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Education and Service

Radically Following Jesus Christ in Word and Deed

 


Christopher Dock Mennonite High School
Quakertown Christian School
Penn View Christian School

Globally Positioned Students 2012

Impact Goal Team:  Melanie Baker, Chair, Sarah Bergin, Mim Book, Preston Bush, Sheryl Duerksen, Steve Kriss, Steve Landis, Betsy Moyer, Robert Rutt, Amanda Sagastume, Conrad Swartzentruber

Foundational Document
Summer, 2010

Document authors: Mim Book, Preston F. Bush, Steve Kriss

Copy Editor:  Amanda Sagastume


Table of Contents

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . below

 

General educational benefits of doing service

 

Importance of doing service

Pedagogical theories supporting the value of doing service

  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
  • Key Experiences and Motivation
  • Situated Learning Theory
  • Research of Barna Group
  • Social Learning Theory
  • Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  • Brain-Based Education

Anabaptist theological reasons for engaging students in service

  • We are servants of word and deed.
  • Service is giving and receiving.
  • Reaching into our communities, students and instructors both contribute and learn.
  • Service is about joining with God in bringing healing, hope, and restoration to the world.
  • Anabaptist theology is built on the premise that the Kingdom of God is a visible social reality of God’s restoration.
  • Acts of service help students form identities as Christian disciples.
  • God charged humanity to serve him by serving his creation.
  • The following points offer places of reference from a variety of Anabaptist sources to undergird the theological significance of service.

Conclusion


Endnotes

 


 

Introduction

GPS 2012 (Globally Positioned Students) is the result of a collaborative strategic planning process undertaken by Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, Penn View Christian School, and Quakertown Christian School that began in February, 2006.  After much research and assessment, a shared vision emerged at a symposium held at Penn View Christian School on September 16, 2006.  This vision, Boldly Opening Doors to Christ-Centered Mennonite Education, identified four major goals, along with strategies and initiatives to bring them to fruition.  Implementation of the plan began in May of 2007 when four Goal Teams were created under the titles of Connections, Accessibility, Educational Excellence, and Impact.

Working ahead of the other three goal teams, the Connections Goal Team prepared an advance document/diagram in April of 2008 entitled, Passing on the Faith: A Community Work – A Spiritual Formation Framework.  Using a Venn diagram, the team laid out a foundation for “interactive conversation that will create reflection on and action towards how we help our children become radical followers of Jesus Christ.”  The completed diagram outlines the interaction between home, church and school for faith development showing overlap in responsibilities and circles of influence.  The diagram also delineates the unique roles each of these settings provides for the faith development of our children and youth.

In the overview of the document, Passing on the Faith: A Community Work, the Connections Goal Team articulated, “The overlay over the school circle is an Anabaptist-Mennonite theology and lens through which faith formation is shared, taught, and experienced. This lens includes an understanding of a God of love who sent Jesus to be an example for us to follow in daily living, with a focus on peacemaking, social justice, servant-hood, community, and grace.”  This direction of the Connections Goal Team has set the tone for the work of the other three goal teams that have followed.

On December 3, 2008, the Impact Goal Team gathered together for the first time.  Charged with facilitating this goal, "Tri-school community members are recognizable by their Christ-centered impact as pilgrim servants building God's Kingdom locally and globally," an early focus of the team was to develop a clear understanding and articulation of why our schools place such a high value on service.  Asking this question of why Anabaptists schools engage students in service was additionally important because two initiatives that were identified as priorities by the CIT read as follows:  Increase the frequency of authentic service learning opportunities that build empathy for others with a focus on action, and Enhance connections for service with Mennonite organizations locally and globally.

Further, we recognized that engaging in service is an integral part of the Mission Statement, Graduate Profile, Core Values and Educational Philosophy of all three schools.  (In November, 2007, the school boards of all three institutions approved the adoption of a joint document that articulates these goals and commitments.)  In defining discipleship as one of the core values, this joint statement reads, “Following Jesus, peacemaking, and service, are expressions of our Anabaptist/Mennonite faith…”  The statement of educational philosophy articulates that, “Jesus rejected temporal power and chose instead a life of servant leadership…In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus demonstrated the redemptive, transforming power of love.” In response to what Christ has done, the statement concludes, “We seek to be faithful followers of Jesus in all aspects of life.”  Clearly, developing a foundational document addressing this question of, “why service?” was an important place to start.


Eighth grade Penn View Christian School student Emma Lewis applies face-paint to a child's face at Penn View's 2nd annual Golf Outing.


As educators we knew that a focus upon engaging students in service opportunities was also an emerging trend in public school curriculums.  However, we were keenly aware that although our purposes and goals for engaging our students in service were in many ways similar to those of public schools, as Anabaptists our reasons were also significantly different.1

The following document lays out an educational and spiritual grounding for engaging students in service in and through our Mennonite schools.  It is structured in three parts: A) Generaleducational benefits of doing service, B.) Pedagogical theories supporting the value of doing service, and C.) Anabaptist theological reasons for engaging students in service.  It is intended to foster understanding and cooperation within, and between our schools, homes, and churches.

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