There’s a funny thing about community: a pattern so evident, one that we see so often, that we could say it’s intrinsic to our nature as humans. The pattern is this: successful, enduring communities have faithful, diligent leaders.
Try to imagine a group of people getting together and automatically doing everything in conjunction with and to the benefit of everyone else present. It can’t happen. Our very nature prohibits this from happening. We aren’t mind readers, so we don’t know what one person is thinking, much less a whole room full of people, a whole school, a whole church, or a whole nation. In order for a group to move in the same direction while striving to reach an agreed upon goal, someone must lead. A ship must have a captain, an orchestra must have a conductor, a team needs a coach, a tribe needs a chief, and a state must have a governor. If no one leads faithfully and diligently, then these collections of people will not be together striving toward the same goal for very long. No matter how long they are together, they will not succeed in reaching the goal.
Since Classical Conversations is a community of people, Classical Conversations needs leaders: point guards, coaches, conductors, or directors; Classical Conversations needs captains.
The image at the top of this article is a picture of Classical Conversations’ corporate team. They lay down their lives for us—every day, every week, all year—in order to insure that our needs as an educational community are met. However, they can’t do it all. This year, there are over 81,000 Classical Conversations students. No matter how amazing these seven people are (and they are amazing), they cannot serve 81,000 students effectively. No way. And they are not only amazing, they are wise. They were wise enough to structure our national community so that our local communities have all the support, help, encouragement, and structure they need to succeed.
From the corporate team to the national directors, field managers, regional managers, area managers, support managers, and local directors, the structure of Classical Conversations is not a corporate ladder which everyone is trying to climb to the top. The leaders of the organization have the wisdom to place people according to their gifts and then provide them with the tools and information they need to see that the work is accomplished—that the race is finished—and that the coming generation receives the tools and skills they need to “know God and make Him known.”
This being said—that the corporate team can’t do it all on their own—implies that Classical Conversations needs people on the ground in the communities who are willing to serve as leaders. As you think about what type of person they’re seeking, don’t imagine some college-degreed, state-accredited, licensed, tenured, professional educator.
Rather, think about parents: parents who love Jesus, love their spouse and children, and want to see students better prepared than they themselves were “to know God and make Him known.” Imagine parents with eyes fixed ultimately on Heaven instead of Harvard, parents who love Christ’s people and want to assist others in accomplishing the same goal for their children, and parents who believe a classical and Christian education is the best way to accomplish this task of raising our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
If that kind of parent describes you, then consider yourself a prospective applicant as a Foundations tutor, Challenge director, or support manager. Somewhere along the way, you may decide this is not for you, but do not rule yourself out because you don’t believe you’re smart enough, educated enough, a good enough leader, or a good enough follower. Open yourself up to the possibility that you are the next tutor, director, or manager because in a community, if everyone assumes someone else will lead, then no one will lead and the community will die.
The fields of the nations are white unto harvest and men and women hear the call and lay down their lives to gather the flock of Jesus Christ. The fields of the churches are white unto harvest and pastors, elders, and deacons hear the call and lay down their lives to minister to the flock of the Great Shepherd. The fields of our children’s education are white unto harvest and I am calling you, one Classical Conversations parent to another, to lead our programs into the future—a future which is always just around the corner. If we are to step into that future together, we need people to lead us.
So, I’ll close with some parting words of Dr. George Grant1:
Invoking one of our great heroes in the Classical, Christian school movement: it was G. K. Chesterton who said it so well, ‘If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.’ Of course, Chesterton did not mean to plunge ahead in mediocrity. He wasn’t advocating that we shrug off our responsibilities to grow and mature in Christ and competency. He wasn’t saying that we are to shirk our responsibilities in our lesson planning and in our scope and sequence.
He was saying that if a thing is worth doing, it is just worth doing, no matter what. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing, no matter whether you have the expertise or not. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing regardless of whether you have good facilities, strong financial backing, certainty of an inflow of competent teachers. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing.
So, do your work. Rest in God’s providence. Trust in His grace. Rely on His mercy. Uphold His promises and change the world.
1 George Grant, “The Begats: Genealogy of Classical Christian Education” (lecture, 2009 ACCS Conference, Charlottesville, VA, March 11-13, 2009).