Notes on the Grace-Filled School Community

Covenant Christian School’s mission is “Educating the whole child to the glory of God in a grace-filled environment.”  From its beginning, Covenant has sought to be a community not only characterized by grace, but clearly filled with grace.

At our school’s first open house in January 2003, it was declared that:

We want every teacher, every administrator, every helper, and every board member to be in love with Jesus Christ to the point… that everyone who walks our halls will know this is a different place. We will not be characterized by rules, or strictness, or rigidity. We will be characterized by the grace of God realized through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is compassionate toward those who are but dust.

These notes are meant to help define what attributes are found in a grace-filled school and how we, as a community, can apply these qualities in our school.  I have learned over the years that the application of grace is challenging. Thoughtfully applying grace in the context of relationship takes prayerful, caring effort.

Bryan Chapell, in his book, “Holiness by Grace,” defined grace as

…an unconditional release from the judgment we deserve, and accompanying undeserved blessing based on God’s mercy alone.

We apply this understanding of grace in the school through an atmosphere of patience, humility, forgiveness and Christ-like love.  This arises from Ephesians 4:1-3, where we read:

I therefore… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

An atmosphere characterized by patience, humility, forgiveness and Christ-like love is at the core of our understanding and application of grace.

Importantly, this understanding of grace does not imply…

“…the absence of behavioral expectations. On the contrary, in response to God’s grace we ought to strive for obedience and holiness. Our goal in nurturing children is obedience motivated by a heart captured by grace, not the application of a strict set of rules.” (Covenant’s Vision for Education, 2006)

At Covenant, grace-filled discipline begins with relationship and the application of grace; as we seek “obedience motivated by a heart captured by grace,” we must demonstrate patience, humility, forgiveness and Christ-like love.  In doing so, we treat children as whole persons, created in the image of God and worthy of inherent dignity.

Modeling grace is critical to developing a grace-filled atmosphere in the school.  This is the responsibility of the entire school community.  As recipients of grace we must acknowledge the grace that God has demonstrated in our lives and also be generous dispensers of grace.

John Roberts, Head of School


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