A global pandemic, racial tension, political upheaval, economic devastation, culture clashes, severe weather—over the past year and a half, we have lived through these and other challenges, individually and corporately, in the Christian education community worldwide. Yet at the same time, we have witnessed the nimble responses of Christian schools, the care our school communities have provided for the sick and hurting, and the immense opportunity to be salt and light which God has placed before us. It feels as if we have been dwelling—moment by moment—in Jesus’ promise in John 16:33 (NIV): “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus’ words, “take heart,” literally mean “take courage” (from the Greek tharseite, also used in Matthew 14:27 and Mark 6:50, when Jesus tells the disciples “don’t be afraid”). In this current season, it requires God-inspired courage to think about the future of our schools, our students, ourselves, and our communities. This is true for leaders all around the world, including educators in North America, who are busy preparing for what may be a back-to-school season marked by more uncertainty. We are in need of ongoing courage.
Looking Ahead with Courage
It is with courage that we look to Converge 2022, a global gathering of Christian education leaders (formerly known as the Global Christian School Leadership Summit, or GCSLS), to be held in San Diego next year. Courage even features first in the event theme of “Leading Courageously, Renewing Hope,” as follows:
Amid global challenges, Christian educators from across the world will explore how schools can lead courageously—by bridging divides, embracing change, acting justly, and empowering students—to renew the hope of our communities, in and through Christ.
The prayer of all those planning Converge 2022 is that it would be a time of en-couragement—literally, “to put courage in”—for the Christian school movement worldwide, in keeping with the apostle Paul’s instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV), “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”
We are already encouraged by the distinctives of the upcoming 2022 event, including:
- The broadest group of host organizations—totaling 12—since the event’s inception in 2017;
- A new event name and branding, to capture the energy from these organizations and their educators as they “converge” in 2022; and most importantly,
- A Christ-centered commitment—as reflected in the event theme—to tackle the challenges that are most pressing in our communities, through courageous conversation and redemptive action.
Early registration, which ends October 1, has been met by a strong response from Christian education leaders in North America and beyond. This tells us that despite ongoing challenges, leaders are making plans to join colleagues at what will be—by God’s grace and provision—a hope-filled, life-giving gathering next year. Join us!
About the Author
Dr. Lynn Swaner, Converge 2022 chairperson, is the chief strategy and innovation officer at ACSI, where she leads initiatives and develops strategies to address compelling questions and challenges facing Christian education. Dr. Swaner serves as a Cardus senior fellow and co-author or editor of multiple books on Christian education, including Flourishing Together: A Christian Vision for Students, Educators, and Schools (forthcoming 2021 from Eerdmans) and MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @LynnSwaner1.