Big Things and Little Things

So, have you noticed that there are some really big things going on in Christian Education these days? Lots of dreaming, visioning, and forecasting. At Hamilton District Christian High tonight we host our first Town Hall meeting about the renewal of our facilities. (All are welcome.)

As well, the leadership of HDCH has started a Strategic Planning process which we hope will end with a new strategic plan presentation in early 2018. As we celebrate 60 years of high school Christian Education in the Hamilton region, we do so with a vision for at least 60 more.

Last week, we had an assembly to kick off the second semester. This is the message I shared with the students. It’s a message that frames the building renewal discussions, our strategic planning process, and our day to day work at HDCH.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

The Hamilton District Christian High mission is cultivating your character through learning so that you will live a life serving God. There are three key words in our mission statement as a school: Character, Learning, and Service.

In Romans 12, Paul asks for us to consider our Character as we learn to do God’s will.  “Don’t conform to the patterns of this world,” Scripture says. Patterns are habits, and habits are a reflection of our Character. It’s important to note that character is both internal and external. Character is returning someone’s wallet that you found on the bench in the hallway, or telling the truth when you know it’s going to get you into trouble. Your Character is ever present but is not always seen. My dad used to say to me, “Nathan, your true character is how you act when nobody’s around to hold you accountable.” Let me emphasized that: Character is how you act when nobody’s around.

Learning is the main thing we do here at HDCH. So I want to challenge you to go deeper in and think further out in your Learning. Going deeper into your Learning is not just good for you, it is actually a gift.  When you go deep in a class, with content and with a teacher. Going deep happens when you are curious when you ask questions and analyze and do not settle for just getting things done. Deep Learning is found in the ‘aha’ moments of our days, and have often seen your deep Learning on display in the projects at our Celebration of Learning. Deep Learning is part of the process of renewing your mind. So this semester, make deep Learning your focus.

If we were just about Learning and Character, then we would just be a school. But our context is this: we are a Christian School; we serve a risen Saviour, Jesus Christ; and we are working to bring forth the Kingdom of God, our Father who is in Heaven. So in all of your Learning and all of your Character development aim your life towards serving God. It isn’t all about you; your learning, your actions, your life is not your own. You were created to serve God and others, including people different than you. So this semester, point your compass towards a life of service to God and head in that direction. It is God’s will for your life.

In Romans 12:2. But I want to note a different version of Romans 12:2, as it frames our mission here at HDCH. Read for Character, Learning, and Service.

‘So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.’ – Romans 12:2 (The Message)

And so it is in the little things–our patterns and habits–that we frame and shape the big things in our life and at our school.

I look forward to seeing you around.
Nathan Siebenga