Service: encouraging a servant heart in God’s world

Service

Our service program encourages a servant heart in God’s world through local and global mission projects.

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Program Details

At WRCA the Bible is foundationally central to our understanding of Mission and Service learning. Throughout the Bible it is clear that God’s heart is to bring justice and righteousness to the earth through his children; his desire is that his children “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with (their) God” (Micah 6:8). Amos says worship without doing justice is displeasing to God. “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river; righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 6:12).

As we teach our students to know, love, and worship God, we must also give them opportunities to serve God and bring justice to the world in which we live.

Therefore, as we teach our students to know, love, and worship God, we must also give them opportunities to live out their faith with works of service” (James 2:22)

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The framework of Mission and Service Learning Model

The framework is divided into four phases:  K-G2; G3-G5; G6-G10; G11-G12.  The framework is also based on Westerhoff’s four stages in faith development: experienced faith, belonging faith, searching faith, and owned faith.  It is also based on Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning.  From their research we plan for Mission and Service Learning using four contexts: Seeing God’s world, caring for God’s world, knowing God’s world, and going into God’s world.

Jerusalem

K-G2

Local (WRCA community)

Seeing God’s World

Judea

G3-G5

Local (WRCA community) Municipal

Caring for God’s World

Samaria

G6-G10

Local (WRCA community) Municipal Regional (Provincial)

Knowing God’s World

Ends of the Earth

G11-G12

Local (WRCA community) Municipal Regional (Provincial) Global (World)

Going into God’s World

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JK – G2:  Seeing God’s World

At this age belief is based on what children are told (I am who you tell me to be).  In terms of their development of moral reasoning children mostly display unquestioning obedience (I must do what I am told) around the age of 5, with a ‘What’s-in-it-for-me’ sense of fairness breaking through between the ages of 5.5 to 7 (I will be fair to those that are fair to me).  Pedagogically these children learn by doing.  This fits with John Westerhoff’s description of the earliest stage of faith development:  Experienced Faith.

Mission and Service Learning in the K-G2 years should focus on getting to know God by seeing His world and the people in the world in both their school and local community.  Seeing God’s world enables them to begin seeing what the world is, who lives in it and what it is they need.

Examples:  Building a garden, field trips to the beach, spending time at A Rocha, etc.

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G3 – G5: Caring for God’s World

At this age belonging is of paramount importance, which means faith development is by association with family, friends, church, school or teachers (I am what/who I belong to).  This fits with John Westerhoff’s description of the second stage of faith development:  Belonging Faith.  Children at this age want to belong.  They are ‘joiners’.  In terms of development of moral reasoning, children’s focus on social approval leads them to conclude: ‘If I want people to like me, I’d better be a nice person.’  Living up to people’s expectations helps them to feel good about themselves.  Kohlberg points out that, while this type of thinking can be a great source of caring behaviour, children at this age easily confuse what is right with what other people expect of them.  At this age children are able to develop empathy with others and can understand what it means to belong to God, His world and His church.

Mission and service learning at this age focuses on students exploring how they belong to God and His world through making relationships, loving neighbours and showing compassion for others less privileged than themselves.  The range of their mission and service now extends beyond the school and local community into the city and its wider suburban districts.

Examples:  Connecting and communicating with seniors’ homes, environmental field studies, supporting recycling at the school, connect with inner city public school classrooms, food banks, Christmas on the Peninsula, etc.

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G6 – G10: Knowing God’s World

Identity formation take place during these years as young people work out (often with a struggle) who they are, how/where they fit in, what their unique gifts and talents are and what they do and don’t want to believe.  As they question, challenge, and search they reiterate: ‘I don’t know who I am or what I want to be’.  In terms of faith development, Westerhoff calls this stage Searching Faith as adolescents question and internalize what they have long been taught.  This stage is a necessary prerequisite to moving to an owned faith.  ‘They are questioning and examining their beliefs, their lifestyle, their appearance, all authority, and anything they identify with, in an effort to define themselves; to know if religion of the head is equal to the religion of the heart.  This compels them to ask searching questions that challenge the adult’s beliefs.’  In terms of moral development Kohlberg reminds us that young people in this age group are in transition between interpersonal conformity (their actions and behaviours are shaped by social acceptance) and responsibility to the system (they start to realize that there is a bigger world outside their world and that they have a responsibility to be part of it and to contribute to it).

Mission and service learning focuses on exploring God’s world, with a special focus on social justice and how students can take more responsibility for making a positive contribution to the world, specifically doing mission and service throughout the province.

Examples:  Connect with the Salvation Army to support their social justice ministries, better understand aboriginal peoples and their struggles with cultural identity, participate in the G6/G7 MOSS (Middle Outdoor Survival Skills) camp and the G8 SALTS (Sail and Life Training Society) field trip to learn more about themselves and how they fit into God’s world, and to start preparing for a global experience in G11.

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G11 – G12: Going into God’s World

At this age students either own or disown their faith as young adults.  The ‘owners’ relate to Christ personally and form identity (I am who I have chosen to be).  They are focussed on graduating, leaving high school, moving beyond the school’s walls into the ‘real’ world.

Mission and service learning focuses these students on going into the entire world to make a real difference as Christ’s ambassadors.  Mission and service at these ages pulls together all their SEEING, CARING and KNOWING into a GLOBAL GOING.  These students need to see that the effects of sin are international, that the grace of Jesus Christ is the global solution and that the body of Christ is in every continent, and that they are a player in the grand drama of God’s redemption of all creation.

Examples:  Guatemala trip, India trip, etc.

Service

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