It’s no secret that the business of running a school is no easy task – especially an Adventist school. Not only do we want to achieve academic excellence, and physical, social, and emotional wellness, but we have eternity in mind. In fact, we are told that the all-important thing in education “should be the conversion of… students, that they may have a new heart and life. The object of the Great Teacher is the restoration of the image of God in the soul, and every teacher in our schools should work in harmony with this purpose.” (Ellen White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 436).
In the pursuit of true education, it’s still easy to find ourselves focusing on a few specific areas, whilst not necessarily having a clear framework to help guide the spiritual growth of a school community. Perhaps you’ve included various spiritual events (chapels, Week of Prayer, staff worship) in your school calendar, but have wondered how to intentionally nurture the spiritual culture of those in your influence.
The ABIDE Spiritual Master Plan is centred around the principles outlined by Jesus in John 15, as a response to His call to abide in Him. Abiding means choosing to become attached to Jesus, and then allowing Him to flow into our lives as school leaders and staff. When this happens, we trust His Word (John 15:7) and make it the foundation of school life. We accept His love for us (John 15:9), which changes how we interact with each other. We allow Him to prune us when we need it (John 15:2), as He refines our characters. This brings about fruit (John 15:4) in our school, for His glory. Ultimately, being connected to Jesus, the Vine, confirms that we are His disciples (John 15:8), who then disciple our students and their families.
Keeping in mind that culture is shifted more effectively when a holistic approach is taken, the ABIDE Spiritual Master Plan is not about an event or a program, but rather offers a framework which can be used to identify the spiritual culture of a school – and offers a structure for how it might improve. It offers ideas and resources around the following five areas:
Abundant Discipling: Becoming like Jesus
Bold Godliness: Growing character and identity
Intentional Connecting: Building community
Deliberate Learning: Seeking wisdom through a biblical lens
Extravagant Outreach: Sharing Jesus with others
When a school community abides in Christ, the culture will be guided by God, directed by His Word, and fruit will grow in abundance.
As we work in one of the greatest evangelistic spaces our church has, let us not forget the eternal impact our schools will have. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, the greatest Teacher, and pray:
“Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I will wait all the day.
Remember, O Lord, Your tender
Mercies and Your lovingkindness,
For they are from of old.” – Psalm 25:4-6