House Church Talk - Eldership - so simple we miss it.

David Anderson david at
Mon Nov 10 20:17:53 EST 2003

       HI all, 	

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," 
I understand. 

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?

     David Anderson
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 
rigorous courses. 

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 
IT'S HARD TO TELL TEACHER FROM PUPIL). So it's a learning experience for 
all involved. 

    ----- 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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