|CCHS students at a service-learning project.|
Why is it important for CCS to spend time on service learning? We are a school; shouldn’t we spend that time we spend on service learning on academics? What difference does it make?
It is human to struggle with our sense of self, sometimes in the mode of self-importance or, maybe- self-depreciation. I know I do. We see it played out already in children—think about your times as a child, comparing your belongings to that of a friend—more baseball cards, nicer bike, or better toys. The jingle from a dog food commercial from years ago still rings in my mind: “my dog’s better than your dog.”
Service is the antidote to self-absorption. Roman 12 encourages us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, that is, to be in service—to be servants of the King. It suggests motivations for this counter-cultural imperative: recognition of and gratitude for God’s grace, and for God’s pleasure. It also points to a transformative impact that comes with this willful act of offering— a renewal of the mind. And it is this renewal that allows our mind (and our living) to be in tune to God’s will, and our personal will to be aligned with that of God’s.
Service motivated in recognition of and gratitude for God’s grace transforms us to be absorbed with what is important to God, not our own living.
At CCS, we value service learning. We provide 5th graders the opportunity to collect recycling materials from each classroom and office each week. We give 4th graders the opportunity to play games with seasoned citizens at a local retirement community. We send Middle School students to serve at organizations such as People Serving People, Feed My Starving Children and Opportunity Partners. Service with various organizations is a regular, weekly part of our high school students’ life. These are only a few examples of how this value is lived out each day at CCS.
Some schools look at these types of service opportunities as activities that fill an academic requirement. At CCS, we view service as living out who we are-servants of the King– who are absorbed by what is important to the King.
And our aim and hope is that our service leads us to magnify God more.
From The Message: Romans 12
So here’s what I want to you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—-and place it before god as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Calvin Christian School