Jesus then came into Galilee announcing the good news from God. All the preliminaries have been taken care of, and the rule of God is now accessible to everyone. Review your plans for living and base your life on this remarkable new opportunity. Dallas Willard's paraphrase of Mark 1:15.
Monday, May 30, 2011
God's Heart for Urban Education 3
David Waters was at our gathering the night David Montague spoke. Afterwards he wrote a great article on MTR. Here's part of that article.
Virginia Boyd wants to serve God and Memphis by becoming the best math teacher any city school kid has ever had.
David Montague and Robin Scott want to serve God and Memphis by helping Virginia do that.
"You don't have to talk about the love and compassion and mercy of Christ to demonstrate it," said Montague, a former stockbroker turned public school evangelist. "Becoming the best math teacher a kid's ever had is a valid response to the gospel."
Montague and Scott are leading the Memphis Teacher Residency, one of many nonprofit organizations that have responded to the Gates Foundation's $90-million challenge to put an effective teacher in every Memphis City Schools classroom.
Like Teach for America and the Memphis Teaching Fellows, MTR seeks to recruit, train and support outstanding urban educators in Memphis. What makes MTR different is its mission to do that "within a Christian context."
MTR's "Christian context" comes in the motivation, not the implementation.
"It's a shared mission, that's the heart of it," said Scott, a former Indiana public school teacher and MTR's director of education. Teaching in large, urban systems "is too hard, too demanding not to have a sense of mission about it," Scott said. "You have to see urban education as a calling."
MTR recruits and accepts only candidates who believe that teaching in large, urban public schools systems is a Christian calling, not just a career. But candidates also must believe they should not discuss their faith in a public school setting.
"America is not short on information about the gospel," said Montague, a former Christian missionary who directs MTR's work from offices in the basement of Union Avenue Baptist Church. "It is short on demonstrations of the power of the gospel."
MTR's mission is to demonstrate the love of Christ by recruiting Christians who are committed to transforming the city's public schools into bastions of academic excellence for all children.
Christians committed to seeing academic achievement gaps as biblically unjust.
Christians committed to sacrificing their own standards of living to improve those of others.
Christians committed to serving their neighbors' children and not just their own.
"Twenty years from now," said Dr. Maxie Dunnam, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, "when our educational system is more effectively and fairly serving the children of our city, we will look back and realize that David Montague and Memphis Teacher Residency Program played a major role in getting us to that place."