Poll by Global Christian School Leadership Summit (GCSLS) Cites Enrollment, Cultural Relevance and Diversity as Educators’ Top Priorities
Three out of every four Christian school leaders report they are more optimistic about the future of Christian education after a landmark summit to address challenges in an era of “seismic” cultural change, according to survey results released today.
A poll of participants at the 2019 Global Christian School Leadership Summit (GCSLS), in San Antonio, Texas, surveyed more than 700 Christian school administrators and teachers from dozens of countries—and produced eye-opening results.
While 73 percent of respondents reported being “more encouraged” about the future of the Christian school movement, education leaders from around the world highlighted key issues they say private Christian schools must tackle if they’re to remain relevant and continue to attract students.
Citing enrollment, cultural relevance, and diversity as the top three priorities facing Christian schools in 2019, leaders at the summit voiced their resolve to ensure Christian schools continue to focus on providing a distinctive, faith-based education in an increasingly pluralistic and post-religious culture.
“This summit has been a tremendous encouragement for all of us in the private Christian school movement, helping Christian educators focus on our shared mission to educate and raise a generation of young people with a passion for God,” GCSLS chairperson Lynn Swaner, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at ACSI, said. “With seismic shifts taking place in their communities and across the world, Christian educators are willing to confront the difficult issues and engage the culture, believing the most influential days of Christian education are yet to come.”
According to the GCSLS survey, current issues of greatest importance for Christian schools are:
Keeping Christian education and spiritual nurture front and center (76 percent)
Equipping students and schools to engage the culture (63.8 percent)
Marketing challenge to ensure viability and sustainability of the Christian school movement (50.88 percent).
Educating students from diverse backgrounds and forming authentic community (41.2 percent)
Educators at the summit stressed the need for Christian schools to stay true to a biblical worldview in cultural settings often apathetic or hostile towards the Christian faith. They also pledged their commitment to innovation in order to equip students to use technology for Christ-honoring causes.
“We’re very encouraged by the direction Christian schools are moving,” said Swaner, adding that the summit was a shot-in-the-arm of encouragement for 1,000-plus Christian educators and the eight sponsoring associations representing more than 25,000 Christian schools and six million students worldwide. Of those polled at the summit Jan. 30-Feb.1, 100 percent said they would put lessons learned at the summit into practice.
The biennial Global Christian Schools Leadership Summit (GCSLS, www.gcsls.org) is the foremost gathering of Christian education leaders worldwide. GCSLS is co-sponsored by eight Christian school associations: Association of Christian Schools International (www.acsi.org), Christian Schools International (www.csionline.org), Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (www.cesaschools.org). National Christian School Association (www.nationalchristian.org), Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools (www.sbacs.org), Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (www.actsschools.org), International Christian Accrediting Association (www.icaa.oruef.org), and Christian Schools Australia (www.csa.edu.au).