A graduate of CLS will Love God, Love Others, and Love Learning through "becoming" a:
Conscientious Disciple | Compassionate Citizen | Critical Thinker | Confident Communicator | Continual Learner
As followers of Jesus Christ, Christians are called to embody the virtues and characteristics of the Lord - to be “disciples” of Jesus. Discipleship encompasses more than simply an intellectual assent to certain tenets of a creed. It is following and obeying the commands of Christ in daily life. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” This given mandate requires action. Christians are called to act, to live, to do, and to be. The idea of discipleship is more than just stating “I’m a Christian.” It requires living a particular type of life - one that aligns with the values and priorities lived and taught by the Lord. At Christian Life School, our goal of cultivating conscientious disciples compels us to teach our students to understand all it means to be a follower of Jesus. For a true disciple, faith is an active part of life in its totality. And though we seek to “be holy as I am holy,” we also recognize that in our humanity, we fall and fail. A conscientious disciple, however, resolves to pursue their God-given high calling despite the challenges and obstacles. We endeavor to produce students who take seriously the commitment of being a disciple, who do so in a thoughtful and reflective manner, who realize the fulfillment of their faith, and are able to defend it to others seeking answers to the complex problems of this world.
Jesus said in John 13:34, “Love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” God also requires us in Micah 6:8 to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” In a world often defined by inequity, disunity, and tension between different communities of people, Christians are called to be compassionate citizens who are charitable towards others in both word and deed. Jesus modeled this in His servanthood, empathy, humility, and sacrifice, and thus set the standard by which all Christians should live and act. At Christian Life School, we desire for students to live this example of Jesus as a reflection of their love for God. A CLS student will recognize with deep humility the fallenness of the world around them and seek to make a positive impact through a life of compassionate service to others. Compassion and service are not temporary virtues, but values that call for a life-long commitment. As students enter their various communities to fulfill their God-given purpose, compassionate citizens lead with patience, serve with humility, embrace the God-given differences of others, and care for those in need. The application of compassion extends beyond mere words into the realm of deliberate action, affecting the totality of one’s life. Our goal is for students and alumni to demonstrate the love of God to their communities and to recognize and respect the inherent dignity of every human being as made in His image.
In Romans 12, The Apostle Paul admonishes believers to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but rather to be transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they are able to discern the will of God. Additionally, Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 10, as they engage a contentious world, to be wise and to pair that wisdom with innocence. Critical thinking is a skill that helps individuals to facilitate these and other scriptural exhortations about acquiring wisdom and discernment. At Christian Life School, we aim to cultivate students who persistently pursue the discipline of complex, analytical thought. Our students not only work to discover the deeper meaning of their studies, moving beyond the surface knowledge and into a more reflective and complex understanding, but they also learn to ask meaningful and insightful questions about the world and their place in it. Critical thinkers are tenacious problem solvers and solution seekers. They do not avoid the rigor of reasoning, but instead, they aspire to greater understanding and the application of their learning and knowledge in every area of life. Critical thinking is a difficult but welcomed challenge that generates the habits of mind leading to innovation, creativity, and new perspectives about the world. In a dynamic world of ever-increasing information, critical thinking is essential to navigate the complex systems of this world, to understand the times in which we live, and to discern the will of God.
Our ability to be in relationship with others is foundational to our humanity and integral to our faith. The scriptures continually reference the importance and value of being in community with one another, admonishing disciples to not forsake meeting together, as well as highlighting the benefits of friendship and accountability in interpersonal relationships where “iron sharpens iron.” In this social world where good relationships are essential for fulfillment and success, effective communication is an essential and unavoidable skill. Quality communication enhances interaction with friends, team members, colleagues, and loved ones. Confident communicators know how to write skillfully, present clearly in public contexts, manage and resolve conflict, as well as navigate and succeed in their interpersonal relationships. James 1:19 asks Christ-followers to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Healthy communication allows us to not only be heard, but to hear and understand multiple perspectives and then build the relationships that strengthen our communities. Communication also enhances learning. Writing is an expression of thought and research shows that people who communicate their thoughts and understandings through writing and speech are able to retain more information, and more importantly, synthesize and comprehend it at a deeper cognitive level. Developing strong empathic communication skills enhances a person’s academic, vocational, social, and spiritual life. At CLS, our goal is to prepare our students to confidently communicate their learning and faith, as they use their God-given talents within their individual spheres of influence.
Proverbs 18:15 says, “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” The human mind is a powerful and precious gift with the God-given ability to continuously grow and discover new connections. Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley once said, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist … using technologies that haven't been invented … in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.” A mind that has been conditioned to enjoy learning and exploring new ideas will be prepared to meet the challenges of the future head-on. To enrich this gift of the mind, Christian Life School aims to inspire students to be continual learners who take full advantage of their intellectual potential. While content knowledge is valuable, we recognize a higher priority in educating our students - cultivating within them a growth mindset which values the learning process more than a grade. When students develop the resolve to never stop learning, they appreciate the intellectual adventure of discovery, curiosity, and innovation. However, a continual learner does not just find joy in learning new things, they also develop a resilience to challenges. Learning is a journey with both successes and setbacks. A continual learner understands that there is always a risk in trying something new, but the reward is in the growth that comes from continuously engaging your mind in the learning journey.