I am starting to frame a vision statement for SCS. I have a VERY preliminary version available at the moment: To develop stewards of God’s grace who glorify Christ intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically. Our motto would then be re-worked to say Stewards…glorifying Christ.
I would like to break this down section by section.
To develop – students, actually anyone for that matter, do not just become something/someone. They need help (as do we all). It is a part of our role as teachers that we help students in this process (as does the Holy Spirit). Both parents/guardians and educators (teachers/EAs) help in this process. To develop is a verb that indicates an iterative process and revision; it is not something that is easily happens.
Stewards – this is, perhaps, a new concept for many. I have blogged about this word in the past. The main difference between a servant and a steward is that a servant does not need to (or get to) know what the master is thinking; a steward must understand the mind of the Master in order to fulfill the duties wisely. Developing stewards implies that each of our students at SCS is growing closer in their relationship to God as they seek to more accurately understand His will for their lives and what that looks like for them on a daily basis.
of God’s grace – this phrase modifies the word ‘stewards.’ By adding ‘of God’s grace,’ there is a recognition that we do not represent ourselves. We have been ‘bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s’ (1 Cor. 6:20). Our redemption is based on God’s grace, not on our accomplishments. As Peter explains in 1 Peter 1, 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. In both these passages, we are reminded of our salvation; this helps us see ourselves in the correct light: we are sinners in need of salvation. It is impossible to maintain our pride in light of this admission. Being a steward is already an admission that prohibits pride; our need for salvation drives that point further home.
who glorify Christ – our main goal in life ought to be to glorify Christ. Both the Heidelberg and the Shorter Westminster Catechism state: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Glorifying and enjoying indicate that we have subsumed our desire for importance and have replaced it with a desire to make Christ pre-eminent. This thought carries with it the idea that we love Christ ‘We love Him because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19); why else would we seek His glory? It would not be out of fear, as Christ repeatedly said, ‘Do not fear’ or ‘be not afraid.’ We seek to demonstrate our love for Him in four specific arenas:
intellectually – how do we love God with our minds? There have been whole books written on that topic. Some of the authors include Harry Blamires (The Christian Mind), Phillip Dow (Virtuous Minds), James Sire (The Discipleship of the Mind), Bruce Lockerbie (Thinking and Acting Like a Christian), and J. P. Moreland (Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of Your Soul). The main aspect here is that students learn what they need to learn as part of their normal education, but through a biblical lens. Another way of putting this, is that the development of a biblical worldview is of paramount importance. Every subject in school must be taught through that biblical lens so that students know how to properly see the world. When students see the world as God does, they will be able to act in such as way as to glorify God.
spiritually – this aspect of student life is, in many ways, the most important. As a Christian school, we offer daily devotionals, both first thing in the morning with O Canada and a devotional, as well as a classroom devotional, chapel, Christian Education, and Christian service opportunities. By the time students graduate, we want students to know their Bibles and know how to properly read, understand, and apply Scripture. We want students to be both hearers and doers of God’s Word (James 1:21), this this is what brings glory to Christ.
socially – this aspect of student life is developed, whether the teachers are involved or not. However, the key here is that students will not develop as they ought to without direct intervention of the teachers and the work of the Holy Spirit. Teachers spend time discussing, showing, and modelling appropriate social behaviour. Even in the secondary classes, many teachers take the time to explore appropriate and inappropriate social behaviour. It is also a good reminder to us, as adults, to always be aware that we, too, are modelling appropriate (or inappropriate!) social behaviour. Even though the world looks more at our outward behaviour and the Lord looks more at our heart, having a difference in our behaviour also brings glory to God (but only if the outward behaviour is a reflection of the inward reality).
and physically – even though this aspect comes last, that does not mean it is not important. Since our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 1 Cor. 6:19), it behooves us to take care of our bodies, both physically and spiritually. The spiritual aspect I have already addressed. However, in terms of the physical development, this is achieved through the physical education classes as well as inter-mural sports and team (competitive) sports. SCS also maintains an outdoor education program for the secondary students. However, it is not enough that we offer opportunities for sports (and nutrition); rather, these are opportunities to demonstrate Christian character (sportsmanship) in a competitive, athletic environment. Athletics is one activity where tempers can flare and where inner character gets revealed. This provides our students with a wonderful opportunity to let the light and love of Christ shine as they are competing against others.
Please let me know your thoughts on this topic. I would love to have a conversation around these ideas and see what you, the SCS school community, think.