off the horse, why shouldn't they mount up
and ride away?
Who Needs Certification?
"Unqualified" teachers spend the summer making up for deficient public
BY BRENDAN MINITER Tuesday, July 29, 2003
NEW YORK--While vouchers and other school-choice options have often
grabbed the headlines, no one pays much attention to another aspect of
education policy that desperately needs reform: teacher certification.
President Bush tried to address the issue in the No Child Left Behind Act
by requiring middle and high school teachers by 2005 to have bachelor's
degrees in the subject they teach--math, science, English or
history--instead of simply a degree in education.
Getting teachers who know the subject matter isn't a bad idea. But
perhaps we'd be better off scrapping certification altogether. Private
schools have long done well with teachers who are not "qualified" to
teach in the public schools. And 27 schools across the country now have
programs that prove teacher enthusiasm trumps age, experience and, yes,
certification. In schools in Austin, Texas; Philadelphia, New Orleans,
New York and other cities (there's even a program in Hong Kong) seventh-
and eighth-graders are going to school in the summer to be taught by high
school and college students. It's called Summerbridge and it's run by the
Breakthrough Collaborative, a private San Francisco-based organization
founded in the 1970s. Breakthrough is privately funded, although some of
the host schools take government money.
The goal is to get poor kids (65% of Summerbridge kids qualify for a free
or subsidized lunch) to stop wasting their summers and get on track to go
to college. Many of the teachers are Summerbridge alumni, but they all
are still students themselves. (AmeriCorps, which often gives grants to
aspiring teachers nearing their certification, routinely steers younger
would-be teachers to Breakthrough.) The programs mostly use the
facilities of private--typically secular--schools during the normally
vacant summer months. The programs cost parents nothing and are
academically rigorous. Students are tested at the beginning and end of
each summer to see how much they've learned. (At Summerbridge, kids
embrace testing as a chance to show off what they've learned.)
What Breakthrough is proving is that a serious curriculum will inspire
students to travel great distances, give up much of their summer vacation
and actually have fun in the classroom. The results are impressive.
Nationally 46% of all Summerbridge kids go to a different high school
(often a magnet school) than the one to which they would normally be
assigned (the national average is 19%). And 51% of Summerbridge kids take
algebra in eighth grade, vs. just 25% nationwide. Not surprisingly, these
kids earn higher marks on standardized tests than their peers.
Here at The Town School--a private first- through eighth-grade academy at
76th Street and York, on Manhattan's Upper East Side--Summerbridge was
started five years ago and now teaches 56 students, mostly black and
Hispanic. The school foots most of the $250,000 it takes to run the
program (and run the air-conditioners during the summer). The Town School
is also helping raise money for an endowment; the goal is $1 million. And
starting this year Michelle Rodriguez, who helps Town School students
master standardized-test skills and get into good high schools, is doing
the same for Summerbridge kids.
During the summer the kids spend six weeks going to classes full-time. In
the mornings they focus on math and humanities, reading and debating
literature as well as their own writing. In the afternoons they take less
traditional electives, like hip-hop dance and other less academically
But each day ends in the auditorium, where students are expected to show
off--among other things--their public-speaking skills. More than a dozen
kids took the stage for various presentations when I visited the school.
Two who turned in particularly impressive performances came from the
Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem. Tavon Rowe read a passage from
Shakespeare's "Henry V." Blader Zenuni recited a poem he wrote that dealt
with hate, violence and frustration at home. He was obviously nervous and
stuttered. When he finished he was greeted with a roar of applause from
his classmates, who understood that getting on stage was hard for him.
Most of the students seem confident, outgoing and at ease in the school.
But on their first day, I was told, they are often awed by the
facilities. They aren't sure if they will really be allowed to use the
computers or the auditorium.
But possibly the most impressive aspect about the program is the
teachers. AS EITHER HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE STUDENTS THEMSELVES, THEY ARE
OFTEN ONLY A FEW YEARS OLDER THAN THE KIDS THEY ARE TEACHING (SOMETIMES
IT'S HARD TO TELL TEACHER FROM PUPIL). So it's a learning experience for
----- Emphasis mine.
1Pet. 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an
elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of
the glory that shall be revealed:
1Pet. 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the
oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy
lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pet. 5:3 Neither as being lords over God¹s heritage, but being
examples to the flock.
1Pet. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a
crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Now, don't fail to overlook the next verse, which identifies who Biblical
elders really are. Hint: Elder means older one in the Greek and Hebrew
1Pet. 5:5 Likewise, YE YOUNGER, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea,
all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for
God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
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