International (MNN) – Transformational education is not an everyday concept, but TeachBeyond is trying to change that.
Around the world, the fallout from systemic abuse is causing people to ask questions and listen in new ways. Movements like #MeToo are bringing big issues that have been hiding to light. For many the depth of this sin is overwhelming. But TeachBeyond hopes to use the power of education and God’s Word to change lives, even in the midst of messes like sexual abuse in the workplace.
A global problem
Recently there have been many people pointing the US and the world to injustices against women. And George Durance, President of TeachBeyond, believes that this is right. There are major issues with how American culture treats women. However, he also notes that in the US, on the surface, women are treated better than in almost any place at any time. He points out that while that sounds good, there is still massive mistreatment and abuse. Clearly there is more than just a cultural problem at play.
Durance explains, “And so we don’t like to talk about the global issue, but I think it’s actually helpful to say not only is this an American problem, this is a global problem. Because then we can get to what the real issue is, which is that it’s not just about culture. Yes, we have a cultural problem in America, but it’s a deeper thing than that because it crosses cultures and it crosses time. So then we have to ask ourselves what really is the problem? And I think the Bible gives us a very different explanation than what we would pick up in maybe Time [magazine] or popular culture today.”
Seeing through a Gospel lens
This idea that problems like objectification and sexual abuse can be answered through the Bible is part of what drives TeachBeyond. The educators at TeachBeyond believe in more than just bringing quality education to students, or righting behavioral issues. They believe in raising another generation to see tough issues – like sexual abuse – through the lens of the Gospel. Their classrooms are focused on transformational education.
So they approach their classrooms with a deep knowledge of school subjects and a desire to root out sinful attitudes, like those at play in sexual abuse. However, they also bring a vision to help raise a generation that offers God’s truth in difficult situations.
Durance says, “Our Lord told us the main issue starts way back in the heart. So He said to people if you are thinking lustfully about a woman, then that’s the equivalent of actually doing it. The sin is all the way back into the thought and if we can deal with the thought– if we can have God address the thought issue, the heart and mind issue, then I don’t think we’re going to have to worry so much about the behavior.”
TeachBeyond seeks to do more than mask poor behavior and sinful beliefs with a culturally appropriate cover. They want to help children and adults solve the big issues with the truth of the Gospel. They want their students to have correct behavior, but also see that right living corresponds with a new heart.
“We wire into our educational settings this quest for something much deeper than behavior. Behavior is important and it needs to be worked with. But far more importantly we’re looking for a re-creation, a new life in the person. So that as our Lord says, out of our innermost being will flow rivers of living water, health and healing to our culture.”
When students walk out the door of their TeachBeyond classrooms, they can see that life isn’t just about them anymore. It’s about how God has called them to humbly treat others with love.
This kind of vision is radical in a lot of cultures. Partners are held to high standards that may often seem bizarre to them at first. Durance says, “We’re willing to work with all kinds of people, but we will not work with groups that for example will not accept the equality of boys and girls.”
They hold to standards that are higher than what is just culturally appropriate. They hold to Scripture. This gives TeachBeyond the freedom to seek the kind of transformational education that truly changes communities.
Durance says that the most important way to join TeachBeyond is through prayer. Pray that educators are able to effectively live out Christ in the classroom. That they would model what is true and right so that their students might see that and be transformed.
If you are an educator and looking for a way to serve, visit go.teachbeyond.org to see what opportunities might fit with your passions. Or consider supporting transformational education with your financial gifts at give.teachbeyond.org.