“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  – Romans 12:2

“If we do not make formation in Christ the priority, then we’re just going to keep on producing Christians that are indistinguishable in their character from many non-Christians.” ~ Dallas Willard

Formation in Christ or discipleship is a process that involves every part of our lives; it does not happen by simply attending church on Sunday and Wednesday. There are two corollary issues that arise when discussing the modern American church and discipleship: first, many believe church attendance is discipleship when, in reality, it often only serves the purpose of assuaging our consciences and preventing us from realizing that discipleship is much deeper and more holistic. Second, if we attend church twice a week, there are still 166 other hours in that week to be filled with a barrage of secularized, hedonistic messages and thought patterns that are deleterious to our faith. I would venture to argue that never before have Christians been assaulted as they are in the 21st century with the ubiquitousness of smartphones and their constant magnetic pull.

While there are many arguments for the importance of Christian schooling, the issue of discipleship is prime among our purposes as a school and is the center of our mission statement. Discipleship takes place in the quotidian moments of life: when a teacher reacts with patience and grace instead of exploding and berating their students; when a child is having a rough day, and their teacher takes the time to comfort them with prayer and Scripture; those times when the entire community shows their generosity and cares for the family with a father or mother in dire medical straits. 

Jesus walked and talked and ate and lived life with his disciples for three years, allowing them to be an intimate and integral part of his life and showing them how to form the habits that are discipleship. In a similar fashion, our teachers, administration, and children live life together in all of its glorious messiness each day and that is where the lessons of the Christian life are seen and taught in the depths of relationship, tragedy, and triumph. Yes, chapel and Bible class and academic subjects are important, but this learning of the grammar of the Christian life is what differentiates the Christian school from that other form of discipleship known as public school.

Our classes will always be on the smaller side, capped at 12 for lower school (K-5) and 15 for upper school (6-12), not because it makes financial sense. It does not. They are limited because our mission is discipleship and flourishing, and to be discipled a child must be known. If you are not on this journey with us, I invite you to schedule a tour with the button above and find out for yourself what the Gainesville Prep difference looks like in action.