There is a time for tradition and stability and there is time a time for innovation and change. The former tends to leave us feeling relaxed and comfortable while the latter can feel threatening and unnerving. There is a certain security to being able to count on the outcome of an oft-repeated approach. On the other hand, innovation can, and often does bring about changes that are unpredictable, uncomfortable, and all too often controversial and misunderstood. And, despite the challenges before us we recognize the need to innovate and change.
How, though, can we be assured that God is really behind the innovations and changes we might be considering? How do we know what changes to get behind and what innovations to challenge? How can we be certain that the innovation before us is really one God has destined us to embark upon? Dr. Gary Oster of Regent University explains, “What makes innovation Christian innovation? …Innovation is Christian when it is ultimately aligned with God’s purpose and methods.” Any innovation or change found to be out alignment is best avoided or discarded. Conversely, those changes consistent with God’s purpose and plan dare not be ignored.
The stakes are high in the field of Christian education. Teachers have great influence in the lives of those they interact with on a daily basis. Ideas, concepts and beliefs passed on take root and develop patterns of thinking that may last a lifetime. Any innovation or lack of innovation will bring about a change or constancy that either way will leave its imprint on a student. So the more we understand God’s purposes and methods, the more we are able to recognize His hand and His timing in change. We will know when to move forward and when to hold pat. Our futures and the futures of our students may very well depend on our individual and collective ability to correctly discern His presence in the midst of change. Ergo, having an understanding of God’s purposes and methods is not optional, it is imperative.