“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” – John 4:35

This verse is the Vision 2020 theme of Accelerated Christian Education. We usually use this to challenge people about missions as it truly speaks of the harvest. It is about the urgency of sending workers to reach the lost. But what I wish to focus on is the idea of discerning the times and the seasons, about finding out what God is doing and lining up our lives to it. It is to clearly see what is happening so that we remain on the cutting edge.

When the pandemic hit us and schools were shut down by the government, most of us in the SOT System knew that we would survive this challenge. As we say, “SOT’s normal is the new normal.” But this speaks more of the Learning Center and the procedures. Our learning center setup provides for maximum social distancing. The procedures allow individualized supervision. We do not have to write modules because we have our PACEs. We simply transitioned to a remote mode. Everything was still quite normal for us. We were at the cutting edge.

But we made sure that we would be able to sustain our remote delivery. This gave birth to the Remote Learning Center Task Force whose mission is to make sure that we remain on the cutting edge by providing guidance and direction to our schools. The aim is to empower our school heads.

When we go back to face-to-face schooling, we are simply going back to our normal. Plus, the additional items – foot baths, non-touch thermometers, extra wash areas, sanitizers, masks, and shields. However, it is obvious that we are staying in the remote mode for a while. What we hoped would be a month or two of “temporary” arrangements will be extended for months. Hopefully, not a year or more.

In a recent seminar I attended online, one session was called “How to Succeed in Chaos”[1] by Joel “Thor” Neeb. He mentioned three steps to respond to chaos: Assess, Align, and Act with agility. I am glad that, by the Lord’s guidance, we actually pursued this path.

We looked at the field and assessed the situation. We conducted a survey among “frontliners” on the battlefield to get information from them. We studied the issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force, the Department of Health, and the Department of Education. Assessment provided us with data and material to make informed decisions.

Alignment was the next step. The priority was aligning with what God was doing. What is He saying in this crisis? What opportunities do we see for SOT®P? Prayer is the key here – discerning what God is doing. The other side of alignment is to ensure that we work within the principles and philosophy of individualized, mastery-based, and Biblical education. We cannot veer away from our foundational philosophy and we must make sure that we are in line with governmental regulations.

Then we needed to act fast. We had to address the essential issues. We wrote articles, recommendation, and suggestions. We drafted templates and guides to help schools navigate through the hurdles. But fast does not mean doing things hastily. What may be perceived as slow is actually making sure that everything was well thought out. We cannot be too slow. But we cannot be late for the party either.

All this is being done to help our schools. At the end of the day, it is not about what the RLC Task Force did because it was all by the grace of God. It is about having empowered our administrators to keep their schools on the cutting edge in their respective areas.

In reality we are never going back to what we perceived as normal. The landscape has changed. The playing field has been altered. But this season has taught us to “look at the field” with discerning eyes. And by God’s help to step forward ahead of others. Always at the cutting edge.

[1] Joel Neeb, “How to Succeed in Chaos” (Online.Con, May 28, 2020, Atlanta, GA).

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