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Core Commitments

Sometimes it is good for us to return to the fundamentals where the school head calls his team together and says, “Ladies and gentleman, let’s start from the beginning, this is a Christian school...”At the beginning of this year, let’s remind ourselves of basic core commitments. What do you mean when you say, “This is a Christian school?”

Because it is Christian:

  • It must have as its ultimate aim the glory of God and the accomplishment of His purposes
  • It must be built on a thoroughgoing Christian philosophy of education
  • It must have a faculty that is thoroughly committed to its distinctive philosophy (not just thoroughly committed to Christ, but understand and commit him/herself to a Christian philosophy)
  • The entire curriculum must be Christ-centered
  • It must have a student body that will actively support its philosophy and aims
  • It must actually do the Truth in applying the Christian ethic to all its relationships

Because it is a school:

  • Its core mission must center, primarily, on rigorous academic training in the context of spiritual formation
  • It must recognize that the primary reason parent’s place their children in the school to assist them in the task of education
  • It must focus on a well thought out and articulated list of educational outcomes
  • It must carefully design a comprehensive course of academic study for all of the students it serves based on the framework provided by the expected student outcomes
  • It must strive to communicate truth in its full scope and seek to teach students the correct understanding of all of life and reality

A school is not Christian just because:

  • It is sponsored by a church or group of churches
  • All its teachers are Christians
  • It has rules governing behavior and has a dress code
  • It has regular chapels, Bible classes, and prayer
  • It has high academic standards
  • It promotes patriotism
  • It has small class sizes and/or provides individual attention

All of these are fine but they are not enough!

A Christian school is not (only—and certainly not primarily):

  • Glorified children’s and/or youth ministry
  • Extended summer Christian camp
  • A community service organization

These lists are not nearly exhaustive. I also realize that there are those who are reading this that take exception to what I have said. That’s great!

I challenge you to bring your entire administration, faculty, staff, and board together and think deeply about the core commitments of your Christian school. Discuss the four categories listed above. What does it mean that your school is both Christian and a school? What are the key characteristics of a Christian school and what are those things that we sometimes confuse for constituting a true Christian school? What are the thoughts and reactions to the bullet points above? What are the implications for your school and how will they influence your total program? I would love to hear from you the results of your discussions.

I pray that the year ahead is filled with great blessing and accomplishment—for God’s glory, your student’s good, and your joy. Please let us know how we can come alongside and assist you in your pursuit and quality Christian school education.

Blessings!
John S. Craig

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