Teaching for Responsive Discipleship, An Introduction to 'Threads'

Teaching for Responsive Discipleship, An Introduction to 'Threads'

Thursday, 3 September 2015  | Jacqui - Director of Teaching, Learning & Innovation
The opening sentence of the first chapter of MECS’ Transformational Education book reads ‘Learning in this Christian school has a clear purpose; the transformation of students and teachers so that they might have the mind, heart and life of Christ and be His disciples.’

Many educational approaches see the student primarily as a thinker and learning is focussed on cognitive things or on the ‘head’. Biblically, it is the metaphorical heart (kardia) which is the seat of learning and formation. The ‘heart’ reflects the fabric of a person’s life and shapes the formation of their character. Whilst the heart is at the core, Christian education doesn’t stop at the heart. It aims to instruct the mind, shape the heart and equip the hand. The phrase ‘head, heart, and hand’ captures well this understanding of holistic formation.

At MECS we are looking for ways to be more intentional about the way we design our curriculum to allow for this kind of responsive discipleship. Some of these responses have been captured in our new ‘Threads’, which we hope to weave throughout our curriculum, assessment and classroom practices. Threads are expressions of what it means to be responsive disciples of Jesus, pointing others to the Kingdom of God. Threads are action responses; they are challenges that God calls us to live out.

Woven throughout the fabric of God’s Story, God spells out His intentions for how his people can live in harmony in His Kingdom. These intentions were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, evil was conquered and all things were reconciled to God. With the power of the Holy Spirit in us we are God’s earthly ambassadors bringing about his will. Threads are our responses to these revelations of God about life. By weaving Threads through our curriculum here at MECS, we encourage our students to become part of God’s restoration project.

There are 23 Threads that have been identified and they are briefly outlined as follows:

1. Loving God
Students respond to God’s love by loving God in return and their neighbour as themselves.

2. Building Community
Students are active contributors and encouragers of others as the community is built up.

3. Caretaking Earth
Students actively respond to God’s call to carefully manage all of creation.

4. Celebrating Life
Students embrace the full suite of God’s provisions in life and live in such a way that all may flourish.

5. Challenging Distortions
Students identify and critique areas impacted by sin and then discern God’s purposes.

6. Discovering Patterns
Students explore and discover God’s patterns and designs for delighting in and/or using for the benefit of all.

7. Embracing Diversity
Students respect and celebrate the built-in differences between cultures and peoples, given for the enhancement of all.

8. Expressing Words
Students use words to build up, make choices, and express life.

9. Getting Wisdom
Students go deeper than understanding and knowledge to seek the insight of God.

10. Imagining Innovations
Students innovate and renew for good purposes and thereby praise the Master Designer.

11. Imitating Humility
Students gratefully accept God’s grace and respond by humbly serving Him.

12. Overcoming Setbacks
Students overcome setbacks through the strength of the Spirit and live in hope and faith.

13. Pondering Creation
Students contemplate both the Creator and His handiwork and respond in delight and praise.

14. Practising Hospitality
Students welcome and accept others, and use their gifts to embrace others into community.

15. Pursuing Peace
Students bring healing and restoration to people and areas of brokenness.

16. Reflecting Creativity
Students praise God by reflecting their Creator in making expressive and inspiring things and ideas.

17. Relishing Play
Students have an attitude of joy-filled play as they respond to what God has provided and Christ has restored.

18. Seeking Justice
Students act as agents of change by identifying and responding to injustice.

19. Shaping Culture
Students understand their cultural context, discern its errors and its virtues, and seek to ‘shake and shape’ it for the Kingdom.

20. Showing Mercy
Students respond to God’s mercy by likewise, being merciful to others.

21. Transforming Thinking
Students let every thought be captive to Christ so that their thinking is transformed by the renewing of their minds.

22. Understanding Vocation
Students discover the vocational task in which God has called them to serve.

23. Unwrapping Gifts
Students enrich theirs and others’ lives through developing and using their gifts.

I welcome your feedback and thoughts regarding these 23 threads. You may even have ideas for a thread or two that should be added. Please do not hesitate to join the conversation and contact me

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