How can schools become more mission-oriented?
Education does not end after the final bell rings, or even after graduation, but is an ongoing process of developmental growth. However, schools are meant to be a powerful partner in this learning process. The Adventist mission, I Will Go, set 10 goals for 2020 to “strengthen Seventh-day Adventist institutions by upholding freedom, holistic health, and hope, through Jesus and restoring the image of God in people. “. Our schools are institutions that hold one of the most important missions of all, which is to nurture and guide the growth of the next generation. In this episode of ANN InDepth, Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Director of the Education Department at the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, joins hosts Sam Neves and Jennifer Stymiest in discussing the mission field. Adventist schools.
Adventist schools, like many Christ-centered schools, are meant to be a safe space for growth and development. Yet when it comes to transforming them into mission-oriented institutions, attention should not be given only to the later stages, but from the beginning. In order for us as a church to foster the missionary spirit in young children, aspects of mission must be explored and broken down into its most basic and beautiful parts. The spirit of mission is a character development fueled by faith. Teaching children to grow in love for God, to be valued regardless of their academic skills, and to enable emotional and social growth are essential, according to Beardsley-Hardy. It is also important to remove restrictions that impose gender expectations. Promoting the literacy of women who will equip him, whatever he chooses in adulthood, whether motherhood or career, is crucial in the development of the mission, encouraging the biblical truth that profession and marital status does not define contribution to the scope of the mission. Likewise, not giving boys time to engage in skills that have healthy and productive outlets, such as helping around the house, spending time outdoors, etc., but isolating themselves on them. social networks, games or non-social activities, leads to low school engagement. Allowing a child to begin their social, emotional, spiritual and mental development promotes holistic growth that will contribute to academic success. For schools to encourage growth beyond academics, there needs to be a partnership with parents and children. In this way, removing the fear-based motivation to succeed academically, or avoiding the dismissal of “problem” or “rowdy” children, shows that their developmental personalities exist outside academics.
Here is a problem that I Will Go seeks to rectify. Those preparing for the ministry often receive exemplary theological preparation, but no practical preparation. This is what prompted the I Will Go Missions to interview professors, conferences, unions, prisons, missionaries, and students to ask them what they are looking for in pastors, chaplains, and missionaries. In these sessions, asking practical questions of people in the field reveals that the knowledge extends far beyond theological academics. Awareness is one thing, but life the gospel through administration, personal relationships, counseling, financial management, and more, is another.
Academics and the ministry need to feed each other in an applicable sense. âWe said the beauty of the zebra is the stripes that we have to squeeze together. Academics pressing with the ministry. We have to work together, and squeezing together in an integrated and articulate way does a thing of beauty. Said Beardsley-Hardy.
So what about the first Adventist school? Could this structure be useful when it comes to maintaining the focus of the mission? Multiple answers could be given when asked which was the first Adventist school. However, the beautiful and popular response is one that corresponds to Adventism’s original challenge to remain within an institution. The Sabbath School was the first Adventist school. It is a unified school that has a sense of connectedness that spans multiple languages, ages, and continents. Beardsley-Hardy shares “We have over 21 million people, it’s a huge school, and every week we study the same curriculum and it binds us as Seventh-day Adventist people, united in mission in a way. which cannot be underestimated. This beautiful universality is something that goes beyond brick and mortar institutions because it is founded on the unchanging truth of the gospel. Its resplendent coherence can only be attributed to the reality that the word of God, saturated with love, truth and salvation, can withstand translations, a pandemic and changing times. When you ask how our schools can be more mission-oriented, the answer lies in the first school.