On returning from the Christian Schools’ Trust conference at Swanwick, Derbyshire, I found my self reflecting on the head-teachers I had met and what was the main thing each of their schools reflected. Most of the schools had been set up 20 or so years ago and many are facing a transition as the founding individuals retire, or pass away. Central to each is a Christ Centred vision
Knowing the main thing, or purpose is important if the vision of each school is to persevere and the school thrive. Vision isn’t static, I believe, but organic; looking to the past but also to the future (a fact highlighted by Mike Simmonds, the main speaker at the conference). There are founding principals that set the agenda for any change in vision that may be necessary. Looking at our school, I would say our main thing is community. For others it appears to be family and for some the Bible (i.e. building Biblical character). I would say our school is also nurturing whereas others are distinctly evangelistic. The community we inhabit and are is not the same community we were and is not the community we want to be. Our current context and and our vision of the future give life to the values that ensure our school will continue to be community focused.
We all have a measure of each of the above main things in our DNA but knowing what is distinctive helps define the way we are to go. So we are firstly Christ centred, then community focused and nurturing. We are also to some extent family supporting, Biblically founded and evangelistic but this is not our main thing.
So what does being Christ Centred or a Christian School mean. Underpinning each main thing is the conviction that God is the centre, the source of all wisdom and understanding and that we are to love our neighbours. A school that does not serve its local community, stands aloof of the local church and does not reach out in service to others here and abroad is not a Christian School.