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Chapter One

How to Start A Christian Daycare

Rev. Ellsworth E. McIntyre

Founder of Grace Community Schools & Early Childhood Education Pioneer

Chapter One

“The Laborer is Worthy of His Hire” (Luke 10:7)

To all serious Christians, . . the laborer is worthy of his hire” is a very familiar Bible verse. When pastors and school boards gather to set wages for Christian teachers, however, there is another verse that is quoted, “My God shall supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19). This verse is usually delivered by an interviewer smiling broadly with charming, crinkled eyes, not unlike ex-President Jimmy Carter, and in a seductive voice, artificially pronouncing the endings of the words, who says, “Now the Lord has promised to provide not our ‘wants,’ but only our ‘needs.’” Should the candidate for a teaching position be reluctant to name a figure low enough to suit the churchmen, a sermonette follows, whose substance is along these lines, “If, dear teacher, you practice faith and by faith live on less than those lacking in faith, financial miracles will make up for all deficits. In response to your prayer, faithful school teacher, people may knock at the door with gifts in their hand, saying, ‘The Lord told me to give this to you. Here is $35.14.’” Marvelous! Just the right amount to add to your pittance to buy heat for your family for next week. No doubt, by earnest prayer, you may have enough next week to buy shoes for that athletic boy.

Yes, in soothing tones, the crinkled, smiling churchman assures the school teacher, “Life can be a new and exciting adventure of faith! God will reward you, because the ‘workman is worthy of his hire!”’

Break the Yoke of Sin and Set the Captive Free!

Seriously, let me confess that I have been on both sides of the teacher-hiring table, and the verse, “The laborer is worthy of his hire,” is not always used as the Lord intended. But please don’t misunderstand me. The smiling churchman is not a deliberate con man trading on the teacher’s relative youth and idealism, but taking advantage of the teacher’s youth and idealism is exactly what is done day in and day out. Churchmen are locked into a system that requires an unworthy pay for a worthy workman. The heavy yoke of this system should be broken to set both the oppressed teacher and the captive church­man free. The purpose of this book is to introduce you to a system that has set me free. I have experienced this freedom, and with great pleasure, I happily present a way to teach without starving! The yoke of oppression has been removed from me, and I pray that you will learn from this book how the yoke can fall from you.

Eleven years ago, in April 1985,1 cranked down the front lift on my ten-year-old, 18-foot Shasta camper. The New Hampshire frozen concrete-like earth needed no wooden block to support the puncture of the pipe cranking down from the tongue jack. The pipe hit the ground and skidded a few inches. In my 1979 Ford station wagon were six of my eight children. I would leave behind for a while (I hoped) the two oldest who were married. I had in my pocket my severance pay and a hope in my heart that I would never work again in any school system, public or private. I had long ago deliberately chosen against the government schools as an impossible system for investing my life’s labor. Now, I had sadly finished my last assignment in a Christian school system. I glanced at the home I was leaving behind, turned my back on the wagon of giggling, squirming, and excited children and fought for control of my emotions. “Finish cranking it down,” I ordered my teenage son. “I want to check that the wheels are blocked. The trailer is slipping on the ice. Keep your body clear in case it slips.”

My son nodded. The instructions were unnecessary since he had hooked and unhooked that trailer from New England to Florida and from Washington, D.C. to California. The trailer had served for all three of my Christian administrative posi­tions. We had parked that trailer in Maryland, North Carolina and New Hampshire. The first trip was cross-country from Washington, D.C. to California, where we camped with all eight of our children in the San Fernando Valley, while I completed the course work for my doctorate in education. Five girls bunked up inside with my wife and me. The three boys slept in a tent outside the trailer. Traveling during the day, they sat on padded benches in the back of the sturdy 1973 International pickup truck that served faithfully for more than 100,000 miles of service. In a cardboard box at my wife’s feet in the cab of the truck rested Abigail, our still-nursing youngest child.

We saw our country “up close and personal.” It was a happy period in spite of its hardship. My wife and I still enjoy telling friends about that trip. We laughingly called ourselves, “Okies for Christ,” after Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. But ours was not a trip of despair as was the victims of Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl.

Education is not the Way to Wealth

We had hope and faith that a doctorate would open great doors of financial security and Christian service. That dream was soon shattered! We learned that when my doctoral disser­tation was rejected because of political incorrectness, academic letters signify acceptance more than scholarship. Eventually, I would get my Ph.D., but it would be from a Christian institution, instead of a humanistic one.

My dissertation described the learning differences between students in a coeducational classroom versus those in a same-gender classroom. Studies seemed to indicate that boys suffered more than girls from a coeducational classroom. However, when I divided my Christian school into boy/girl classes, we found that girls, not boys, were the victims of coeducational education. This truth was especially unwelcome at that period of our nation’s history, because the feminist movement was at its hysterical height. Years later however, when it suited the feminists to try to preserve all girls schools, the University of Southern California did use my ideas but that was too late for me to take advantage of the new vagaries in political correctness.

The Ph.D. is an impressive credential especially for those on the Left and it gives fury to my academic opponents that I have that degree. However, let me point out to the reader that the designation of “millionaire” is to be preferred. Letters after one’s name do not have much economic value in a free market. Only in an artificial, scholastic world do such degrees have value, and then only to those who, at least by silence, endorse anti-Christian doctrines. My church-related Ph.D. has had po­litical value in fighting against liberal hypocrisy, but that doesn’t put bread on the table.

It is amusing to me that one news reporter exhaustively tried to label my degree as a phony because it came from a church institution instead of a secular. During our interview, I pointed out to the reporter that I did have a secular Master’s degree from Georgia Southern that was completed at Johns Hopkins Univer­sity and that all of the classroom work for my doctorate was done at the University of Southern California. I also had a fully valid transcript to back up my claim. The reporter went away sad but then returned triumphantly with the name of one of the officials of the school that granted my Ph.D. Unknown to me, this official had been convicted by federal authorities for tax problems and something involving failure to properly register church bonds. The reporter was not happy when I laughed at him and asked why this man’s current problems, a decade after I received my degree, be of any consequence.

I have said all this to illustrate that academic degrees are more political than academic in our country. To paraphrase the comedian, I have been a scholar and I have been rich and rich is better! Follow the McIntyre system of building your own Christian school and you can laugh at pretentious academic nonsense.

My graduate professors used to refer to the doctorate as a “union card.” They were very close to the truth, because no free market would pay a professor for what he does. There has to be a very strong union to guarantee wages to most professors. The professors used the term “union card,” however, as a humorous form of good-natured self-depredation. They wished the audi­ence of aspiring doctoral candidates to see them as very modest “good guys,” somehow working in league with “working stiffs.” Marxism runs deep on America’s campuses. So does self- delusion, since most working stiffs share few of the social Marxist values of most college professors.

Envy and Betrayal

At our departure from New Hampshire, I glanced over the frozen New England pond that had been a backdrop for hours of reflection and prayer. I was angry but not bitter. Odd, I thought, how different from the first time I had been sacked. It had taken me months to overcome the bitterness. All of the schools under my leadership had increased in enrollment. Threatening deficits had been turned into surpluses of over $100,000 annually under my leadership. My reward was envy and betrayal. I was forced to sell automobiles on one occasion for six months until another administrative post opened. During my exile from teaching, I had inevitably questioned my career choice and the direction of my life. The questions swarmed like fish eating one another. Gradually, only four big fish remained—four big fish that had to be landed to make a success of my life as an educator. These were four big questions I struggled to answer.

Why Share with the Untalented and Lazy?

The first question was, “Why shouldn’t good Christian teaching be profitable?” In other professions, the best reaped the largest rewards. In sales, for example, it is known that ten percent of salesmen earn 80 percent of the commissions. Ninety percent live on the remaining 20 percent of the money. I loved that rugged world of instant reward and punishment. It was clear-cut. There is no doubt about winners and losers in sales. Those who have the talent and courage to work harder than others earn the biggest portion of the pie. Why was it in teaching that winners have to share the rewards equally with the untalented and lazy?

Why Must Teachers Sacrifice?

The second big question was, “Why so little sacrifice by others in the school contract?” In other words, why should the teacher be asked to sacrifice more than the church, or the school, or even the parent? We certainly do not expect similar sacrifices of physicians and lawyers. Why does the Christian teaching profession demand sanctification by starving while other profes­sions reap sanctification by demonstrated competence?

Should Parents Pay Full Cost?

In my reverie, the third question appeared obvious. “Why shouldn’t parents pay full costs?” Parents were expected to pay full costs for food, clothing, and shelter for their offspring. Certainly, medical costs do not spare the patient. Why, when it comes to education, is the professional Christian educator expected to sacrifice? After all, the students are not the flesh and blood of the teachers. Such a question, if expressed in polite company, is met with scorn. “Teachers are sainted by such selfless labor,” seems to be a prevailing myth. Really? Is not the laborer worthy of his hire? ‘If a man provide not for his own, especially they that be of his own household, he is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith” (I Tim. 5:8). In that passage of Scripture, it is the parent, not a hired teacher, who is charged with providing for his own.

Why Should Success Produce Guilt?

The fourth question was profound, “Why should financial success produce guilt?” In my three administrative positions, I had demanded and earned $32,000, $34,000 and $39,000 re­spectively. These are not large sums by any standard except in Christian circles. The dean of my school of education called my salary “exorbitant.” I explained in writing to my offended dean that while it was true that my predecessors had been paid less than $20,000, the schools under their leadership had run deficits year after year. On the other hand, I piled up surpluses year after year. As a consequence, I believed my predecessors to be expensive. Since they apparently could not or cared not to earn a profit, their salaries were exorbitant and not a bargain like mine.

Profit Should Be a Badge of Honor

It is very sad to note that in Christian education, profit is believed to be at someone’s expense. Profit must necessarily be robbed from some victim, according to the Social Marxism lurking in academia. The truth is that my Christian schools charged less tuition than other private schools. At lower tuition, my Christian schools still produced a better-educated student. The teachers earned more than teachers in similar competitive schools. In short, there were no victims, but there was the wounded pride of the envious, who cannot make even a small profit. Profit, if legal and moral, should be proof of accomplish­ment.

Christian Marxism Makes Victims of All

Once upon a time, I had regretted not entering Christian service before the age of thirty. I had heard, been told, and nearly believed that my years spent as a businessman were “spiritually wasted years.” But those years taught a better moral system, based more firmly on the Bible than most Bible colleges and churches. In the marketplace, the tyranny of the profit-and-loss statement allows no room for classroom incompetence and misunderstood Bible doctrine. An honest business does not make a profit because someone has been victimized. Nearly all schools—public, private, and Christian—make victims of teach­ers, students, and parents, precisely because many believe that one cannot profit and still be an ethical, moral Christian. Those who are blind to the value of a good steward become wicked oppressors. The just steward who meditates on the law of God (Psalm 1), on the other hand, blesses and prospers all he touches.

Using this hard-earned truth of the marketplace, God has lifted me and my family out of poverty and into the upper 1 to 2 percent of our nation’s wage earners. Today, I am a million­aire. God made me so in spite of a flawed education, despite a flawed religious system, and in spite of my own flaws. I sincerely believe that we should confess our faults one to another. Such confession will be painful to me, but it is an act of love. For I am putting feet to my prayer that you will benefit from my experiences and become a millionaire. Read on. Lift up your weary hands. This book will lead the way to a land where Christian teaching does not mean starving.