STATEMENT OF FAITH
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God (II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:21).
- We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three-persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, Matthew 28:19, John 10:30).
- We believe in the deity of Christ (John 10:33), His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:35), His sinless life (Hebrews 4: 15, 7:26), His miracles (John 2:11), His vicarious and atoning death (I Corinthians 15:3, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 2:9), His resurrection (John 11:25, I Corinthians 15:4), His ascension to the right hand of God (Mark 16:19), His personal return in power and glory (Acts 1:11, Revelation 19:11).
- We believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of human nature and we believe that men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ and that only by God’s grace and through faith alone are we saved (John 3:16-19, 5:24, Romans 3:23, 5:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5).
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; we believe that they are saved unto the resurrection of life and that they are lost unto the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29).
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 2:12-13, Galatians 3:26-28).
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian enables them to live a godly life (Romans 8:13-14, I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20, Ephesians 4:30, 5:18).
- We believe that the term marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (I Corinthians 6:18, 7:2-5, Hebrews 13:4). We believe that God’s command is that there be no sexual intimacy outside of or apart from marriage between a man and a woman.
- We believe that God wonderfully foreordained and immutably created each person as either male or female in conformity with their biological sex. These two distinct yet complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
Our Statement of Faith is not exhaustive of all of our beliefs. The Bible, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, speaks with absolute authority regarding the proper conduct of mankind and is the unchanging foundation for all belief and behavior. The Castle Hills Board of Trustees affirms the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in its entirety. Further, the Board of Trustees holds final interpretive authority on biblical meaning and application with regard to faith, doctrine, policy, practice, and discipline.
PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
The great purpose of The Christian School at Castle Hills is to lead students to know Christ and make Him known. Our highest goal is to raise up students who look like and live like Jesus – the ultimate servant leader. We intentionally work to assist parents in producing young people who know and love Jesus Christ, follow Him in life, and become positive, productive members of the coming generation.
Education and training of students are based upon a God-centered, Christian approach to education rather than a man-centered, humanistic approach. We believe that a Christian school must educate the mind and build Christian character. Our philosophy of education encourages competition, hard work, humility, and the value of living under a free enterprise system of government. Our central educational goals include a commitment to the following
- Provide a world-class education that effectively equips each student with essential academic knowledge and skills, as well as the ability to reason, to think critically, and to solve problems in preparation for success in a complex world (Proverbs 1:2-8, II Timothy 2:14-15)
- Develop a Christian worldview in all areas of life and equip students with the ability to defend the faith through reason and apologetic persuasion (Deuteronomy 6:5-8, Colossians 2:8)
- Commission students to live out their calling to pursue daily discipleship by fervent commitment to the Great Commission and Great Commandment. (Matthew 22:38-40, 28:16-20)
- Build character and spiritual self-discipline with the evidence of right attitudes, submission to authority, respect for others, strong personal work ethic, responsibility for actions, and love for God and others (Philippians 2:5, II Peter 1:3-11)
- Develop the servant leader qualities that are found in the ultimate role model – Jesus Christ, as well as to express servanthood in every aspect of campus life (Matthew 20:25-28)
- Ground students in the truth that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God has a unique plan and purpose for their lives (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11)
- Equip students with critical skills to compete in a fast changing world through the application of technology to the learning process and the problem-solving abilities of each learner (I Chronicles 22:15).
We believe the content of Christian education must be in harmony with “whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report” (Philippians 4:8). The classroom method should be teacher-directed (Deuteronomy 6:7) with the student acquiring knowledge through studying (II Timothy 2:15), researching (John 5:39), reasoning (Isaiah 1:18), relating (Luke 24:27), and recording (III John 12).
Every aspect of campus life, in academics, athletics and the arts, is an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills, to excel in leadership, and to make good decisions from a Biblical worldview and perspective. We believe the Scriptures give us the true view of God and man and their relationship. The Scriptures tell us that God is an orderly personality who created man and the universe and that He is the author of the order and reason reflected in His creation. Therefore, the Christian system of education is rooted in teaching objective reality with absolutes, as opposed to being rooted in subjective relativism. Therefore, all instruction is presented and interpreted in light of the principles and unchanging truth of the written Word of God.
“And when the student is fully taught, he will be like his teacher.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 6:40)
“Castle Hills and The Heart Issues: More Than Appearance”
An unsure young mother finds a word of encouragement and understanding from a kindergarten teacher… A troubled teen receives counsel on finding the will of God at a critical crossroad in life…A third-grade student asks Jesus into their heart after morning Bible class… A high school history teacher lights up with a spontaneous illustration to apply the Scripture to the pages of the textbook…A secondary principal prays with a student after a discipline issue is resolved…A passionate coach humbly apologizes to the team for “losing their cool” during that tense moment in last night’s game…A group of teachers assembles for devotions before school to gather strength for the day…
Occurrences like these endear people to Christian education. These are the Heart Issues that take place within our school that make us distinctive. These are the opportunities teachers experience that make all the effort and sacrifice in serving in a Christian school worth it all.
“Watch over your HEART with all diligence; for from it flow the ISSUES of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Families choose Christian education on the basis of many issues facing the home today. Not surprisingly, many people walk through our doors for the first time on the basis of externals- academic reputation, extracurricular opportunities, standardized test scores, facilities, athletic programs, dress code, or other issues. These external distinctives are important; however, Christian schools retain families on the basis of the way we address the heart issues in their children’s lives. What issues are at the heart of what we do? Though externals tend to draw people to an institution, the heart of the school, below the surface, is the real reason for our success in maintaining a long-term relationship in educating children and enriching their lives.
A Heart to Change the World
Christian schools are more about transformation than information. We lead students to know Christ and make Him known. Ultimately, our goal must be to change our world by changing young lives. Like God spoke concerning David, we must remember to affirm to our students that “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. (I Samuel 16:7b) Although we may desire to produce successful executives, doctors, pastors, engineers, and business people, our higher purpose is to lead students to give their lives to greater causes. Our focus is to inspire students and alumni to serve their communities and transform the culture for Jesus Christ. Eagle students become servant-leaders who make a difference in the world. A great education leads students to a personal commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
A Heart to Create a Partnership with the Home
Christian schools are special because the institution is an extension of the Christian home. In reality, we have the children for almost two-thirds of the day for nearly three-fourths of the year. We know parents are extremely challenged in our generation to successfully raise godly kids. Teachers offer advice, assistance, and encouragement to support the parents. Families live better lives when our actions build a solid bridge supporting their dreams for growing godly young men and women. We empower parents by communicating and operating in a way that shows we are an extension of their authority in their children’s lives. The Latin phrase, in loco parentis, means “in the place of parents.” That is the teacher’s location when standing before the students – we are serving each family in the place that God gave them to educate and prepare their children for life.
A Heart to Develop Servant Leaders
Leadership is not as much a position as it is influence in life. If we are to produce world changers, our students must learn to lead. Jesus was clear on this: “Leadership is valid only as it serves the interest of others. Self-serving leaders may achieve worldly success – yet they live empty, hollow lives.” A central goal of our school is to teach principles of leadership, to be an example in modeling that leadership, and to provide specific opportunities to develop leadership skills. Every area of our campus life must serve Christ and others in both planned and spontaneous ways. We envision every student leaving Castle Hills equipped to lead and to serve after graduation.
A Heart to Affirm Value and Worth
Much in educational psychology can be critiqued in light of popular views on building children’s self-esteem. However, the Christian school has a tremendous responsibility to create an atmosphere that affirms the value and worth of each child in Christ. A specific effort should be made to identify, to cultivate, and to document the gifts, abilities, affinities, and talents of each student. No matter a child’s ability or disability, their report card average, or even their behavior, a Christian school student should always be valued on the basis of being: (1) a special person whom God created in His image, (2) a person that God loves and sent His Son to redeem, and finally, (3) a person for whom God has a wonderful plan. All relationships in the school family should be built around communication that affirms value, worth, and a godly self-image.
A Heart to Discipline with Dignity
Blessed is the Christian school teacher who has come to see discipline as an opportunity rather than an interruption. Often, students receive more from our correction than from our directions. We must believe that every student is providentially placed in our classroom and that we are their teacher by God’s design and specific plan. We should anticipate those inevitable failures and trouble spots as opportunities to positively shape each student’s life.
Christian school discipline should demonstrate value for the child’s person while dealing proactively with their behavior. We are firm in discipline, yet still affirming. We must never use shame, guilt, or intimidation as our tools to shape behavior. The dignity of the child is to be preserved in discipline if we ever hope to produce independent, self-disciplined individuals.
A Heart to Demonstrate Life Lessons
The greatest lessons being taught on our campus today are communicated through the lifestyle of the faculty. Our actions and reactions show students our true character and values. Teachers’ greatest lessons must be confirmed by the greatest lives. Constantly, we must remind ourselves as teachers that we are “the living curriculum” in the classroom. Administrators must place as much focus on developing the personal lives of the faculty as on developing the curriculum guides and school programs. Teachers are the most effective visual aids of the character we hope to develop in students’ lives. As we often say, “character is better caught than taught.”
A Heart to Pursue Excellence
Whatever goals surface in a given school year, whatever programs make the drawing board, whether they are curricular or co-curricular – all pursuits should be initiated and maintained with no other target than excellence. Many things would be better not done at all than done half-heartedly. When too many areas are approached without passion, the atmosphere of the school declines toward mediocrity. A school’s leadership must keep the student’s performance and growth and development, as well as school programs, on a pathway toward excellence. The pursuit of a culture of excellence must define the atmosphere of our school. We must choose our plans and programs wisely in order “that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ”. (Philippians 1:10)
A Heart to Value the Soul
The highest goal in a Christian school must be the salvation of our students. Many schools take for granted the spiritual condition of the heart of a child. Simply because a child is growing up in a Christian home and weekly attends an evangelical church does not remove our responsibility to introduce the Savior to them. Great teachers have a heart for the Great Commission in their classroom relationships. Are our students individually and personally encountered by the staff about their eternity? Imagine the shame in having a child for twelve or thirteen years of life and yet never having received a personal gospel witness. If we miss any heart issue, let this not be the one.
A Heart to Develop a Christian Worldview
We must always keep at the forefront of staff meetings, in services, and faculty discussions the joy and great value of applying the Word of God to our subjects. Every subject is to be viewed and presented through the lens of Scripture. Teachers should design illustrations, probing questions, testimonies, and group exercises that reveal to students God’s relationship to the subject. This is “where the real action is” in the Christian classroom. Biblical integration and the development of the Christian mind must be (1) planned in curriculum development, (2) discussed in our priorities, and (3) affirmed in our teacher evaluations.
A Christian worldview is one of the central outcomes we keep ever before us. Our goal must preeminently be for students to discern an invisible kingdom in a visible world. Changed lives are always preceded by changed minds. “For as a man thinks in his heart; so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
Heart Issues: Look Below the Surface
Schools must set out a planned program to identify, develop, cultivate, and communicate the heart issues that will define the school culture. The board and administration should always place the focus of the school constituency on those values that matter most. Teachers who demonstrate dedication to the heart issues in the classroom should be acknowledged and affirmed. Parents should be consistently reminded of the core values we choose to shape the culture of the school. We should celebrate success in those areas with a greater vigor than we give to external distinctives.
Christian schools that focus on externals are like ice cubes. Their influence will not last long when the white, hot fire of trials or temptations come to a student’s life. Athletic programs, academic reputation, dress code, facilities, and other external indicators are important priorities. They each have their place, but they do not, by themselves, produce destinies.
Christian schools that maintain focus on the heart issues are like icebergs. Their influence will last long after the heat of the warmest day. These schools have their externals together, yet they are “only the tip of the iceberg.” The great substance of the Christian school is below the surface.
In conclusion, what lies beneath is what commands respect in our school. We must attack the sin of pride that tempts us to elevate externals above their appropriate place in our priorities. The real reasons for success will never change. When students’ lives are shaped by our commitment to the heart issues, we receive the blessing of God and the long-term commitment of parents. If our great hope is to produce students who serve their communities and transform their culture, our attention must remain on the heart issues.
“Watch over your HEART with all diligence; for from it flow the ISSUES of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)