Relating to God under Grace
The most important and foundational thing that a student can experience is a grace-based personal relationship with God. Grace is God’s gift of eternal life and a deeply personal love relationship received by faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Living by grace involves realizing we cannot live effectively by our own resources, but by dependence on the power of God.
We will do all that we can to make the decision to begin and grow in this relationship clear and relevant to the students. Learning to live under grace in this relationship is the key to success in life because knowing we are loved and accepted unconditionally by God is the basis of honesty, accepting disciplinary correction, and motivation to take risks. The worst thing that could result in a person’s life who grows up around the Christian faith is a mechanical, religious, outward, compliance that masks their real inner heart attitude.
While an ethos of grace suggests that the atmosphere not be strict and mean-spirited, it does not mean we are soft or permissive. In fact, God’s grace is the basis of loving discipline. When people know God has forgiven their sins and that he accepts them as they are, they can admit and take responsibility for their failures. Furthermore, discipline is training—learning to receive good things and develop character qualities that are for our good. Grace enables us to submit to God’s authority because we know He uses that authority to give us what is best for us. In the same way, a person under grace is inclined to submit to God’s delegated authorities, knowing they also have been put there by God for our good.
Grace also leads to gratitude and thankfulness. The entitlement mentality is directly challenged by a proper understanding of God’s grace.
Living under grace is the only way a staff member will be able to have the energy and love to carry out his or her role. Living under grace is the basis for openness among the staff and being able to profit from constructive criticism. Living under grace is the only way staff members will be able to serve God fruitfully in home group work, which is the arena for much of what they learn from God that they will pass on to their students.
See Romans 6:14; 1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Tim. 2:1; Titus 2:11-15; Hebrews 13:8
Stewardship is the realization that all that we have is God’s. Our resources (time, talents, money, energy) are given to us from God to be used for his agenda. When people realize this, they are gripped by how their potential can be developed for God’s glory. This is the basis of generosity and self-sacrifice. A stewardship mindset also leads to a respectful use of school property. See Ps. 24:1; 1 Chron. 29:10-20; Rom. 12:1
Love of Learning
We value love of learning because we are aiming for much more than informing kids. God made us with the ability to reason and discover his creation and written word. We believe there is natural wonder and curiosity in children that is lost if their minds are not stimulated. When children are not enjoying the learning process, they will give way to their impulses.
God made us in such a way that we need to accomplish significant work. In order to succeed in significant work, we need to be able to learn how to solve problems and be creative. We want our students to enjoy the fruits of productivity and discovery. A big part of confidence in life is knowing how to think and figure things out, which comes from a love of learning.
If we care about other people we will be interested in them and their views. That is why Christians should learn other worldviews and how to communicate. That in turn requires learning language and logic. History and literature take us outside ourselves and into the minds and hearts of others. Science guides us into an appreciation of the beauty and complexity of God’s creation. Art and music also brings us into contact with what other people have expressed, as well as an outlet for our creativity. So, to love human beings made in God’s image, we need to love to learn about what has been important to them. Ps. 119: See Matt. 22:37; John 8:31, 32; Gen. 2
We value courage—the attitude that refuses to live by the counsel our fears. Without courage, people become slaves of self-protection. We value being unashamedly committed to Christ in the midst of our culture. We want our students to be venturesome—the kind of people who step out in faith and try risky things.
To impart courage to the students, staff members need to be continuing to take risky steps of faith in their lives. See Ps. 27; Joshua 1:6-8; Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:6, 7; Eph. 6:19
Love relationships and sacrificial service
We value people that God has made in his image. That is why all people are worthy of respect and should be treated with dignity. Sacrificial service toward people is the key to breaking out of the barrenness of living for self. Because God made us relational beings and beings who thrive when we are purposeful, we will help our students develop others-centered character and relational skills. 1 Cor. 13; 1 John 3:16-18; Acts 20:35
We value diligence—a hard-working goal orientation that flows from being a steward under God’s grace and being committed to sacrificial love. When people don’t engage in hard work and long-term goals, they become lazy and enslaved to short-term pleasures. See Prov. 18:9; Col. 3:23; 2 Peter 1:5; Titus 3:14
Because we value teamwork and the interdependence of the body of Christ that God designed, we value working together as staff along with parents and the church in our work with the students. We can only succeed in teaching the students when their primary teachers—their parents—are playing their God-given role. See Deut. 6:4-7; Eph. 6:4
We care about people who do not know God because God does. We are convinced that the purpose of the church and the Christian life is to be a living witness of God’s love. Learning to represent God as an ambassador is at the heart of training children. The best way to help kids learn this value is to have it modeled by their teachers. See Col. 4:2-6; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Mt. 5:14-16
We are convinced that the deepest need of every person in the world is a relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ. We are bothered that so little of our resources in the United States are invested in helping the poor and those who are have no vital witness of Christ in their midst. We want to do our part to make our students not only aware of the needs around the world, but also committed to participating in practical efforts to help. See Mt. 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rev. 5:9-10