Spiritual Formation at KingsWay School
The word transformation communicates a need to be moved from that which is weaker to that which is stronger, from that which is disconnected to that which is connected, from that which is primarily in darkness to that which is increasingly enlightened, from sin to redemption. One of the primary goals of KingsWay School is to be a conduit through which Christ transforms the lives of people into His image. The Holy Spirit works in the lives of our students to transform their character into likeness with the inner being of Jesus (Luke 2:52).
KingsWay staff look to align themselves to this work as our students grow in wisdom (discerning mind), stature (physical/emotional maturity), in favour with God (spiritual relationship), and favour with man (social, relational). In a sense, as staff at KingsWay we share the calling of John the Baptist: "preparing the way for the Lord" (Luke 1:17) in the lives of our students. It is not, however, expected that teachers new to Christian education can automatically teach Christianly or have the skills to be able to facilitate their students’ spiritual formation. To this end, our teachers meet on a Wednesday morning before the start of school to intentionally improve their ability to support their students' spiritual formation and to learn how to grow in their ability to teach Christianly. Moreover, teachers are encouraged to engage in theological study and other professional development to equip themselves as a worker who is approved. From the start of 2019, the KingsWay Teaching Christianly Professional Development Programme will be launched to better equip staff with an intentional and personalised development plan. The aim is to ensure that our staff are constantly growing in their skill, attitude and knowledge to support the spiritual formation of students.
So, what is spiritual formation? I often comment to staff new to Christian education that Christian education is not about putting a verse at the top of a worksheet or making forced associations such as one disciple plus two disciples equals three disciples. God's Word clearly identifies the need for spiritual transformation of the heart, head, and hands.
Transformation of the Heart
That heart stands in need of transformation. KingsWay educators frequently ask and plan into their units of work big questions such as, "How does the transformation of the heart work?" and "How can that transformation happen in our school?". Research into Christian schooling highlights a relational model of spirituality with the basic premise that all spiritual transformation happens in relationships. So, the spiritual transformation of the heart happens in relationships, including the ones between staff and students. We strive to be a highly relational community.
Each of us is loved into loving. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). In like manner, our students will be loved into loving. That love increasingly flows from a transformed heart.
I have been asked on several occasions by parents new to the school whether all the students at KingsWay are Christian. To this question I simply reply, not yet. The reality is that many of our Senior students are at a stage in their Christian walk where they are either questioning their faith or exploring Christianity for the first time. While staff cannot rush or force this process, we endeavour at KingsWay to be a witness to the transformation in our own lives so as to be a light to those that we teach.
Transformation of the Head
The minds of our students are not naturally thinking God's thoughts. In fact, we are told to be "transformed by the renewing of [our] mind" (Romans 12:2).
Harry Blamires begins his book The Christian Mind by saying, "There is no longer a Christian mind". He argues that most professing Christians no longer think Christianly. KingsWay has an incredible opportunity to teach children over a period of many years. We commit to go beyond teaching children what to think and focus on how to think and how to do so biblically. Paul instructs the Corinthians to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). The transformation of the mind is about renewal by replacing man's thoughts with God's thoughts.
KingsWay’s spiritual transformation strategy includes working toward a comprehensive scope and sequence to support the spiritual development of our students. Moreover, we offer compulsory Biblical Studies classes and endeavour to authentically weave a Biblical worldview into our lessons to engage students with the reality that God’s word has value to all of life and living (2 Timothy 3:16).
Transformation of the Hands
Research into Christian schooling indicates that students have a strong sense of being connected to God as they grow in gratitude. Strategies for increasing gratitude have become a central theme in our school. These include acts of service, staff and student devotions, student led prayer and worship times and Extension Ministries outreaches.
Paul's sentiments summarize our mission well when he calls the Galatians his children and says he labours until Christ is formed in them. By the Holy Spirit, may our labour produce similar fruit.