Joe Hale started his first international school in 1983 while serving as a missionary in Korea. Since then, the Network of International Christian Schools has become 17 schools across 15 countries serving thousands, and is growing.
Education took the forefront during a conversation between Joe Hale, founder of the Network of International Christian Schools, and Houston Baptist University’s Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing.
While Jesus’ words in the Great Commission includes an exhortation to “teach,” Hale, who served as a missionary, didn’t associate that with schools. More than three decades ago, he and his wife, Ann, were serving in Korea when they needed classes for missionary children. Soon, responsibilities surrounding providing an education to a growing group of children took up their time.
“I was praying, ‘When can I get back to the main thing?’ He kind of let us know that the main thing had changed,” Hale says. “We were seeing more people come to Christ through that school setting than the rest of our ministry.”
From there, the Network of International Christian Schools was formed. “The Lord has allowed us over a lifetime to be involved in some things we didn’t plan on. You know how God does that sometimes,” Hale remarks.
Thousands of students are served in 17 schools across 15 countries – and growing. The home countries of the students include about 120 nations. Many of the students and their families hear the Gospel for the first time through school and school-related events.
“I’m absolutely convinced that the new missionary visa is a teaching credential,” Hale says. “Your teaching credential will get you into more places than anything. There are basically no closed doors. By placing Christian teachers into these schools, the influence is really amazing. Our hope is to reach everyone we can reach with the Gospel.”
When young people, many of whom are future leaders, become Christians, the ramifications in their lives and in their home countries are exponential. “We’re going to influence the nations by influencing the children. They can impact their countries. That makes me excited to get up every day,” Hale says. “We have to be consumed with seeing His glory taken to all nations.”