I recently had to summarize my approach to education for a class; here is the paper that resulted. Using Jeff Greenman’s nine components of learning as the structural framework, I develop in this paper my own philosophy of education, employing a hypothetical school of ministry located in Vancouver to elucidate it in a concrete setting. Two Appendices follow the main paper, the first giving a brief sketch of the Christian worldview and the second presenting my approach to the relationship of Christ and culture (Christians and the World).
As of late I have been struggling with focus in my studies and have felt the need to take a step back and look at what it means to have been called to attend Bible College. Often in conversations with people I find that the cultural “college” atmosphere seems to get hyped up to the point where it replaces the definition one would usually associate with “college.” The blessing of being in a like-minded community of believers seeking after God and growing together seems to take the place of the purpose of Bible College. We attend Bible College to be equipped with the tools and experience needed for Christian ministry. In our practicums we get the hands on experience while in our classes we learn academically more about God and His word so that we may be able to one day teach and disciple others. To confound the fellowship we are blessed to experience with the purpose for God calling us to Bible College isn’t—I think—the best choice.
There has to be a reason that God called us to a Bible College and not to a young adult’s ministry like Ethos where we could experience the fellowship we find in college without the academic discipline. If He has called us to a College then there has to be something here He has to teach us that He wouldn’t be teaching us in the same way in another setting. In His infinite wisdom He has chosen to use the setting of academic studies to equip and train us for ministry in His kingdom, when I turn from my studies and give them half my effort while I pour my time into mindless activities I have to really ask myself; am I honoring God and His purpose for having me here? If God as called me here I can trust that He has something to teach me in each class and I would be wise to trust His wisdom over my own and do my best, putting the time in to get the most out of the books I read and the assignments I do.
God has called us here to be trained as leaders—in whatever form that may take—in His church; we have to honestly ask ourselves, how well are we doing that?
-If we have been called to Bible College and not a passionate young adults group—a group where we could experience the fellowship without the $10,000 price tag—how well are we doing in honouring God with our studies; with putting in our best and getting the most out of it as possible?
-Some of our growth at college definitely does come out of fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters, but what kind of fellowship contributes to our growth as believers? If we are to grow as Godly men and women being equipped to lead the church at various levels, how does our college fellowship look different from the world?
-Does the language and joking we use honor God and represent the covenant community we are a part of?
-When we watch movies do they honor God in their humor and content?
-And if we are to grow in fellowshipping, how much growth does a movie contribute?
-When watching a movie with our friends how much do we actually learn about each other; about what God has been doing, where we came from, what we have been through, our hopes, aspirations, and struggles.
-what do we learn about God?
-how do we become better leaders through it?
-how does it lead to our sanctification?
We are here for God, to grow in our understanding of Him and His word through the means He has given us. How are we using these means? Are we putting the time in to learn well? Are we putting the effort in to go beyond what is called for so that we may actually understand? Are we giving this thing God has called us to our best? Are we putting our best foot forward? Are we honoring God with our time management? Are we honoring God in our recreation? Are we being the covenant community that speaks truth in love that we are supposed to be?
God has so much more for us here than we can conjure for ourselves; why don’t we ask ourselves the hard questions: am I learning what I want the way I want to learn, or am I trusting God that He has something to teach me and depending on Him in that strange way He has decided to teach me?
This is a challenge for myself, wrestling with where I put the time God has entrusted me with this semester. I am not saying stop watching movies, stop staying up late once in a while, stop this or that, but that I need to—and maybe a few other people—look at where we have set our priorities and re-appraise them in light of what God is doing with us here and what He desires our time and effort to be spent on.