Recently, I have been struck by the concept of 'Culturally Engaging'. This is a phrase that is embedded in our school’s Mission statement.

It begs the question, do we want our students to be engaged with culture? The answer may be “well yes – but not all parts”.

In student enrolment interviews the question of “What makes Covenant different from other schools?” comes up regularly. The concepts of parent partnership and a Christ-centred, biblically grounded and academically vigorous education are met with nods of agreement and smiles of solidarity. These are all expected and accepted. Yet more, an inquisitive discussion is regularly generated by that concept of being culturally engaging.

So how do we address becoming ‘culturally engaged’ at Covenant?

The great commission in Matthew 28 is directing us to go to all nations. It requires us to engage with all of the cultures that we find as we witness for Christ.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”

The message is clear. Go, engage with the cultures of the world and spread the good news of Jesus.

But to be culturally engaging is even more than this. There is an equipping of students required so that they can be prepared for the world, viewing culture through a biblical lens.

So how do we equip students for this hostile world?

An eye test is perhaps a helpful metaphor.

Imagine sitting down in the optometrist’s chair. If poor eyesight is an issue for us we see a blurry mess through the initial lenses. As the optometrist changes the lens we see images in a different way- sometimes skewed, sometimes elongated, sometimes not quite right and then arrives the joyful moment when we see clearly. We see detail and we know what is before us.

This resembles our aim at Covenant as we teach and prepare students to deal with what is before them. We teach our curriculum in such a way as to develop, test and fit a biblical lens to our students’ eyes, aiding them to see the culture before them with Christ-like clarity.

We pray that this sense of security and comfort afforded when the lenses are firmly affixed will equip students for life. Being able to view the world and current culture through the biblical lens, the unchanging biblical lens that brings clarity to a constantly changing culture.

The lens points out what is not consistent with God’s ways. The lens reminds us that this world is not perfect. The lens points out our culture’s need for godly restoration.

Cultural engagement is a really important part of our mission. I absolutely love talking about it! We need to equip, not cotton wool our students. Every child will one day leave this place. Every child currently has a life outside of school. We want to work hard to equip them with the right lens to be able to see culture and engage with it as God would have them do.

What an honour to work alongside parents in this task of equipping.

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