Church Schools need YOU

Church Schools need YOU

15 May 2014

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Is my Faith strong enough to be the Head of a Church School?

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

In the many inquiries I receive from prospective candidates, this is by far the question most frequently asked.  Time and time again I find myself having to dispel many a myth regarding the spiritual expectations of the Headteacher and perhaps the biggest issue I confront is the sense of unworthiness.

Firstly, I must stress that the "spiritual criteria" differs from school to school. Generally speaking, Catholic schools tend to be the more prescriptive; however it should also be noted that the spiritual dimension of Headship is evolving. Whereas traditionally the Head has adopted the role of spiritual leader within Church Schools, no school desires a Head who is "holy but useless". Thus increasingly the "spiritual stewardship" of Church Schools can be found in the Deputy Head, Senior Leadership Team, Chaplaincy, or even through the local church connection.

After all, our Church Schools are the mission field - not only for the pupils but staff too! I have had the privilege of visiting many a school whose staff testify to their faith being strengthened through the example and faith of the whole community. It is not impossible that this could apply to you as Headteacher.

For let's face it, we are all a work-in-progress, none of us are truly worthy, and many of us may find a contradiction in our private lives. That is not unique, nor is it necessarily a disqualifier - unless that contradiction is extreme! Jesus himself spoke of faith the size of a mustard seed being able to move mountains, implying that the amount of faith is not the issue, rather the object and power that the faith accesses.

So to those of you querying whether your faith is strong enough to be the Head of a Church School, I offer another question. What are you more convinced of, your unworthiness or his worth? What is more real to you, the smallness of your faith or the greatness of your God? After all, this is the same God who called fearful Gideon a valiant warrior and unstable Peter a rock. Surely that has to count for something!

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