Elementary School: The Early Years (Focus = God’s Love)
Andrew Murray teaches us in Raising Children for Christ that children learn first emotionally. His insight parallels the Great Commission in pointing out that the first step in discipleship is a sense of belonging. Therefore, our strategy for the Elementary School is to make sure the children feel loved and experience joy in their education. The character qualities of love and joy are accentuated by being both modeled by the teachers and encouraged in the children. Research tells us that ninety percent of all conversions happen before nine years of age. So our goal for the early years is quite simply salvation. We want each and every child to come to know and experience peace with God. Our Partnership of Excellence:Church, Home and School working together, is the primary value shaping the desired outcome in the salvation of our children.
Middle School: The Transition Years (Focus = God’s Purpose)
The Great Commandment tells us that after learning to love God with our whole heart, we must learn to love our neighbor. The vertical relationship always has a horizontal dimension. This fits well with the transition years, because, often, what middle school students become excited about at that stage, they end up doing for the rest of their lives. However, God understands the hormonal roller coaster of adolescence, when the sense of belonging from the early years is shaken. Students must learn to exercise patience with themselves and kindness toward their neighbor. The Great Commission challenges us to “teach us to obey” – realizing that disciples learn first emotionally, but then they must learn behaviorally. They must learn to look beyond their unsettled emotions to the goodness in the purposes of God. Opportunities to serve so that they can discover their unique giftedness must be presented. Our goal in the transition years is to help our students understand their call to service and to instill in them a desire to make a difference in their world. Instruction in a biblical worldview is the primary value shaping this desired outcome in launching our children into a world in desperate need of their service.
High School: The Launching Years (Focus = A Life Message)
One of the great secrets of life is to find a need and fill it. Success has been defined as discerning the needs of those around us and providing lasting solutions from the Word of God. Our goal in the high school program is to enable our students to develop a life message growing out of their own experience of applying biblical truth at the point of their greatest need and discovering God’s purpose and power for their lives. This happens in a learning atmosphere that is best described as a community of grace. The last three fruits of the spirit, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, are the character qualities emphasized during these years: faithfulness in the study and application of God’s word, gentleness in learning to submit to the Lordship of Christ even at great personal cost, and finally, self-control as the Holy Spirit enables the student to overcome temptations. The key to the launching years is to become a prepared vessel fit for the Master’s use in transforming our culture and world.