Dr. Barry Shealy, FPD Associate Headmaster
It is well understood that a Christ-centered education incorporates strong academics with a faith-centered foundation to equip students for whatever opportunities and challenges lie in their future. What may not be as well known and anticipated is how a Christ-centered education goes beyond individual students in the classroom and impacts the entire community. Recent studies demonstrate the positive impact of Christian schools and their graduates on their communities.
This theme of education for the community was foundational for my calling as a Christian educator and helps answer for me the “Why?” of Christian schooling.
Education for Big-Picture IssuesAt FPD, our most common perspective on teaching from a biblical world and life view is the “biblical story” framework of Creation-Fall-Grace-Glory.
As a general educational framework, this leads us to look at any situation by asking four questions:
1. How should it be? (Creation)
2. What is wrong? (Fall)
3. How do we fix it? (Grace)
4. What is the vision for the future? (Glory)
For example, in my Calculus class, I tell my students that mathematics is a way of thinking about the world so that we can identify problems and seek solutions for broad future benefit.
We don’t just memorize equations to score well on a test. Instead, we discuss actual problems and use calculus-based methods to discover new opportunities. This brings focus to real situations, conceptual understanding, and problem solving that students take with them the rest of their life.
How This Translates into FPD’s Community ServiceThis Creation-Fall-Grace-Glory framework is the foundation for our classroom education as well as our community service initiatives. Our community service emphasis is not just giving time without payment (volunteering). We take it a step further; FPD students explore how they can be a part of a solution that benefits the community as a whole.
Students work with over 100 agencies on community issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, and other tough topics. Our faculty is committed to developing graduates who are sensitive to the needs of others and the community and challenged to participate in meeting those needs. To do so, students come face-to-face with those issues and find ways they can help make a difference.
Educating for the Big(ger) Picture
So, when we say we are “educating and equipping students to change the world for God’s glory,” we really are educating for the bigger picture. We want students to understand that it’s not just about them. They can find true joy in using their gifts to serve others in ways that reflect the love of Christ.
It is FPD’s mission to prepare students for success in college and beyond. We know that in order for students and alumni to change the world for God’s glory they must have the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind necessary for these contexts. They also must be able to listen and critique competing worldviews, cooperate with those with differing perspectives, and act from a biblical worldview and ethic.
Our prayer is that the Middle Georgia community, and communities beyond, benefit from the service and leadership of FPD students and graduates who meet needs, serve others, solve problems, and advance the Gospel and God’s kingdom.
Interested in learning more about FPD’s educational experience. We invite you to take a tour.
References See The Toughest Question about Christian Education and studies from Cardus like Creating Generous Citizens.