5 ELEMENTS OF AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
#1. Christian Teachers and coaches:
Authentic Christian education begins with teachers and coaches who have a vibrant faith and missional mindset about their work.
They are deeply committed to reaching the hearts and teaching the minds of this generation because we live in challenging times: godly leaders and citizens are needed more than ever.
Bethesda’s teachers love God, they love students and their families, they love one another, and they love investing in the growth and success of every child.
They pray together about them, brainstorm ways to help them. The struggles and pains of their students often keep them up at night or at least fill their drive-time prayers.
They are active in ministries in their local churches, serving in youth ministry, on worship teams and missions committees, as pastors.
They very seriously their role as mentors and role models, and go to extreme lengths to pour their lives into the lives of the students in their care.
The Bethesda Christian Schools teaching team is passionate about helping parents train their children to love God, and to think, live, and lead Biblically.
They believe that students need a robust, confident faith of their own.
If these are the kinds of people you would trust with your children, if these are the kinds of influences you would love to have on their hearts and minds during their formative years, call today to find out more and to reserve your place in our Bethesda family. We’d love to meet you and discuss your goals for your child!
#2. Biblically Integrated curriculum
Effective Biblical integration into each subject area is a critical distinctive of a Christian education. We believe in a Sovereign, immanent and transcendent Creator. There is no area of life over which He does not cry "Mine!"
Because the growing-up years fly by, parents and teachers need to be intentional about helping students cultivate a robust Biblical worldview.
As Deuteronomy 6 instructs, parents are to be constantly training their children to interpret the world through a Biblical lens. It is not enough to wait for those rare "teachable moments" - the time is too short and the messages of the secular culture are powerful and they are everywhere.
Effective Biblical integration is demanding and it takes skilled teachers who are immersed in the Word, and tuned in to their students’ world.
Authentic Biblical integration is not just a verse slapped onto a lesson or a casual, mismatched metaphor. For lasting impact, true Biblical integration takes parents and teachers who are sensitive to the Spirit and who have a deep knowledge of their subject, their students, and the Bible.
Each class gives an opportunity to do this differently. Day by day, students construct their worldview, both actively as they are challenged to think critically, and passively as they absorb the culture around them. There is no neutral. Either students will filter everything through the lens of Scripture and think Biblically or they will adopt the “vain philosophies” of a world that is hostile to Jesus and Biblical Christianity.
The constant barrage of anti-God thinking, especially in a meme culture that bypasses critical thinking, is difficult to withstand, even by mature saints. Some of it is blatant (our culture is becoming increasingly bold in its blasphemy), some is subtle (simply leaving God out of the conversation makes Him seem irrelevant); either way, the cumulative effect of daily secular training is difficult to undo in a few hours a week of church and youth group, or daily one-minute devotions.
The potential, tragic impact on young minds during their formative years can easily lead to ruined or wasted lives.
The reason people sacrifice to provide Christian education is not merely to create a tame, sheltered “Christian environment": it is primarily because of this high-stakes battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation.
#3. Rigorous, relevant Bible classes
At Bethesda, Bible classes are rigorous and will provide students with the equivalent of a seminary education.
“Rigorous,” however, does not mean legalistic or boring. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to wrestle through the challenging issues of the ages (How do I know God exists?) and of this age (What does the Bible say about gender? How can I talk to my friends about abortion? What about suicide? What does doing homework have to do with faith? How does a Christian use social media?)
#4. Grace-based Teaching
Students arrive at Bethesda with varying levels of faith and Biblical knowledge – some are new to the faith, many have been in church, Sunday school, and VBS since they were babies.
Some are already serving in their churches as teaching assistants and on worship teams; several have been on Missions trips with their youth groups or families, or they’ve worked at Christian camps during their summers.
Bible classes meet students where they are at – the Gospel is preached regularly, and students are taught how to study their Bibles so that they can know the truth. Teachers work patiently with each student to encourage lasting spiritual growth and genuine understanding.
Students who are mature in the faith are able to point their classmates to relevant scriptures when issues arise: a visitor to our campus could often see evidences of this kind of multi-level discipling. Before school or during lunchtimes, for example, the visitor might see small groups of students praying together or doing a Bible study.
# 5. Grace-based Discipline
Discipline is intentionally grace-based and goes beyond mere external compliance.
Rules are important for community order and for the development of mature adults, but Bethesda teachers and leaders take time to discuss infractions and consequences with students.
The goal is for students to take ownership of their choices and to become strong, humble men and women of integrity.