proclaiming hope, practicing discernment, working for shalom
12 Affirmations 2.0
A revision of the original 12 Affirmations by Steven Vryhof, is now available - 12 Affirmations 2.0: Christian Schooling for a Changing World. The goal of the book is to "provide fresh language to a new generation, asking it to consider again the importance and the power of...Christian schooling. ...The hope is that the book will again spark discussions that energize and improve Christian schools, that bring changes that start closing gaps between the ideal and the reality, and that make these institutions strong and effective and sustainable."

12 Affirmations 2.0 is a very accessible book. Each affirmation, a paragraph long, is followed by an exposition of the affirmation (1-2 pages), and three questions to guide discussions. The affirmations are grouped into 3 categories - Foundational Affirmations, Educational Affirmations, and Communal Affirmations.

12 Affirmations 2.0 can be used with many audiences including:
• Discussions of Christian education at the board level
• Engaging parents in understanding the goals of Christian schooling
• Orienting new teachers
• Reinvigorating current staff
• Engaging upper level high schools students in discussions about the goal of Christian education
• And more - limited only by your imagination

Obtain multiple copies and let the conversations begin.

Nurturing Lovers and Does of Justice

Elaine Brouwer. "a key goal of Christian education" There is intentionality inherent in the word ‘education’. Although often used interchangeably, education and schooling are not synonymous. The current school improvement rhetoric of policy makers and corporate interests that tout such initiatives as an emphasis on STEM courses often at the expense of other disciplines, common standards coupled with high stakes testing, longer school days, and so on is talk of schooling not necessarily education.

Seeking Shalom in the Classroom: Hospitality-based and Place-based Learning

Janna Kostelyk. "Seek first the kingdom of God." This biblical imperative found in Matthew 61 is foundational to our faith and is at the core of the missional Christian church. In the same way, the specific and transcendent ends to teaching within a Christian worldview must coincide with this foundational biblical teaching of Christ. If we are called to seek first His kingdom here on Earth, then our vocation as teachers is to instill and foster His kingdom in our school community and our learning spaces.

Mirrors and Windows: Tablet Integration in the Christian Learning Space

Chris Finch. In all domains, clear vision and purpose are essential. Proverbs 29:18 describes the chaos that results when revelation (specified as "prophetic revelation" in the ESV) is absent. Whenever Israel rejected the vision and purpose that God brought to life for them through the prophets, they failed in their mission. As Goheen and Bartholomew's Living at the Crossroads explains, we need a clear understanding of where God is taking history if we are to fulfill our role in his story.

Spaces Where Learners Flourish

Elaine Brouwer. 'Spaces where learners flourish' are spaces of discovery and possibility, spaces where imagination and creativity are nurtured, spaces where learners engage deeply and meaningfully with each other and the world, spaces in which learners have room to discover and pursue their passions under the loving guidance of adults who share the learning space.

How can we ensure mission-shaped learning for the people we serve?

Elaine Brouwer. What makes good schools great, our energies lasting and learning enduring? Is it vision and mission aligning a culture of practice through strategic systems, goals, action plans and accountabilities?

Commencement Address
The 55th Graduating Class of Bellevue Christian High School

Bill Safstrom. Parents and friends of BCS, faculty members, and seniors, thank you for asking me to speak at your graduation. I count it a great privilege and an honor. Tonight I'll only remind you of what you've already learned, and encourage you to continue doing what you've already begun.

Tuition and Mission, or Do Policies Teach?

Bill Safstrom. In a meeting with Christian school administrators about long range tuition planning, I heard the following tuition policy rationale that requires a response. Since some parents paying their own children's tuition are reluctant to donate to cover another family's tuition (financial aid), it makes practical sense to cover financial aid within the budget and ask parents to donate to cover more acceptable or exciting needs such as teacher bonuses or pay increases.


Bill Safstrom. School sponsored student travel, including international travel, for mission work or educational purposes can be an important part of a Christian school education. While the need for students to see themselves as global Christians who understand their world is great, the questions about health and travel safety are many and changing.

Yabus, Sudan

Tim Krell. Four days after leaving home and seven flight later, the small prop-plane bounced down on the dirt airstrip cut into the landscape of Yabus, Sudan. -- This article first appeared in the Christian Courier.

Christian Education in Haiti: Hope in the Midst of Despair

John Van Dyk. Haiti has been much in the news this year. And the news was not good. Surrounded by warm, blue Caribbean waters, this once beautiful country was hammered again and again by an unrelenting series of destructive hurricanes, exacerbating the misery of people already suffering in the throes of unbelievable poverty.

Christian education is alive and well in Central America and the Caribbean

John Van Dyk. Christian education is alive and well in Central America and the Caribbean. In fact, the good news is that the Christian school movement is steadily expanding.

Assessment that Supports and Encourages Learning

Elaine Brouwer. Blessing is likely not the descriptor that most of us have attached to assessment. More often, the word conjures up images of endless hours of marking student work, the dreaded report card season, the sometimes-painful process of justifying the mark to students and parents, and accusations of grade inflation. Burden is a more likely descriptor.

What is Quality Christian Education?

John Van Dyk. What do you think of when you hear the word "quality"? Probably a well-made product, such as an automobile without built-in obsolescence, or a skillfully crafted violin capable of producing a most exquisite sound. Quality , in general, suggests a set of characteristics that make something rise above the mediocre. If something is "of quality" it either meets or exceeds a very high standard. In a sense, all the children in Lake Wobegon are "quality children."

Curiosity and Wonder Lost in School

Tim Krell. Young children are innately curious. They poke sticks in puddles, chase grasshoppers, and wonder how things work. When these little explorers go to school a different set of discoveries is set before them by their teachers. Slowly but surely, they lose the intrinsic wonder for life and learning, and it is replaced with the extrinsic need to please the teacher by producing a good assignment and to impress their parents with an A on a report card.

"Justice, fidelity, humility": a charter for Christian education

Doug Blomberg. What does it mean to be human? On October 4, 1957, amateur astronomers witnessed a confounding sight: a star that not only failed to twinkle, but moved! How they wondered what they spied, up above the world so high, like--well, like a missile in the sky. NASA's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the "space age" claims that on this day, "history changed", when "the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I." So shocking was this event to the American psyche, so confident of technological and military superiority, it inaugurated the "Space Race". NASA was hastily established, and John F. Kennedy soon promised to build a thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles--an ominous allusion to Helen of Troy--as well as to put a man on the moon by the end of the sixties.


Justice, Fidelity, Humility: a charter for Christian education - key note address for the NWCSI/CTABC teachers convention, October 2008
Doug Blomberg Home Page
Institute for Christian Studies
How Then Shall We Teach?

Doug Blomberg. Two weeks ago, we witnessed an extraordinary event. An arch-opponent of government regulation of the business sector announced the largest bailout of corporations in history, transferring their debt to the American taxpayer. Action needed to be taken, but not the knee-jerk, ad hoc moves that George W. Bush announced. Why reward those companies that had precipitated the crisis by their own greed and mismanagement, some of whose CEO's earned more than $50,000,000 per year?


How Then Shall We Teach - key note address for the NWCSI/CTABC teachers convention, October 2008
Doug Blomberg Home Page
Institute for Christian Studies