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Chapter Four

How to Start A Christian Daycare

Rev. Ellsworth E. McIntyre

Founder of Grace Community Schools & Early Childhood Education Pioneer

Chapter Four

Lessons Taught by Experience

Must we always learn by personal suffering at the cruel hands of experience? Can’t we learn instead from examples, and benefit from the experience of others? Would it not be better if we took the advice of experienced mentors? Yes, unquestion­ably so, but I am ashamed to admit that some lessons have been beaten into this teacher again and again only by brutal experi­ence.

In the hope that you may benefit by my wounds and avoid my mistakes, hear a horrible (but true) tale of this pilgrim-teacher on his way to a better place where all good Christian teachers can teach without starving.

The road included six hours of searing heat from Greenville, South Carolina to a Baptist day school in Savannah, Georgia. My six children clamored for a cooling turn next to the window of the tiny Volkswagen. The rolling hills of the Piedmont flattened to the endless plain of the Tidewater country. Tall pine trees mixed with something new to our Yankee eyes—palm trees—gave way to the huge, stately oaks draped in Spanish moss, lining the streets of old Savannah. Visions of a subtropical paradise swayed in our minds in concert with the palms fencing Victory Drive.

No more cold Pennsylvania winters, no more meaningless commercial work. We were in the wonderful Bible-believing, conservative South. The promise of freedom to teach our glorious faith was worth any sacrifice, but Savannah was not sacrifice (or so we believed). We were willing to brave any hardship to give the young the benefit of our experience and the

Word of God. True, we would have to continue to live in our tin- roofed trailer, but such a price was too small to merit even a passing consideration. We were in the glorious, Bible-believing, sun-kissed South, on the seashore with a golden opportu­nity to earn heavenly reward. But in material terms, the reward was small. My salary was only $6,000 per year, but that was more than any other Christian school had offered. It was enough.

The swaying palm tree and Southern vision came true for three years. We bought a trailer lot on a saltwater creek behind Savannah Beach. Those golden days yield memories of crab traps, shrimp nets, and the sting of salt water in the eyes. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the dolphins playfully leaping high into the air at high tide in my backyard.

Loyalty to Church Instead of Fidelity to God

Blessings also followed in the classroom as well as at home. 18 of the 32 seniors graduating at the end of my third year of teaching chose to continue their Christian education at my alma mater, Bob Jones University. Then the tin roof of my sunny world collapsed. My alma mater was not the pastor’s first choice for his graduates. Angrily, he began to pressure the young graduates to reject their decision to follow my footsteps. When the news of the conflict reached my surprised ears, it was already too late to restore good will. Still, I heroically tried. I became neutral about college choices. My students decided that I was under pressure to keep my job. Too late I realized my feigned neutrality was gasoline on the fires of discontent.

I quietly started looking for a new position. I found one at a large school in Indiana, but my angry pastor levelled charges that I was unfit for Christian work, because of “disloyalty” to the pastor. The Indiana school withdrew their offer. Finally, I found a school that neglected to get a reference from the vindictive pastor. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I would be able to feed my family. Another job offer came from a local roofing prod­ucts company. Craftily, I allowed everyone to think I was going to quit teaching when the school term ended and work in a factory. The persecution stopped, I suppose, because my pastor believed that he was successful in driving me from my calling.

The short peace was not to last. My students were heartbro­ken when their school annual arrived. Proudly, they had dedi­cated the annual to their beloved teacher. It seemed that they too erred. The angry pastor intercepted the yearbooks and had my picture cut from the book. The pettiness of this deed astonished even usually impassive teenagers. Fearful insecurity crept into the eyes of the students. Many had known divorce in their lives. They had hoped to find higher things from those who teach the Word of God.

My family found their happy times on the seashore ending. It had been a joyful time that even our relative poverty could not dampen. As the wise proverb teaches, “When children are very young, all is well if they are with Mother and Father. They will lie in the gutter with contentment.”

Never Persecute Other Christians

Today in my preschool ministry, I teach many children who have fine clothes and lovely toys. They have houses to live in, but no home so magnificent as a tin-roofed trailer with Mother and Father and no fear of divorce. Among those too familiar with insecurity, the little preschoolers say the heartbreaking things. My wife and I have grown accustomed to fearful eyes.

“Mrs. McIntyre, where is Mr. McIntyre going?” My wife will respond to the fear in the little one’s voice and eyes, “To the bank, honey, just to the bank.” As the tiny one watches my car depart the school parking lot, the child searches my wife’s face and haltingly says, “Is he ever coming back?”

Every parent considering divorce should be required to hear that moan and see those eyes filled with pain. Hopefully, they would not want experience to teach their children to believe in divorce. Likewise, it is horrible to persecute substitute parents or teachers. It hurts the already wounded children of broken or breaking homes. It is enough to know about such things in the world. Such pettiness should not be seen among those called “Christian.”

Presumption is Sin

My teaching career was the first of many church-fight lessons in the blind sin of presumption. My wife meekly followed me without complaint across the polished hardwood floors of our six-year-old brick home past the huge stone fireplace out the door to live in a mobile home park. It would be 16 years before we would know middle-class housing once again.

Not only would we learn to live without a brick house, but without proper clothing (we learned how to use secondhand stores), proper health care (we learned to use the poor clinics), proper food (we learned to use charity); and finally, we even learned to deliver two of our children at home to save medical expenses. We were told by our Bible teachers that all of the above was living by “faith.” The Bible, however, has a different name for what we did. It is called “infidelity.” In direct opposi­tion to the expressed word of God and common sense, we neglected to provide for our own: “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel” (I Tim. 5:8).

Biblical love is the keeping of the commandments (I John 5:3). To live in disregard of God’s Word is not faith but presumption masquerading as faith. Of all people on earth, the Christian should be the most careful to provide for his family. The Christian, led by He who is faith, has no choice but obedience. It is the law! Because my family survived and even prospered spiritually does not prove the correctness of my inadequate theology. What my experience proves is that the Lord generously decided to forgive my sin and reward my blind efforts in spite of my error. What if my wife had died in childbirth without proper medical attention? What if my chil­dren had risen up to curse the church that failed to pay their father a decent living? Would my college teachers have blessed my walk of faith under any of the above? Probably, a fool’s faith is often secure even in the face of reality and Scripture. I, on the other hand, would not abide in make-believe “faith,” because the Lord, by grace, taught me to believe in the more Biblical way. Scripture taught by experience is a lesson not to be denied when taught by the gracious hand of God. My teachers only knew the words, “The workman’s worthy of his hire.” Today the schools I own pay couples up to $50,000 a year. Why? Because I believe the workman is worthy of his hire. I am bound by His love to obey. This is a stronger faith!

To return to the narrative, however, I had already found a new position. I had only three days of employment remaining. My offending picture had been sliced from the yearbook. Mercifully, burning at the stake is beyond the powers of the modem church, so my punishment for undue influence on my students was complete. Right? Wrong! There’s more!

After the Sunday evening service, my pastor blocked my usual exit out the side door. I was startled to see him smiling widely, beaming with what seemed like pure love. “Please stop by the office before you go home,” he gently asked. I turned to my wife and asked her to wait, since we only had the tiny Volkswagen and a twenty-mile round trip to our trailer. I pondered what the pastor could have on his mind: “He’s a good guy,” I thought. “A little hotheaded, but a great Christian. He’s smart, at least most of the time. I’ll bet he wants to say he’s sorry and to wish me well. Sometimes even when staff members stole money or committed adultery, he would find another job for them at another church. My pastor could be most forgiving. After all, I had not been a thief or adulterer. My students had just loved me too much to go to the pastor’s college. Yes, that must be it,” I thought. “He’ll want me not to leave on Friday but stay over for the Sunday service. Sly dog that he is, such a move will heal the church; that is, if I am willing to forgive and forget carving me out of the yearbook. Oh, well, if it helps the church, I suppose I must forgive. Why shouldn’t the pastor publicly wish me well? After all, I had lasted three whole years. That was longer than the principal, his staff, and most of the faculty had lasted.”

My silly speculations faded into cold reality as the pastor’s office door swung open to reveal a room full of twisted, nervous faces. If I am ever to die as did my Lord, I will know the little, impotent stare of small men who will not or cannot bear to look at the face of the innocent damned. As I eyed each man one by one, he looked carefully at the floor. The pastor delivered an angry monologue interrupted by two accusers. One was a parent who testified that his son, who was not present, had once remarked that he thought that Mr. McIntyre did not agree with the pastor’s doctrine. The accusing parent was not sure what and where the alleged disagreement was, but the charge was solid enough for my enraged pastor. My questions were only fuel for the pastor’s recollections of remarks made by one of the mothers in the church book store. Yes, the pastor was sure now that he remembered a mother, whose son also had doubts about my Bible doctrine. “Oh, yes!” the preacher almost yelled this point. Our fearless church leader had found in the waste paper, taken from my room, student papers which quoted Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese Communist. Eyes bulging, neck chords danc­ing, he glared at each of the school board. Suddenly, I seemed to notice that the men seemed even smaller than usual—an incredible shrinking band of silent faces. When Elijah asked Israel, “Why halt ye between two opinions?” I now know why Israel “answered him not a word.” Israel came to see someone die, and they were not about to see it be themselves! They were spectators, nothing more!

My other accuser was the pastor’s alter ego, the youth pastor. He said that I had deliberately scheduled a graduation party at my trailer in conflict with one of his activities. He further remarked that he knew of the conflict in advance and had warned his youthful charges to avoid my party or risk being thrown from the church. In face of this challenge, some of the teens had told the youth pastor to his face where to get off. “Not a very surprising, unexpected consequence for normal teen­agers,” I remarked. “Why didn’t you just let me know of the conflict so that I could change the date of the party?”

The roar of the pastor drowned out the stammering reply of the dull-witted teen leader. “I don’t believe you didn’t know. Don’t try to say that. You did it on purpose. . . .” Taking advantage of a short gap of silence while the pastor gasped for air and new ways to repeat his “serious” charges, I begged each man in the room with children in my classes to refute the notion that I had undermined the church. They shrugged their shoul­ders and rolled their eyes. Some moved their lips, but it was apparent they had come to watch a hanging, not to be hanged. Finally, just when I thought my misery was never to end, the petty pastor raised his arm and with two little fingers pressed together slowly lowered his arm in an arc. From his huge mouth in a huge voice, he said, “I sever you from the body of Christ.” For a moment, the room fell silent. The pastor, realizing the thin ice beneath his “excommunication,” said, “I realize I don’t have power to do this, but if you are as guilty as I believe you are, the Lord will certainly sever you from the body of Christ.” Someone mumbled that they had other school business to conduct. I excused myself and walked numbly into the hall. There was a tap on my shoulder. It was the principal. “Don’t forget to report to work tomorrow. You must clear up every item on the checkout list if you want your final paycheck,” he said. I couldn’t answer. Shocked surprise closed my throat. I stared stupidly at him. My voice returning, I wisecracked, “Excommunication doesn’t get one out of work, I see.” He did not smile. The principal repeated his command again. He was clearly not impressed with his pastor’s power to consign one to hell and obviously even if I were on my way to hell, my principal was not going to let that interfere with more important matters. Other men in the hall, now suddenly out of the pastor’s eyesight, found their voice, “Thank you for your ministry. My children really love you,” and such good wishes. It was clear the doctrine of excommunication was a doctrine held even more weakly than tithing.

I found my family waiting in the darkened sanctuary. My wife finally asked the dreaded question, “What did the pastor want?” I could tell from her tone that she shared my earlier optimistic hopes. She also thought the pastor would surely turn from vindictiveness. I was glad that the room was dimly lit, for if she could see my face, she would surely have known that I was not well. I said with a husky voice full of emotion, “The pastor had me meet with the board, and some other prominent men in the church for a trial. The pastor tried to excommunicate me.” She thought I was making a joke. “Good old Mac, he’s quite a joker.” I didn’t laugh nor could I laugh about that ridiculous night for a long time. The obvious humor I appreciate now, but only from a distance. You see, before I knew about inquisition, heresy trials, and martyrdom, but now I was uncomfortably close to feeling the pain of such things. Experience had altered my thinking forever with another lesson.

Incidentally, the pastor’s church survived his poor ad­ministration, but the school’s enrollment dropped by nearly 200 students. The school never recovered from firing me, but as I was told, “The pastor never believed a Christian school was necessary in the first place.”

Substituting Church Law for God’s Law-Word

What did I learn from my first three years and my pseudo excommunication? Well, first, I learned that the perception of disloyalty to a pastor is a far greater sin than stealing or adultery. Before my experience, I knew that evangelical dispensational Christians did not believe they were bound to obey the com­mandments. They never tire of saying, “We are under grace, not law.” Now I believed that the word of God or the law was not as important to them as the word of the strongest man in the church. In four more evangelical churches, I would see strong men (not usually the pastor) rule, in spite of openly breaking the commandments. Don’t misunderstand. The Bible does indeed teach salvation by grace, but some modem churches have perverted that doctrine to mean that church members can con­tinue in sin without change and still be certain that they are on the way to heaven. As a result, the practicing thief and adulterer, if thought to be loyal to the leader, is considered in grace. When man’s law is substituted for God’s, such perversion is the rule, not the exception. I am embarrassed to say that this painful lesson was taught to me several times.

Robbing Widows in the Name of God

My next administrative job was as a principal of a Christian school run by a church in Havre de Grace, Maryland. I sold my trailer and with the money made a down payment on a very old house in a very old town called Perryville. Perryville, I came to learn, was famous for a hospital caring for insane soldiers. As I now think of it, that was the right place for me. Only I was in the Lord’s army, but, in many regards, just as much out of touch with reality as the mentally broken soldiers of the United States Army. Christians who live according to their fancies instead of the law of God are truly insane.

My new pastor will serve as an illustration of just how insane such denial of reality can be. He had sold bonds to expand and pay for a church and school building too large for his church’s income. When the church did not magically grow to be as full as his dreams (called prayers) demanded, he sold more bonds to pay for his previous bonds. As a matter of fact, he sold bonds to pay bonds for six successive separate issues of bonds. He called this walking by “faith.” Sound familiar? After the sixth issue of bonds, he began to be hounded by the federal government for tax money withheld from the teachers’ payroll.

The I.R.S. does not believe in walking by “faith.” They won’t walk without real money! My pastor hurriedly named a succes­sor and ran to a new church in Michigan, where I fervently hope he did not continue to walk by “faith.”

I had the retching experience of interviewing widows demanding payment for bonds. Painfully, I explained there was no money. The new pastor and I would try to get the church and school on a paying basis, but in the meantime, we could not meet the church’s contractual obligations. After learning that their trust in the good pastor had been misplaced, the women would shuffle stoop-shouldered from my sight; the Bible verse, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses” (Matt. 23:14) would ring in my tormented mind.

The school was bankrupt. All the money was given to the government to keep the chain and seal from locking the doors forever. I was thrown on the charity of the church. My family was without income. Disgusted, I decided to leave Christian work. I interviewed with several Baltimore trucking companies with no success. “Overqualified,” they said. “What’s a guy with a master’s degree recently completed at Johns Hopkins want with a freight sales job?” I tried to enter the Army as a chaplain. “Sorry, your graduate work suits you more for education than the ministry.” The only door of opportunity was a principal’s position at another Christian school in Maryland, just off the Washington, D.C. beltway. The Lord’s will is not hard to find when you have only one choice.

By using a government loan program for poor families, I managed to qualify one of the poorest men in our church to buy my Perryville home. I still remember his wonder as we left the attorney’s office. “Am I a homeowner now?” he asked in a hopeful tone. I could see the poor soul had not understood any of the proceeding. “Yes,” I explained, “Although you put no money down, you did sign papers agreeing to pay $103 per month, gradually increasing with your future income. In thirty years, with the government subsidy, you will own the place free and clear. His eyes filled with tears of joy. “I’ll have to call my mother. She won’t believe this.” I winced. What was a faithful right-wing, anti-socialistic Christian teacher like me doing in such a government scheme? Well, in Christian war as in other wars perhaps, one must use every means to victory. Soon a low church salary would crush me to my knees. I still had much to learn about service to the false god of lawlessness that pervades modem society. Sometimes I was told that my poverty was of my own making. As one of the preaching staff’s wives aired her feelings, “Anyone in Christian work that has that many children is irresponsible.” Her dislike of my normal-sized family was nearly universally shared by other “believers.” Either I should have practiced birth control or left church work seemed to be the general consensus. In the Savannah church, my wife was widely pitied for allowing herself to be a “baby machine.”

Experts record that 20 percent of church women are barren. The others have the usual 1.5 children. Of all the stubborn things, however, that I have accomplished—my graduate de­grees, my financial success, my happy 37 years with the same faithful wife—none gives me more joy than the eight children who grace my table. There is no earthly honor or possession to be compared with a child. Sometimes an older person (man usually) would stop my wife and me outside the church and say, “You have such a happy, healthy family. I regret not having more children. I wish that we could have another chance, but if s too late. Do you know what I mean?” “No, I don’t really know” was my unspoken thought. Outwardly, I would say, “Thank you, sir, for your encouragement. Many people are critical of a large family. I appreciate your kindness.”

During those years, the notion that the world would be overpopulated was widely taught in every college. In the face of zero population growth, such nostrums have joined the Loch Ness Monster and similar fairy tales. We have global warming, nuclear waste, and homeless people to terrify pseudo-intel­lectuals at this writing. The myths of the church, when straying from Scripture, are small compared to the outrageous false­hoods of the secular university.

False Doctrine Leads to Hard Service

There are many other horror stories I could recount here. I was jailed for handing out gospel tracts on the street in Green­ville, South Carolina, and afterwards I was jailed in two other South Carolina cities. I was forbidden to preach on the street by my pastor in Savannah, Georgia. But I do not have space or inclination to bury the reader in such stories, no matter how amusing they may be in retrospect. Sufficient to say, I am very grateful for each of these experiences, for they have taught me that false doctrine can lead to hard service. The initial pain of my youthful impulsiveness has mellowed into an older man’s reminiscences. Like a veteran soldier, the hardships are trea­sured memories because of the sweet victory that followed the battle. The Lord has bathed the wounds with success, which is both material and spiritual. That is why you may be reading this book, so you may benefit from my mistakes.

To sum up then, I have personally experienced:

  1. Man’s law in place of God’s;
  2. Bankrupt churches and schools;
  3. Every school except the ones I have founded were financially in deep trouble;
  4. Fraudulent bond sales (a businessman would have been labelled a felon).

Success Breeds Guilt & Envy

My next lesson to learn was that success in some Christian circles breeds guilt and envy. My new school in Maryland was running a deficit. The enrollment was about 200 students. The school was wildly out of control. The halls were strewn with garbage, and on occasion, some of the students thought it great sport to defecate on the floor. Your eyes are not fooling you. Some did a number two on the floor.

The Lord blessed my efforts. By using a direct-mail adver­tising campaign, 1 was able to flood the school with nearly 100 new students per year. By careful administration, I was able to evade various church pressure groups and in five years, the school produced a surplus of over $100,000 per year. By any measure, this was a phenomenal success! I demanded, for the first time, a respectable salary of $32,000 per year.

For 1979, that was not as high as public school principals, but very high for a Christian school principal. In a tough game, I had emerged triumphant. My cup was full. Suddenly, the roof collapsed. The church was shrinking while my school had grown and that didn’t look good for the pastor. While I received a raise, the church and school board passed over the pastor without a raise. Since he was not as strong a leader as my Savannah pastor, all seemed all right, but the men in the church soon witnessed a pastor brimming with envy. In the past, when the pastor’s salary and benefits were rising, he played one church group against the other with skills only thirty years of pastoring can teach. I was soon to learn what harm an envious pastor can do. Now, I found my flanks not so well protected. To make a long story short, five and a half years of success ended with another sacking.

In a hurried effort to keep my family in housing, I became an automobile salesman until another school position could be found. The triumphant pastor hired his son from a small upper New York church to fill my job three weeks before the fall term was to open. (Both the son and the father lost their jobs in less than 18 months after I left.) After six months as an auto salesman, I accepted a post as principal for a another financially troubled Christian school in Wilson, North Carolina.

More Success Produces Faster Sacking

The Wilson school was in debt to two powerful and wealthy men from the sponsoring church. The pastor was not a friend of Christian education. Before my arrival, he had already planned to close the facility. His own family had been reared in the public school, and he made no secret of his opinion that if the church was good, no Christian school was necessary. Providentially, his unbiblical notions were not shared by most of his church members, who had been taught the virtue of Christian education by sterner and wiser preachers before his tenure. The two financial “angels” backed up their faith in Christian education with a line of credit that totaled over $90,000 by the time they sat before me to hear my plan to resuscitate their ailing in­stitution. To their delight and my new pastor’s chagrin, I promised to put them in the black within a year and produce a surplus in two years. I demanded a salary of $34,000. Several of the board, as I later learned, resented the amount and my frank refusal to consider anything less. To shorten the account, the Lord blessed again, and in just two short years, a surplus approaching $100,000 was within sight.

The stage was set for this pilgrim to learn a lesson learned too often before. The board served notice that they would meet several times per year without my attendance. They also balked at giving me a raise. I quickly began looking for another school before I could be sacked again.

A Golden Parachute to Save from Envy

As I sat brooding in my office on the eve of the day I was to fly to New England to interview for another position, I pondered, “Why must teaching success produce such anger?” The smiling face of one of my parents appeared at the door. He was a professional development officer (i.e., he raised money for nonprofit organizations). He was very happy to tell me that he had landed a new job with the Salvation Army. He waved in his hand a five-year contract. Curious, I asked, “Do you mind if I see that?” He didn’t and I photostated the contract. I had a new plan. With just a few modifications, I stepped off the plane the next day in New England with a blank contract for my new school board to consider.

My prayer and plan was simple. If the Lord blessed me with success, I now knew anger by weak and failing Christians was sure to rear its ugly head. I presented my plan to salvage another failing school, but with a new twist at salary discussion time. The salary would be $39,000. If the contract was broken sooner than 5 years, one full year of severance pay had to be paid to me. The school was impressed with my track record, and they were needy and humble. (They always are at the beginning.) In­wardly, I breathed a prayer, “Lord, if this is your will, let it be with the contract. I am weary of moving. On second thought, Lord, I am content to do something else. Maybe this would be a nice way for you, Lord, to let me know it’s OK to quit this Christian work?”

After I presented the contract, I excused myself from the board room saying, “If you have no other questions, I’ll leave you to discuss your decision.” I felt very certain that I would be delivered at last from Christian work. I almost skipped out of the school and up the hill to the board member’s house, where I was spending the night. So confident was I that I went straight upstairs, took off my clothes, and was nearly asleep when the bad news came. The board was downstairs ready to welcome me to still another school.

Within two months, two pastors from the board saw me in private and bitterly told me that they despised my contract. They told me in hushed, holy voices that no pastor would name a figure and demand a contract as I had done. Proper procedure was simply to say, “If the Lord directs, I wish that my needs be met.” Both of these men had voted for my contract, they said because the other “laymen” had been so enthusiastic about my supposed ability to rescue the school. Outwardly, I nodded my head, thanking them for their valuable counsel. Inwardly, I thought, envy will be even faster this time. I was right! The Lord had not taught the lesson in vain in Wilson. I had learned to expect treachery. The school was rescued from bankruptcy even faster, but this time to my surprise, the faculty rebelled. They did not like the contract either. Success came (to my surprise) in my church. My pastor became my friend and supporter. The school became my enemy, and the church became my friend, just when I thought I could foresee all things!

Churchmen Fail to Honor Own Written Word

In time, as I prophesied to my new pastor friend (in two years), the board was rallying to fire me; but this time I did not rush for another position. I waited to see what they would do with the contract. I predicted to my new friend, my pastor, that the board would refuse to pay the year’s pay. “Why?” he asked in amazement. I replied, “Because they are full of guilt over their incompetence and in a rage of envy.”

This time I did see the future only too clearly. I know it may be a surprise to many Christians that churches often do not pay their bills and that a board of pastors and Christian laymen would try to break a written contract; but that is the rule, not the exception, according to this pilgrim’s experience. They offered to pay nothing, then to pay a part, and then $22,000 and finally— after I hired a Harvard attorney—they paid the full year, withholding my vacation pay. After an additional three years of threats and just before the trial date, they offered to pay half the vacation pay. The insurance company offered to pay the re­mainder, so I settled, rather than air these details in court. Shocking to report, to this day they have refused to pay my wife’s vacation pay on the flimsy excuse that she quit and left her job just because her husband had been fired.

The Harvard attorney had far more honor than the board members. He labored without any pay for over three years, drawing up paper after paper to help me sell my house without charging a dime. He took only a small part of the vacation settlement for part of his expenses.

Sad to say, the pastors I have known have fully earned their miserable poverty, failing churches, failing health and failing homes. Men calling themselves “servants of God” refused to honor their written word. Remarkable to report, to this day, they assure all who will listen that I am of the devil, because I threatened to sue. These matters rest in the hands of the Lord. I leave the resolution to my Savior.

What were the lessons? I decided that if teaching is to be anything different, a new plan and vision is needed. I prayed for wisdom.

Today in the spring of 1996 with six schools full of happy children with parents clamoring to enroll their precious stu­dents, I know now that those prayers cast into the sky over that New England pond were heard and answered beyond my fondest hope. I cried out to the Lord for wisdom from the cancerous stupidity that eats at many schools—public, private, and even Christian. Always merciful and generous when the prayer for wisdom is made, the Lord not only rescued me, but you, dear reader, as well, if only you will give Him your attention.