Standards for accreditation are meant to ensure a robust academic environment, but what are some of the components to ensure a robust Christian environment? While no list is going to be comprehensive, the following are ten things to consider, not ranked in any particular order.
- Academic coursework that addresses not just ethical issues but morality.
- Prayer—both communal and the promotion of personal devotion
- An institutional vision and statement of beliefs that connects to the creedal tradition and history of Christianity.
- A sense of spiritual direction and moral leadership.
- Field education and internships that are within a Christian context that provide mentorship and discipling.
- A welcoming and open atmosphere that makes people feel comfortable and accepted, even when they are not Christian.
- Symbols and reminders of the faith tradition. This may be easier if your institution is aligned with a particular denomination.
- A connection to Scripture that plays out across disciplines and departments.
- Occasional intensives, retreats, and community-building activities.
- Vocational guidance and advising.
When was the last time you did an assessment of how well your institution is performing as a Christian entity that promotes the gospel of Jesus Christ? Have you considered how to measure that?
We attempt to measure our success academically, but are all the pieces in place to measure how well the gospel is being served at your institution? Has an investment been made to ensure mission integration? Having been the responsible person for mission integration, I know that much of the time, all we can do is to make sure the components are in place and leave it up to the Holy Spirit.
How do we do that well without becoming the “dogma police”? Many times, Christian institutions have been most widely known for their adherence to and enforcement of rules and regulations. So, let’s change that stigma and add one additional item to the list above: How do you celebrate and promote a love of our Lord Jesus with joy?