Our Kingdom Community vision statement was first adopted in 2017.
Our Kingdom Community vision statement was first adopted in 2017.
“The mission of Wheaton Academy is to nurture growth in students through relationships, excellence, and service to the glory of God.”
Wheaton Academy is deeply committed to this mission and believes it is best understood and demonstrated through a cultural vision called Kingdom Community. These two words express a pursuit to understand the nature of God’s Kingdom and to embrace its standards for relationships within the Wheaton Academy community and beyond. The vision for our Kingdom Community is that people from different races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, different learning styles, different denominations, and both women and men come together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to honor one another. A relational culture of dignity, acceptance, and humility honors God and fosters an environment in which the mission can flourish.
Philippians 2:1-4 is foundational for this pursuit:
Obviously, the concept of Kingdom Community is Biblical and not original to Wheaton Academy. However, understanding the way it is used in our setting, both conceptually and practically, is important.
Kingdom Community, at its essence, is a theological expression of God’s intent for the way Christians should live in relationship to God and to one another. Jesus speaks of this Kingdom in Matthew 6, as He teaches His disciples to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This one phrase from the Lord’s prayer reflects a critically important truth about God’s Kingdom. What is true of heaven should be true of earth. The apostle John gives a vision of God’s Kingdom in heaven in Revelation 7:9-10:
Two concepts are clear—God’s Kingdom will include people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, and the purpose for all in His Kingdom will be to worship Jesus, who is the source of salvation. Wheaton Academy seeks to be a part of building God’s Kingdom here on earth, and with His Kingdom as our standard for healing, unity, and love, we want to develop a culture that values and celebrates the great multitude of every nation, tribe, and tongue worshipping at the feet of King Jesus.
Kingdom Community, as an initiative, recognizes that the kingdom of earth falls drastically short of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a response to the brokenness evident in the world and specifically addresses tensions related to racism, marginalization, and disunity. It seeks to capture God’s heart for humanity, His most prized creation. Student groups and a parent advisory group meet regularly to listen to one another, engage related topics, and pray. By fostering an environment of empathy and understanding, these groups strive to shape a culture that celebrates individual diversity and corporate unity through Jesus Christ.
People are desperately crying out for justice, healing, and reconciliation, and we believe these are ultimately found through a relationship with Jesus and humble surrender to Kingdom living. We are committed to looking at difficult and divisive issues through a Biblical lens and are striving to nurture growth in students, faculty, and the broader community. It is our hope that the Wheaton Academy community will increasingly become a clear picture of the love, respect, and honor for each other that God calls us to in His Word.
Kingdom Community is rooted in the following beliefs about humanity in God’s Kingdom:
In light of these beliefs, Wheaton Academy will encourage believers toward maturity in God’s Kingdom and will lovingly encourage those who are not yet believers to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and to begin living their lives as participants in God’s Kingdom Community.
Living in Kingdom Community requires both a commitment to Biblical principles and adherence to certain behaviors as we strive to live out those principles. While we will hold to basic behavioral standards, we want to go beyond the idea that we just refrain from doing certain things, embracing instead a new standard of living that reflects Christlikeness and the pursuit of holiness.
As a result, Wheaton Academy strives to be a community that will:
Students and faculty will adhere to the Human Dignity policy in interactions and speech toward one another and will hold each other accountable to its intent and expectations. Mistakes and shortcomings will be handled with grace and encouragement toward maturity and growth.
Christ calls us to honor others above ourselves. Honor implies that we acknowledge the value in each person who is created in the image of God and treat each person accordingly. This honor is reflected in the way we talk as well as the way we treat each other.
Wheaton Academy will commit to seeking God and praying for healing in our communities, schools, country, and the world. We know that prayer is critical as it brings us in line with the will of God for our lives and ministry.
Listening is the skill of seeking to understand the views and positions of others and identifying the worldview that shapes their opinions. Students will avoid defensiveness and self-protection as they hear from someone who thinks differently than they do.
Empathy is the skill of being able to think about someone else’s experience from the perspective of that person. It often compels us to share in the suffering of others even though their experience is not our own. It is not tolerance or even affirming that the ideas or behavior of others is right. Instead, it is being humble and compassionate in order to build a relationship.
We have the great privilege of learning, and we must acknowledge we do not know everything. Therefore, we want students to demonstrate a posture of learning, not only for knowledge but also for understanding. This skill helps us value other people and cultures by seeing the way they worship God and recognizing all that we can learn about God from people who have a different life experience.
Engaging requires participation, not just viewing from afar. When Jesus Christ came to earth as a human to bring us redemption and salvation, He willingly experienced what we experience. We want our students to be near different patterns of thought or ways of life for the purpose of bringing glory to God by being salt and light.
Students must be able to speak truth in love and to hear truth in love. This skill is a two-way street and is critical to engaging in conversations in an everchanging world. We want to equip students to converse with the gentleness and love that God prescribes for interactions with others.
Wheaton Academy is working to bring good into our world. In Scripture, justice and righteousness are linked; in fact, they are used almost interchangeably. Justice is God’s righteousness carried out. In practice, we are to pursue what Heaven will look like as He builds His Kingdom here on earth. We want our students to be Kingdom builders, which means they are advocating and striving for truth, righteousness, and justice at Wheaton Academy and beyond.
Our lives are to be living sacrifices of worship to Jesus Christ. In all that we do, we want students to see God’s glory and to give Him the praise and honor He deserves.
We want students to celebrate the goodness of God and to see that His way is the best way. He calls us to an abundant life filled with joy, and we want students to celebrate their identity as children of God and to value it above all other identities. Likewise, we will celebrate God’s creative diversity and will value the qualities and gifts of every person.