Encountering Jesus in Christian Schools

My appreciation for Christian education began sometime around the age of 18, when I began my collegiate journey at a private Christian school.  As a college student, I was mentored by professors who believed that education was a kingdom calling, and I had many opportunities to study Jesus through His example as the “Master Teacher.”  A few years later, I learned what it meant to be a teacher in a Christian school, first with high school students and later with college students.  The opportunities to share my faith, to be there for students when we were faced with tough situations, and to experience professional relationships where we continually looked to God for strength and direction solidified my belief that I was exactly where I needed to be.

And now, in my newest role as Principal of a Christian school, I get the chance to lead, listen, love, and serve precious children, their families, and my colleagues. Even though challenges arise nearly every day, the joy of sharing Jesus outweighs any challenge.

Can I put into words the value of a school where God is central to its mission and existence?  I’m not sure that philosophical explanations can truly communicate where the value lies.   Instead, allow me to demonstrate the beauty of Christian schools through a small sampling of places where I have seen and heard the love of Jesus in our hallways in  just the last two weeks as Principal:

  • It’s a school nurse who does so much more than distribute band-aids; she listens, comforts, acknowledges the pain, and patiently stays with each child until he/she is ready to face the remainder of the school day.
  • It’s teachers gathering together to study the Bible, to pray, and to prepare for the day ahead, because they believe in the power and wisdom of God’s Word.
  • It’s an 8th grader privately sending a message home to a new student who is feeling overwhelmed, encouraging him and making connections.
  • It’s passing through a hallway during lunch, noticing a small group of students spending their lunch time in a student-led devotional group.

It’s having your Kindergarten daughter come home after studying the solar system for two weeks, announcing that she made something special — a wishing star craft.  At bedtime, she asks me to look underneath the glued-on star to read her wish.  And what is my daughter’s wish? (Written with well-practiced handwriting, I must add):

“I wish for God to come into my heart.”

 Those nine words demonstrate the value of Christian education – that the hearts of children are transformed by everyday encounters with Jesus.

Dr. Carrie Abood is the Lower School Principal at Portsmouth Christian Academy. A native of Tennessee, Dr. Abood earned both her Doctorate in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change and her Master’s in Education Administration and Supervision from Lipscomb University. Prior to her role as Principal, Dr. Abood was an Assistant Professor of Education, as well as an English and English Language Learner Teacher. Carrie and her husband, Adam, have two children and one gray cat, and they reside in southern New Hampshire.

Ranked “#1 Private K-12 School in New Hampshire” by Niche 2019 Best Schools, Portsmouth Christian Academy has been inspiring students on the seacoast to maximize their potential for forty years. PCA provides a nurturing educational environment that emphasizes Christ-centered community, outstanding academics, differentiated learning, and exceptional character. Located just minutes northwest of Portsmouth, NH on a fifty-acre riverfront campus, PCA is a dually accredited, independent, college-preparatory day school where young people from preschool to Grade 12 are challenged to thrive academically and grow as servant-leaders prepared to impact the world for good. For more information, visit pcaschool.org.