“The primary goal of Christian education is the formation of a peculiar people, a people who desire the Kingdom of God and thus undertake their life’s expression.”
-Dr. James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom
I remember when our oldest daughter was on the cusp of starting school and some of the anxiety that caused me as a father. While I knew in my head that the journey to finding a school whose mission and vision was the right fit for our family would potentially be difficult, I also hoped that it would be joyful. Yet, at times, it felt more like a burden. What if we made the wrong choice? And what did the right choice even look like? There were so many things on my list of what I believe constituted an excellent school, that no school stood a chance of measuring up to my impossible standards.
There is a question we use at Surrey Christian that would have been helpful for us as parents, and I offer it as consideration as you consider your own child’s education: what is your deep hope for your child’s education and their life?
At Surrey Christian, our mission statement is one way we share our deep hope: “Educating for Wholeness by Engaging God’s World in the Servant Way of Jesus.” It would be very easy as a Christian school to gather in a holy-huddle each day and teach kids how to think their way to cultural engagement. But we know that students are much more than brains on a stick, and students must be given opportunity to be active participants in God’s unfolding story of redemption. As our Director of Learning, Darryl DeBoer, reminds us, a culturally-engaging Christian education should include opportunities that meet a real work that meets a real need for real people. These opportunities should not be limited to the extra-curricular, but through Math, Grade 3, Physics, Kindergarten and all our other course offerings.
But we know that students are much more than brains on a stick, and students must be given opportunity to be active participants in God’s unfolding story of redemption
In fact, Nicholas Wolterstorff states that “It is nothing but a pious wish and a grossly unwarranted hope that students trained to be passive and non-creative in school will suddenly, upon graduation, actively contribute to the formation of Christian culture.” For our students to understand how to be a peculiar, culture-shaping people when they leave school, they need to practice.
This practice looks like our intermediate students building “belonging benches” for non-profit organizations in Surrey, benches that tell the story of what it means to belong. It looks like the senior Art class interviewing some elderly saints at a local care home and painting their portrait, or a Grade 5 class hosting a delicious breakfast for their friends from the Surrey Food Bank. It looks like a secondary Math class practice order discovering and truth seeking by monitoring vehicle speeds through school zones and a Biology class being curious gardeners and co-creators in the restoration of the garden that we live in. Not only did all these projects meet provincial curricular competencies, they provided students an opportunity to contribute to the common good.
Principal | Cloverdale Campus