The enduring value of Christian service

Monday, 28 Oct 2019

Dear Parents, the staff will specifically focus on ways to continue to develop Christian service in our students, the fourth major component of our mission statement, in Term 4. In an Educational Leadership article, titled “Service for Learning”, Rahima Wade writes, “High-quality service-learning holds promise for increasing student engagement, enhancing academic achievement, providing authentic uses for students’ literacy and math skills, boosting self-esteem, teaching social responsibility and providing fertile ground for nourishing a rich diverse school community. Educators at all levels (this includes TPCS parents) would be wise to take advantage of all that service-learning has to offer”. In addition, research by the Barna Group has shown that Christian service is invaluable for the positive formation of students’ character, enabling students to develop a better understanding of the Christian worldview. 

There are many Biblical references to service and its importance. In response to some of His disciples’ attempt to assume the most important position in the group, Jesus said “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). Our goal in life should be to serve others, not to be served.

The apostle Paul explains Jesus’ example to us very well. He says “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus’ “act of service” leads to the salvation of many. If our Lord can take the form of a servant, how can we not do the same?

Lastly, Jesus’ brother James writes, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18). It is essential to act on the knowledge contained in the Bible and not to resign its teachings to the category of things that are “Nice To Know”. The Bible really comes to life when we aim to live out the principles contained in it.

Dr Bev Norsworthy of Bethlehem Tertiary Institute writes, “Service-learning can help Christian educators (once again I want to include TPCS parents) refocus educational priorities so that they better represent biblical priorities for living; especially those related to those of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness. It can invite students to live the biblical story in ways that overcome the common binaries that often exist in educational settings – e.g., academic or character, sacred or secular, credit vs non-credit. It can build students’ understanding of the all-of-life embracing nature of God’s redemptive plan and gain insight into how they fit into that plan”.

We want to encourage you to find ways for your child(ren) to serve around the home, e.g. taking out the rubbish, vacuuming and dusting their room or other spaces in the house, helping with the preparation of meals, washing and drying the dishes, and working in the garden. We are aiming to do the same at school and it is our hope that this partnership will enable us to raise a resilient next generation that will become transformative leaders in their community.

Blessings,

Barend Blom - Principal

Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash

Act of service

p 09 274 9771   e admin@tyndalepark.school.nz   a 206 Murphys Road, Flat Bush, Auckland 2019