As a part of GPS 2012, the collaborative strategic plan for Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, Penn View Christian School, and Quakertown Christian School, the three schools have initiated development of a pre-K—12 framework for spiritual formation. While this document is useful to the schools, its purpose is to be informing and transforming for families and congregations as well.
It is the hope that this document will be a living, interactive conversation that will create reflection on and action toward how we help our children and youth become radical followers of Jesus Christ. In doing so, church, home, and school work at the same goal and many of the roles and experiences in each setting repeat and reinforce what happens in the other two settings.
While this overlap is true, there are some opportunities most likely to occur in one of the three settings. What do home, church and school uniquely offer a child in terms of faith development? Suggestions of some of these items are listed in the non-overlapping sections of the circles.
The sections where two circles overlap indicate some areas of shared experiences for the child, or experiences that both of the settings provide, with the goal of children and youth becoming radical followers of Christ in the middle of the three overlapping circles.
It is in the best interest of our children and youth that home, church and school communicate about what is occurring in each of these places regarding faith formation, that home, church and school acknowledge the strengths of all three settings, and that each supports the other in every way possible. This framework begins that dialogue.
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.
We acknowledge that there are other circles of influence in the spiritual formation of children and youth, including but not limited to camp settings, and large group gatherings such as Creation or Mennonite conventions, and we recognize that these experiences contribute to faith development in important and unique ways. We also understand that the home, church and school are intersecting daily with the broader world and do not represent the whole of any person’s existence or interactions.