‘This book is quite different from anything I have read about education’. So says one of the endorsements on the back cover, and I’d have to agree. What on Earth could a book called ‘To Infinity and Turn Left’ have to do with purpose for Christians in education? The fact is though, there is very little written for Christian teachers that takes them to the spiritual heart of their ministry. This book is a resounding exception.
Graham Coyle is a good story teller, but the many humorous stories, drawn from the author’s rich and long experience as a teacher, are always tied in artfully to biblical principles which will strengthen the vision and faith of any Christian in education.
For example, what do you do when you are leading a ski trip and you have a series of serious accidents? Well, apart from following all of the correct guidelines, you pray of course. Or at least the author does, with the outcomes clearly depositing a faith-building legacy in those concerned. Alternatively, what educational lessons can be learned when you are on safari and in serious danger of being attacked by a lion? The answer, well I don’t want my review to spoil it for you, so you will have to read the book.
He has clearly reflected deeply on the purpose of being a representative of Jesus to those we teach, and presents his discoveries in a light and accessible manner. No matter what our experience so far, he invites us all to travel further into the love of the Father, the wisdom of Jesus and the power of the Spirit.
The anecdotes are interspersed with biblical passages, presented as if to be resting points on the journey. Each provides the opportunity to stop and consider the personal implications of what is being said. This tone is enhanced by a question at the close of each chapter. Don’t rush through this book too quickly, you might miss the voice of God speaking to you.
The author’s emphasis is always focussed on the pupils, and he presents questions such as, ‘What does God desire to see grow in the lives of those we teach? What is the link between wisdom and holiness? How are intimacy in connecting with God, and courage in following God linked for the Christian educator?’ Throughout the book there is no deviation from the passion to see every teacher and every child fulfilling the Heavenly calling that their Creator has placed before them.
In an age when we are ever conscious of the challenges of being a Christian in a school environment, this book presents a refreshing, thoughtful and welcome perspective. Be warned, it may well change your whole outlook on teaching.
Finally, another of the endorsements puts it like this, ‘I wish I had read this book before I started my teaching career’; I share the sentiment.
The author, Graham Coyle, is chairman of the European Educators’ Christian Association, an affiliate member of the European Evangelical Alliance and an EEA Hope for Europe network with the aim to encourage and equip Christian educators in Europe. For more information, please find the book available for purchase on Amazon.