By WCS Headmaster Dr. Roger Erdvig
Spiritual formation and worldview development are two concepts that are really important for Christian schools. Indeed, it would be difficult to find a Christian school that is not concerned with both spiritual formation and worldview development, with one or both concepts mentioned in their mission or vision statements. (And if you DID happen to find a Christian school that didn’t keep these two concepts at the forefront of everything they do, you’d have to question whether it is a Christian school at all!)
It is important to understand that all schools play a role in the process of spiritual formation and worldview development of their students. These are not exclusive domains of Christian schools. Public, private, parochial, homeschools--they ALL shape the spirit and the worldview of their students. That’s right, even non-Christian schools shape the spirits and the worldviews of their students.
However, Christian schools ought to lead in intentional, specific spiritual formation and worldview development. By intentional, I mean that we must be able to point to observable activities that actually facilitate proper spiritual formation and worldview development in our students. We can’t just say that these are priorities; we must show that they are. And by specific, I’m saying that we are committed to Christian spiritual formation and Biblical worldview development.
Christian Spiritual Formation
Christian spiritual formation is the shaping of a person’s spirit—that part of them that is eternal, and which, when rightly formed, will resemble Christ. According to Dallas Willard, author of Renovation of the Heart, the spirit is a person’s control center, where he or she decides what to do. It is the place from which a person lives life and is synonymous with the Biblical term “heart.”
Christian spiritual formation is an inner work of transformation resulting in Christlikeness, which means to choose behaviors and attitudes that faithfully reflect Jesus’ ways. Christian spiritual formation results in the Biblical concept of shalom with God, self, and others, and its goal is a Christlike heart that naturally desires the things He desires.
(Shalom is one of the most significant Old Testament theological concepts, most often translated into English as “peace.” However, its meaning is much richer than a lack of conflict or a state of tranquility. While shalom certainly includes these, it also is an internal state of being marked by completion, ease, fulfillment, and satisfaction as a result of all things being as they ought to be. This ideal state of being is extended beyond the inner person to an individual’s social relations as well. Biblical shalom is truly the goal of life for the disciple of Jesus.)
When Christian spiritual formation is happening, students will increasingly look more like Christ. A key Biblical reference for Christian spiritual formation is Galatians 4:19, where Paul refers to his Galatian friends as, “My dear children, for whom I am in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (NIV).
When young students are being guided to control their tongues and see the impact of speaking words of life to their friends, Christian spiritual formation is happening. When teenagers take active steps to implement a daily quiet time with the Lord, Christian spiritual formation is happening. An exclamation of one whose spirit is being rightly formed might be, “It is amazing to me that God speaks directly to me through His Word!” Or, “I’m finding more and more strength to do what God wants me to do!”
Cultivating godly influencers
Wilmington Christian School provides a distinctively Christian, innovative education that effectively develops Godly influencers who are well prepared for life after high school and who impact the culture for Christ.