How to reach into schools without reaching into schools!
First published: 9 November 2010 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 14 June 2022 (GMT+10)
The filter effect of creation materials
One of the things that infuriates anti-Christians is the fact that much of CMI’s information is getting into the hands of students at school. But how is this happening, considering that creation ministries get very few invitations to speak in non-Christian schools anywhere in the world?
Actually, a 30–40 minute talk to students, with an evolutionist teacher having the rest of the year to ‘rebut’ with no chance of any ‘counter’, is not very useful anyway. It can even be counter-productive. We’ve found that an evolutionist teacher may even misrepresent the arguments that were presented—sometimes from lack of understanding and sometimes deliberately.
If a teacher or student can become persuaded on this issue (e.g. by Creation magazine) they can be much more effective with students than an outside speaker. Teachers especially can continue the outreach in their school long-term, answering objections along the way via ongoing access to the resources, as the following real-life examples show.
A ‘very interesting story’
The first comes from a strong CMI supporter, G.Z., who told us of this ‘very interesting story’ of his friend, ‘Andrew’, the son of a liberal church minister.
A friend invited Andrew to Bible Study Fellowship. G.Z. writes that:
“ … when his father saw that Andrew was getting excited by what he was learning, he decided to straighten him out by giving him some books to read by Bishop John Shelby Spong.”
The ultraliberal Spong does not believe in a real Resurrection, life after death, etc. (enter ‘Spong’ in our site’s search engine above for more info).
“Andrew said he then became very confused and mixed up in what he believed. While teaching at a country school, he was telling his students how homing pigeons can find their way home and a fellow teacher asked him if he had ever read Creation magazine. She signed him up as a gift subscription, but he didn’t really read them. They just kept coming and he got very frustrated, so phoned up and cancelled them. Then he read an apologetics book on evidences for Christianity; this so affected him, he gave his life to the Lord—and immediately realized he needed to sign up to that Creation magazine again.”
It took time to undo the mixed-up ideas Andrew had, but, says G.Z., he is “… now a very keen supporter of the CMI ministry and uses your material in his science classes at the public high school where he teaches science & mathematics.”
Isn’t that exciting? This is exactly why our strategy is to primarily reach the churches. Once reached, folk then use the materials to reach others, like the teacher who gave Andrew a gift magazine subscription—even though he rejected it at first. The power is in the information simply because most have never heard it before—it causes the lights to go on.
In-school creation evangelism
The second story is from S.A. who was a teacher at a non-Christian school in Australia. He writes:
“I have been committed to presenting a quality academic program. However my greatest passion has been to point boys to Jesus. I have found it impossible to tell the boys of God’s love for them and his claim on their lives without dealing with [Genesis/creation] questions … Invariably even boys at a year five level believe that the Bible has been proved wrong by science.”
“Questions about Adam and Eve, Dinosaurs, Noah’s Ark and the Flood must be answered if the students are going to take the Gospel seriously. As a result I have sought wherever I could to present both an evolutionary view as the curriculum prescribes but also a Biblical one beside it. I have always found that [through this approach] boys have been involved and challenged, taking far more seriously what the Bible has to say.
“On a couple of occasions there has been an effort to stamp out my approach under the guise that it is important for the school that I teach exactly the same curriculum as my colleagues. However in the past, after protesting and meeting with the headmaster of the school, documenting in minute detail what I was doing, the situation has gone no further and I have continued to present a Biblical point of view wherever I could.”
He goes on to say that he kept on standing up to the pressure until recently, when he felt he had no option but to resign. Prior to that, he had received:
“… the overwhelming support of parents and some fellow staff members that encouraged me to continue and keep my head up. Many of these parents have not had church connections but have been delighted with the way their boys have matured and progressed in their work. I actually believe that the changes in the boy’s lives have come because they are becoming more aware that God loves them and that they answer ultimately to Him. Much of what I have presented in the classroom has come through your materials. I am much indebted to you.”
S.A.’s years of powerful creation witness to his students were enabled by CMI supporters. Their support has made it possible for CMI to keep pumping out this vital information, and to continue reaching out to church after church in countries around the world, so that creation materials get into the hands of as many as possible. Many of those who are reached will be students and others will be teachers. All of them will be passing on the truth.
Since 1977, Creation magazine has been the most successful of all of the resources CMI produces at getting people to consider creation as an alternative view of origins. Its success, we believe, comes from the fact it is a ‘glossy mag’ and non-believers seem to be less threatened by same. However, as mentioned above, the information it contains is very powerful.
Did you know that for every four gift subscriptions you obtain you can get a fifth free? Are there any schoolteachers that you know who could benefit from receiving a subscription posted directly to them. What about school libraries, for example? May we encourage you to consider this. You can simply add their names and addresses in the Creation magazine section of our store here.
(This article first appeared in a CMI newsletter in 2006.)