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 Biblical understanding of Kingdom Community. These two words express the pursuit of understanding the nature of God’s Kingdom and embracing God’s Biblical standards for relationships within the Wheaton Academy community and beyond. The vision for our Kingdom Community is that men and women of different races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, learning styles, and denominations come together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to bring glory to God and 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:
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 with God and one another. Jesus speaks of this 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 things 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, the source of salvation. Wheaton Academy seeks to be a part of building God’s Kingdom here on earth, and with His word as our standard for healing, unity, and love, we desire to develop a culture that values and celebrates the great multitude of every nation, tribe, and tongue worshipping at the feet of King Jesus.
God has designed humans to look, think, and act differently across cultures to reflect the imago Dei. As a result, diversity is to be appreciated and celebrated as it points us to knowing God more deeply. At the same time, followers of Christ are called to be a unified people, one family by God’s calling, Christ’s blood, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a Biblical philosophy of diversity must encompass the idea of celebrating and respecting difference as a means of glorifying God more fully, while also promoting unity and love within the Body as a new culture that reflects the Kingdom of God. (Revelation 7:9-10)
Wheaton Academy embraces academic diversity by seeking to serve students with different academic abilities. God creates students who learn differently, often in ways that traditional schools have not been designed to provide. A Biblical mindset toward education seeks to meet the needs of as many different learners as possible in order to equip all God’s children to fulfill their God-given calling and to serve Him in the next generation.
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 sin and brokenness evident in the world. It seeks to recapture 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 the answers are ultimately found through a relationship with Jesus Christ and humble surrender to Him. We are committed to looking at all issues through a Biblical lens and will strive to nurture growth in students, faculty, and the broader community. It is our hope that the Wheaton Academy community will increasingly become more like Christ as it seeks to love, respect, and honor each other in the way to which God calls us 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 their spiritual walk 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 and instead embrace 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 of all individuals who are created in the image of God and treat them accordingly. This honor is reflected in the way we talk, as well as the way we view each other and treat each other.
Wheaton Academy will commit to seeking God and praying for healing in our communities, schools, country, and world. We know that prayer is critical as it brings us in line with the will of God for our lives and ministry.
Using this skill, we seek to understand the views and positions of others and identify the worldview from which people derive their opinions. Students will avoid defensiveness and self-protection as they hear from someone who thinks differently than they do.
Being able to think about someone’s experience from their perspective often compels us to share in the suffering of others even though their experience is not our own. Empathy is not tolerance or even affirmation that the ideas or behaviors of others are right. Instead, it is humility and compassion in order to build relationship.
We have the great privilege of learning and 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 to value other people and cultures, to see how they worship God, and to see the things that we can learn about God from people who have a different life experience.
The most profound reality about Jesus Christ is that he became human so that he could fully experience what we experience to ultimately bring redemption and salvation. Engaging requires participation, not just viewing from afar. We want our students to be near different patterns of thought or ways of life for the purpose of being salt and light and reflecting God’s glory.
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 for engaging conversations in an everchanging world. We want to equip students to converse with gentleness and love, the ways God reminds are best as we interact 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, the truth of what heaven will look like as God’s Kingdom is built here on earth. We want our students to be Kingdom builders, which means they are fighting 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 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.
(Some of the items were taken and slightly edited from https://www.gracetyler.org/accessibilitydiversityandunity/)