FAITH DEVELOPMENT

It is an honor and privilege at Holland Christian Schools to partner with parents and churches to encourage the unique faith development of each student. Our mission is to “equip minds and nurture hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ.” These are not separate and distinct endeavors. We seek to honor the whole child in an integrated way. The teachers at Holland Christian are uniquely equipped to encourage student growth and maturity in every dimension of their being, including their faith.

What does this look like in our schools on a day to day basis? It means we pray in our classrooms and throughout the day. We have the freedom and desire to openly and intentionally acknowledge God’s presence and working in our lives whenever the need or desire is present throughout the day. At any given moment any number of classes are engaged in prayer and devotions throughout the day. But that is not all.

Faith development means we worship together in chapel. We value and treasure the freedom and opportunity we have to worship as a group. Every grade level at every school regularly joins together in communal times of worship, praise, prayer. This is an opportunity to listen to God’s Word and apply it to our lives as it informs all that we do and say throughout the day.

Faith development means that we have Bible classes and a comprehensive Bible curriculum. The Bible classes are unique from what a student receives in Sunday School through his or her church. Holland Christian’s Bible curriculum studies each Bible story with a desire to see how the story is centered and focused on God, the author and finisher of our faith. Students and faculty deeply and thoughtfully explore the Biblical text: its context, geography, history, and culture. All of these components significantly impact what the Bible meant to its original audience and consequently, how it speaks to us today. All of Holland Christian’s Bible teachers have Bachelor’s Degrees and many have advanced degrees. All of them seek the Bible to be read and experienced meaningfully, and responded to faithfully.

Faith development means we live and share lives of faithfulness together, in truth and grace. Relationships matter at Holland Christian Schools. Staff members are thoroughly committed to Jesus Christ and His Word and to living lives of faithfulness before God. The importance of relationships is emphasized not only in the classroom but in extracurricular activities, fine arts, sports, retreats, trips, and service opportunities. Through shared experiences, the staff and students openly and honestly share their joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs, confessions and restorations. It is the desire of the Holland Christian staff to develop deep and sincere relationships with students as they share life together.

The commitment to faith development drives us to think beyond ourselves both locally and globally in acts of service. It is our desire to be bringers of “shalom” here and now, at every grade level and age. Elementary students have service opportunities through the “SPARK” program. Some of the service activities that students participate in through this program include: collecting food and household supplies for a local food bank, reading to special needs students at a neighboring school, sending letters to bereaved military families, and visiting nursing homes. Older students serve both individually and as a group by volunteering at the Rescue Mission, tutoring at neighboring schools, and helping in local ELL classrooms. Students are also encouraged to respond throughout the year as needs arise. This includes things like collecting household items for a local family whose house burned down and an annual trip to New Orleans to assist in the rebuilding effort from Hurricane Katrina. It also includes collections for needs in other countries including post earthquake Haiti or post tsunami Japan, or building an AIDS orphanage for children in Africa. In addition to these things, students are challenged to think about how what they are learning in their current classes could be used immediately to make a difference in their world. These are just a few examples of opportunities for students to respond to God in the area of service.

Faith development means that with integrity, through the course of every day, every hour, every class, and every discipline, we intentionally acknowledge that “This is my Father’s World” and that everything belongs to Him. The Bible provides the bedrock foundation and lens through which we see God more clearly. Every subject, every concept, every hypothesis, and every truth is taught through this particular worldview. God is sovereign and created all things good. Yet all things have fallen from that original goodness. Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has redeemed all things and eventually will restore them. And, finally, we join the Holy Spirit’s work of restoration by seeking to make all things new. All things hold together in Christ. This is our lens. This Biblical framework gives focus and shape to our study, our lives, our past, present, and future, and our response to all that we learn.

This is truly education that is Christian. This is education that meets the whole child with integrity and intention. This is education in which students from preschool through their senior year are intentionally and thoughtfully met with opportunities to encounter God and respond to Him in faithfulness and in grace.

Tri-Weekly High School Chapels:

Take a seat, prop up your feet, and catch morning devotions with us! We’re so blessed getting to do this three times a week together–rare joy!

Words we cling to:

Rose Park students recite the life affirming, spirit breathed words of Psalm 23.

 

“I loved that we were able to worship together each week and learn about the world through a Christian perspective; I loved my teachers and how they showed their faith in their teaching, and they were always willing to reach out to me outside of school if I needed them.”

-ALUMNUS, ’15

/ DISCIPLESHIP PRACTICES

The word religion has had a tough go in the past few years. Many people like to say that they are followers of Jesus, but not religious. But it’s easier to embrace when we understand the meaning of the word religion as something that “binds together” a people of belief. Even Jesus prays for all believers in John 17, that we might “all be one,” bound together as the Body of Christ: that we might be religious.

At the core of great Christian education are the parallel components of belief and learning. Because religious training is important to us, we teach the major tenets of the Christian faith, but there’s more to it than that. As an institution rooted in the Reformed tradition, Holland Christian Schools affirms the words of Abraham Kuyper and says: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” As such, we don’t want to offer a secularized education with a Bible class tacked on. Rather, we want to help students understand that faith serves as a lens through which to do all the rest of their learning. It must affect the way we approach language, and science, and math, and history, and art, and every other subject area we dive into. We marvel at the complexity of the cell (Ps 139:14), we discuss how poverty and community work (James 1:27), and investigate how our relationship with the earth matters (Gen 1:28). We learn more about our faith—our religion—and, in turn, our religion shapes our learning. Great Christian education must always weave those elements together—not just by accident, but intentionally.

Holland Christian’s Discipleship Practices are not a program or a system, but more of a lens that helps us teach more deliberately that our faith and our learning are inextricably bound together. Discipleship Practices unite us as a school system and give us a way to discuss our faith that doesn’t change from year to year or from teacher to teacher. They help us use a common language to discuss the complexities of course content and the world which we are called to transform for Jesus Christ.

As we continue to learn about our faith, these Discipleship Practices give legs to the our beliefs, making our learning more faithful.

discipleship-logo-hc-logoThe following Discipleship Practices are embedded in learning preschool through 12th grade and woven through the curriculum in every classroom.

God-Glorifying:

Students will seek to spread God’s fame through their worship and glorification of Him in their relationships, study, and play by responding to God’s offer of salvation through living for Him. Preschool and early elementary students will learn to worship and glorify God in all they do.

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Word-Rooted:

Students will learn to weave The Big Story into all areas of life and apply the stories of scripture to all areas of study. Preschool and early elementary students will learn the stories of scripture and connect them to The Big Story. The Big Story is a description of the Grand Narrative of God’s Word using the “all things” summary of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. God created all things good. All things have fallen from that original goodness. Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection has redeemed all things. We join the Holy Spirit’s work of restoration by seeking to make all things better. We are reminded that every square inch we can explore, learn, discern, judge, or encounter in Christian education is informed by a strong understanding of this Big Story of Scripture.

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Wisdom-Seeking:

Students will use biblical wisdom to discern and inform decisions, seek God’s wisdom and apply His truth to life. Preschool and early elementary students will learn that God is the giver of all wisdom, learning to turn to God for direction in all areas of life.

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Creation-Keeping:

Students will learn to restore creation and develop God’s resources, learning the tension between working and protecting the earth. Preschool and early elementary students will learn that God created the earth and calls us to care for it by taking ownership of the world around us; protecting God’s creation and the resources He provides for us.

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Servant-Living:

Students will learn the counter-cultural and transformational nature of being a servant as it shapes our learning, our living, and God’s word. Preschool and early elementary students will learn to serve God by showing friendship to others, to serve others daily in a Christ-like way by putting others before themselves. A servant’s heart is a conduit of God’s transforming grace to the world around us.

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Grace-Breathing:

Students will practice being a community that exhales grace to others in direct response to the grace inhaled from God. This breathing in and out of God’s grace, even when it is difficult, is learned from receiving God’s gift of grace and leads to extending grace to others. Preschool and early elementary students will learn about God’s grace and how to share it with others.

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Community-Growing:

Students will learn to gratefully contribute to the community’s depth and reach, growing community as the body of Christ through serving one another. Preschool and early elementary students will learn that we all belong to God’s family and should value each other’s diverse God-given gifts and abilities.

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Kingdom-Building:

Students will learn that God’s rule and reign in all aspects of life propels us to participate today and further Kingdom building tomorrow as we follow the Holy Spirit. Preschool and early elementary students will learn to know, listen to, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading who empowers us to be Kingdom builders.

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Beauty-Creating:

Students will create, enjoy, and share God-honoring beauty and recognize their own individual gifts and the gifts of their peers.

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Image-Reflecting:

Students will learn that we are created in God’s image, reflected through their words and actions, and reflecting in themselves and others throughout the community.

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Disciple-Making:

Students will learn what it means to follow Jesus, to be His disciples, and invite others to follow Jesus as well. Different strategies will be learned to disciple each other locally and through all nations.