by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
James K.A. Smith will be visiting Trinity Classical Academy this fall. This event is open to the public for a limited number of guests. If you are not a part of the TCA community, click here to find out more and RSVP for this event.
In Imagining the Kingdom, James K.A. Smith posits that the Christian school has two aims: to teach students information and to form students’ souls in love for God and His kingdom.
Smith suggests that if we long for our children to serve the Lord with their hearts, souls, and minds, we must begin by forming their loves, not just filling their brains with facts.*
He says, “The end (telos) of Christian education is action: the Christian [school] is a place from which students are sent as ambassadors of the coming kingdom of God. They are commissioned to undertake labor that is redemptive and reconciling, reflecting Christ’s work of reconciliation.”
At Trinity Classical Academy, we are working out the implications of this quote through our daily routines. We hope to form habits of mind and body in our students that result in love and service for God. Far from being mundane or stifling, these habits free our children to learn well and grow in maturity.
Here are a few ways we apply this concept concretely in our school day.
HABITS OF LABORING
“They are commissioned to undertake labor ...”
We were made to glorify God through joyful, creative, honorable work. In preparing our students for Christian labor, we want them to be active, persistent, and diligent. Our curriculum at TCA requires that students work hard, think deeply, and engage their whole being in the task of learning. Therefore, the curriculum is intense and rich.. Training students in habits of intellectual tenacity provides a foundation for perverence in all their undertakings, especially in service to God.
Additionally, we want students’ labor to produce excellent results. If we have union with Christ, the work we do says something about His Spirit in us. As students are encouraged and equipped to do excellent work, they learn habits of excellence that influence all of their labors for God’s glory.
Finally, we hope our students learn to offer their labor - at school and in all areas of life - as worship to God. As we examine, manipulate, explore the things God has made, we learn more about our good Creator. As we make, imagine, and build, we rejoice in the creative capacities He has endowed us with. These are acts of worship which honor God as we delight in his many gifts to us.
HABITS OF REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION
“...labor that is redemptive and reconciling, reflecting Christ’s work of reconciliation”
At TCA, we recognize the reality, power, and pervasiveness of sin. When asked if they sin, students and faculty clearly and unreservedly answer, “Yes!” Yet this affirmation comes with the understanding that when the Holy Spirit is in us, he gives us power to put our sin to death and live for God. When we sin at school, we apologize to God and to others. These habits of recognizing sin reveal its presence and point to Christ’s provision for our individual suffering and sin.
Knowing Christ’s salvation for us personally gives us increased reliance on Christ as the answer to all sin and suffering. During the school week, you’ll hear us talk about injustice, especially in history and in countries where Christians are presently persecuted. We’re not afraid to confront this brokenness because it increases our longing for God to bring justice to the world. Students see that only Christ can resolve the nations’ suffering and sin.
We hope our students will see Christ both as their Great Redeemer and their guide as they spread the good news of the gospel. We hope this works out practically for students in lives and careers that introduce people to a reconciling God and redeem communities through His truth and presence.
HABITS OF KINGDOM AMBASSADORS
“The Christian school is a place from which students are sent as ambassadors of the coming kingdom of God.”
At the beginning of each school year, TCA students point to the crest on their uniform. We discuss how each part of this crest represents God, and they wear this crest because they are his ambassadors. An ambassador’s role is to represent another country, and we want our students to know that when they become one with Christ, they represent God’s heavenly kingdom and point to the future that is secure in Him.
Through the stories we tell at TCA, the goal of living for God is always before us. We remind students again and again that someday we will not just represent God’s kingdom, we will live in it. Our King will come one day to reign fully in power and glory! Until then, we seek to create habits of body and mind that bring this truth before us, shaping our souls toward this awesome end.
*This argument is from Smith’s book You Are What You Love.