In lesson and unit planning, beginning with the end in mind helps to bring about the results we seek. The same is true for a school’s mission. Why does your school exist? What is its purpose? Leadership guru Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
So let’s begin with the end in mind. Why does your school exist? Do you have a mission statement? Is your mission statement alive, affecting the heart and life of your school?
Here are the actual mission statements of three schools with which I have been involved. Which of these three most proactively promotes the integration of a reformed worldview into its teaching?
Equipping Minds…. Nurturing Hearts…. To Transform the World for Jesus Christ.
An Excellent Education in a Christian Environment.
To advance the kingdom of God by providing exceptional teaching and curriculum fully integrated with biblical perspective. Within our committed Christian community, we live to transform culture for Jesus Christ.
If your mission statement does not promote worldview integration, you are likely not beginning with the end in mind.
In my opinion, the following elements are necessary for effective biblical integration resulting from a proactive, biblical-integration mission statement.
Integration, Yes, but Transformation Too
We need to be Christian in all subject areas. Yes, we teach Bible. Yes, we may worship in chapel. But we need to infuse biblical perspectives throughout the entire curriculum. Because God is God over every aspect of life and culture, learning through the lens of his Word gives spiritual meaning and power to all of our studies.
I realize that the world in which our children are living is most often very different from the Christian community in which we nurture them. However, we are called not only to prepare our children for this world but also to teach them to transform their world for Christ. In this way we honor the prayer, “Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
It is exciting to see the consistently high results on most of our school’s yearly standardized testing. While we certainly are pleased with such results, our motivation for providing exceptional instruction should go well beyond academic achievement. It comes right out of scripture itself: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). As Christian schools, we are continually seeking excellence in all aspects of education.
But there is another factor to excellence. We are called to examine all things in light of Colossians 2:3, where we read that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” We must consider carefully the question, How can we be excellent unless we honor Colossians 2:3 in all subject areas? It is a privilege to strive for true excellence by recognizing the kingship of Jesus over all aspects of creation.
Community Support for the Mission
Research consistently shows the most important factor in high-achieving schools is parental support of the educational mission. We need to form communities of believers committed to the wholeness and wellbeing of all our children and adults, whether students or staff. Ideally our children should experience a consistent moral and spiritual message from the home, the church, and the school. The factor that contributes more to the distinctiveness and success of our schools than any other is that we live out our mission together, within a community of parents committed to the mission of the school.
I am most interested in your responses, questions, and concerns. Please send me your comments.
Bart Den Boer, worldview specialist