Even living cells, the tiny building blocks of plants and animals, are far more complex than any of man’s devices. Man cannot build a single living cell. After decades of intensive research, man still does not fully understand the cell’s structure and processes! Is it reasonable to think that such a complex organism had no designer? Simply put, God’s design is purposeful.
Christians have been educating their children since the time of Christ and have been doing so in officially labeled “Christian schools” for decades, but there is still confusion as to just what Christian education is.
Education is the developing of character, knowledge, and skills for a desired purpose. Most educators would agree that education should prepare the student to function well throughout life. But secularists and Christians disagree on their definitions of the word well. What is the core of Christian education—that without which education is not Christian at all?
At the core of Christianity is Christ Himself—His person (who He is) and His work (what He does). Christian education begins by introducing the student to Christ—by bringing him to realize that there is a God (Gen. 1:1) to Whom he owes allegiance and obedience (Hos. 13:4) and that this God has revealed Himself perfectly in His Son (Heb. 1:1-3). It does this for two reasons: that he may know Him (Phil. 3:10; John 17:3) and that he may be like Him (I Cor. 11:1; II Cor. 3:18). Once the student is regenerate, genuine Christian education can occur.
Just as Christ is the perfect revealing of God, so the Scripture is the perfect revealing of Christ (John 5:39). Christian education must recognize the Scripture as its primary written text. The student will learn theological doctrine from the Scripture, but Christian education depends on the Word for more than that. Since God is the Creator (John 1:3) and since He is truth (Ex. 34:6; John 14:6), then all that is true comes from Him, and all subjects must be taught from His perspective. The Bible was not intended to be a science textbook, and a chemistry course will include large amounts of material that is not in the Scripture. But the Bible is accurate whenever it speaks to any subject, and perhaps more importantly, it sets forth a worldview—creationist and providentialist—that must inform and direct the study of every subject.
Education includes development of character as well as transfer of information. The character goals of Christian education will be Christian in the narrowest sense: they will imitate the character of Christ as revealed in the Scripture. Every part of the student’s school day will reflect the purposeful discipline that is necessary to the development of Christ-likeness. And since the goal is personal and all-encompassing, that discipline will extend beyond the campus to the student’s entire life. What the student does “on his own time” is of great interest to the Christian educator and falls under his oversight.
What, then, will the product of truly Christian education look like? He is a born-again Christian who is purposefully pursuing Christ-likeness in himself and others. Accomplishing of the will of God is his primary purpose for living. As his God-given talents and abilities allow, he is a critical thinker. He enjoys learning and is devoted to continuing his education throughout his life because it leads him to glorify God. And because he has the intellectual and character-based tools, he will be good at whatever God has called him to do.
Odyssey of the Mind Education, Outreach & Opportunities
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that offers students at all learning levels the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills across the curriculum in an entertaining team-based environment. By challenging students to solve divergent (open ended) problems, we teach them how to incorporate the foundations of education with the limitlessness of imagination. Odyssey of the Mind transforms students into problem-solvers by teaching them to think Beyond the Box.
Teaching …Beyond the Box
We teach educators effective methods to transform how students learn while having fun. We successfully demonstrated that divergent problems can supplement traditional convergent thinking, and that our approach to education has important value. We provide curriculum and support materials, as well as a variety of professional development programs, including training on how to coach and judge within the Odyssey of the Mind program.
Creativity …Beyond the Box
We develop fun, divergent problems that not only promote creativity, but also channel creative focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics (STEM) and more. We advocate team-based creative problem-solving and participation in our creativity competitions to broaden the learning environment and scope of available lessons.
Learning …Beyond the Box
Our program generates student excitement by encouraging imaginative learning paths and nurturing the development of life-long creative problem-solving skills. We also challenge our participants to initiate creative community-service projects, and reward them for creativity, team-work, compassion and perseverance. We love learning, and that is what we do with Odyssey of the Mind.