by Bob DeRuiter, Secondary Principal
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very
end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
A central theme in the New Testament is Discipleship. Jesus disciples the 12 and then commands them to continue this mission after He leaves. Before giving this mandate, our Savior spent three years walking with and training these men to carry on the work of spreading the gospel. Today, the Church is given the task in Matthew 28, discipling and baptizing those in the name of Christ; and this mission is carried out at the most basic level in our families.
Ultimately, this is why the ministry of Evangelical Christian Academy exists. As our Mission Statement affirms, we “partner with parents and their churches to educate, equip, and empower our students to pursue their purpose in Christ.” In addition to the ABC’s of our students’ education, we intentionally disciple the students in our care so that they not only know the good news of the Gospel but also are “taught to obey everything Christ has commanded.” (Matthew 28:20) This intentionality happens in a variety of ways, but in this article I will briefly discuss two: first, in our student-led Discipleship Groups and second, in our Student Council-sponsored Spiritual Emphasis Week.
The theme of our Discipleship Groups this year is the Virtues as put forth by C.S. Lewis in his book “Mere Christianity” as prudence, courage, justice, temperance, faith, hope, and love; and each month, a group of our student leaders prepare a brief discussion with a group of students centered on a particular virtue. These leaders receive a study guide for preparation from Rev. Matt Holst and, in turn, use this guidance as they contemplate and discuss the particular virtue with their fellow students.
Much like our Secondary Retreat at the beginning of the school year, Spiritual Emphasis Week gives An opportunity for students and staff to refocus our attention on our theme for the year. Our Student Council members are the primary planners of the week in arranging a speaker, giving guidance to discipleship leaders, and planning the logistics for the week; and they have done a phenomenal job in taking on this leadership role. This year’s Spiritual Emphasis Week concludes tomorrow, and Pastor Mark Alexander has spoken with our students this year about God’s relentless love for us His children even while we still struggle with our sin.
Ultimately, these opportunities for leadership and discipleship are instrumental to the mission of ECA. As those students who have led graduate, we look for groups of those students who are being “discipled” to step in and fill the role of “disciplers.”
As this continues through the years, we pray that God would bless these efforts through the work of the Holy Spirit and that those who leave ECA will have the seeds of God’s Word and Christ’s love firmly planted in their souls.