When we speak with new families coming to our school, it is our desire to communicate to them the reasons that Florida Christian School is worth their time, their commitment, and their financial investment. Several years ago the Cardus Group, an educational think tank, whose purpose is to promote Christian social thought in modern society, conducted an extensive survey throughout North America for the purpose of “determining the motivations and outcomes of Christian education, to better understand the role of Christian schools in students’ lives, in families, and in larger society.” I believe it is important for us as a school, and for our parents, to assess why we exist, what our parents expect, and do the outcomes match our expectations. The results of the Cardus Survey were very interesting. They found that, “In contrast to the popular stereotypes portraying Christian schools as promoting a socially fragmented, anti-intellectual, politically radical, and militantly right-winged lifestyle, this comprehensive study reveals a very different picture of the Christian school graduate. They found that compared to their public school, Catholic school, and non-religious private school peers, Christian school graduates are uniquely compliant, generous, outwardly focused individuals who stabilize their communities by their uncommon commitment to their families, their churches, and larger society. Graduates of Christian schools donate money significantly more than graduates of other schools, despite having lower household income. Similarly, graduates of Christian schools are more generous with their time, participating far more than their peers both in relief efforts and in mission trips for evangelization.” The mission of Florida Christian School is stated as, “to develop well-rounded students through excellent academic and extracurricular activities, while seeking to win the lost to Christ and equip Christians with the skills and the knowledge to change the world for Christ.” Finding balance is a positive force in any endeavor. For us as a Christian school it is obviously important to faithfully teach God’s Word and present a Christian perspective of the world. What some may not fully understand is that in fulfilling our mission we are equally committed to providing an excellent academic program to develop the mind, and an extracurricular program which allows our students to use their God given physical attributes. The overriding atmosphere at FCS is, and has always been, that of a family.
Much of what we do as a Christian school is helping our students find a balance in their lives. Paul, in writing to the church at Colossae, advised them how they could find this balance. Colossians 3:16-17, “Let the Word of Christ have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives, words, actions, whatever, be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” As a Christian school we teach our students how to achieve a balance between knowledge and application, and between common sense and understanding. Paul’s instructions to this church began with right thinking. He wanted them to learn how to live. Just like Paul, in our school mission we want to guide our students to being stable and balanced in their Christianity. We live in a society that increasingly sees Christians (including students at a Christian school), as out of touch, pious, non-intellectual, phony, and insincere. If the world sees this in Christians it is because of a lack of balance. What we want to teach our students, and model in our own lives, is the understanding that non-believers need to see Christians as balanced believers who are stable, authentic, and who live their everyday lives with concern for others as well as goals for themselves. For Christian school students, this means learning that being well rounded includes how they conduct themselves at school or away from school. It means how they take a test, play an instrument, or even how they play sports. It effects their response to others, their love for others, and most of all their genuine concern for those who don’t know Christ. The last words in Paul’s instructions are fitting for our mission at Florida Christian. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” Colossians 3:17. The perfect Christian school student is one who is well-balanced and whose life reveals Christ consistently. We don’t have absolutely perfect students, but we do have, and can produce more students who seek to become well rounded in their lives. As a school we can be well rounded if, “whatever we do…we do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.