“I think the (Charlotte Mason) philosophy and methods sell themselves. They just need an EVANGELIST, someone to introduce them to others.”
These are the words of Jenn Stec written to her mother, Linda Fern, who lives in Boiling Springs and helped with registration at the 2012 ChildLight USA Conference held this past week at Gardner Webb University. Jenn and her family moved to Lexington, Kentucky last July, away from family and friends and their CM community. She was at first hesitant to shine her CM light in her new surroundings, but a fellow CM-er who told her to go ahead and start a reading group because “at the end of the day, the Lord will draw whom he wills.” She did, and Jenn found that families were hungry for Charlotte Mason’s ideas and practices.
This year’s conference filled me to overflowing. When Linda shared Jenn’s words with me, I was moved to act. It was the word “EVANGELIST” that got me. “Evangelist” means “one who brings the good news.” An evangelist is someone who brings a message of light, life, hope, and joy. We most often use it to refer to someone who brings the gospel of Christ to people in an especially passionate way.
I must confess that I have held back a bit on sharing this treasure we have found and love so much. I’ve been nervous that I will mark myself as too non-standard or atypical in some of my circles. I have not wanted to begin a small work only to see it hi-jacked when parents grow nervous about being too far outside the mainstream. This little CM light of mine … I’ve kept it under a bushel, bringing it out to burn brightly only when and where I knew there were kindred spirits and receptive hearts and minds.
I hereby repent.
By protecting myself, I realize I never give anyone a chance to “taste and see” that this way of life and learning may indeed be the nourishment seekers have always been craving. Art Middlekauf said that Charlotte Mason ‘led him to living water.” I know that she brought me into a much “larger room” of Christ’s Lordship than I had known before. There are families and students in my own city, neighborhood, and even church who may be yearning to stand and stretch in that large room and don’t know where to find it. I want to bring them there.
While I do so treasure our national conferences, I feel the surge of conviction to take up this work of assisting as many of you who will in hosting regional retreats and beginning reading groups and co-ops or cottage schools in 2013. Several schools and co-ops already exist and host such events, and I plan to draw from what they have learned about evangelizing through these means in their corners of America and beyond.
If you haven’t already, please let me know of your reading group, cottage school, co-op, or community — or your desire to begin one. If you do host a regional retreat, I know that those who wish to host one would love to draw from your experience if you would be so generous to share. Contact me through ChildLightUSA.
So shine your lights and evangelize! Offer your living bread and water to a hungry and thirsty world, and know that CLUSA will support and encourage you in offering this life-giving education to your various communities.
© Lisa Cadora 2012