Ways SFC Prioritizes Faith Daily
Faith permeates every area of life at Santa Fe Christian. Whether it’s the way students interact at lunch or doing hands-on experiments in the science lab, everything is viewed as an act of worship. SFC provides opportunities for faith-based learning to be embedded in the community’s everyday routines. Chapel, prayer, faith-based electives, and mission trips are four ways students have the ability learn and grow in their faith.
In the Lower School, students work on character building in chapel. Teachers lead groups in “pods” of different ages to promote more intentional growth. And the learning continues beyond their weekly chapel.
“When we get together, we talk about our Eagle Essentials, which are our three R’s – respect, resourcefulness, and responsibility. Then we live those out!” says Lower School Assistant Principal, Amanda Walker. “In these small groups, we discuss how to use what we’ve learned in chapel to impact our community. We want each student to be challenged to live like Jesus in their day-to-day life –– with love and compassion.”
What does this look like? Once a month in their pod, students live out the life lessons they learned. They have written anonymous notes of encouragement and cleaned up the campus in order to be good stewards of the earth. The kids have even been challenged to enter into the experiences of impoverished children around the world by partnering with World Vision’s Matthew 25 challenge.
Prayer in the Classroom
The goal is to connect faith to everyday living, for each student. But faith is never forced. Instead, the focus is placed on building an atmosphere that will encourage SFC students to grow closer to Christ.
“It’s pretty cool to be able to weave everything we do into a way to worship God,” says 5th-grade teacher, Jackie Lewis. She says it’s an amazing way to mentor her students in other areas of their lives, not just academics. “I feel that He’s used my gifts in order to inspire them, hopefully, and to carry on their lives working towards His kingdom.”
Teacher Jessica Martin says her faith and the classroom intersect and allow her to show to students what it means to be, “a lifelong learner who loves Jesus.”
Faith in Action
Students who attend Santa Fe Christian learn early on that serving others is an integral part of their Christian faith. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 25:40 (NIV), when He says to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In other words, by serving others we are serving God.
Some electives SFC offers give students the unique opportunity to learn how to live out this aspect of their faith. For example, Grant Stephenson teaches a leadership elective, which facilitates opportunities for students to grow in their faith.
In this class, students run a pop-up store, selling drinks, snacks, and school gear. The proceeds benefit a neighboring school in partnership with Care House Ministry. Not only are students learning entrepreneurship but are demonstrating loving compassion too. Through this practical application of biblical principles, Mr. Stephenson says students ask the question, “What does missional living look like?”
SFC offers other community partnerships, through which students can invest in their communities. One is planting a school garden for another school in the community, another is by writing letters to younger students to build relationships and see life from another’s perspective.
The hope is for students at SFC, to walk away from their education open to how they can show the love of Christ in their contexts. Electives provide the space for students to see and participate in the bigger picture, glorifying God in everyday life.
On a Mission for Christ
SFC students also have opportunities to participate in numerous outreach projects and mission trips off-campus. Depending on the grade level of the student, these trips can be local, out of state, or in countries throughout the world.
For Lower School students, there is are several opportunities throughout the year to serve. One example is through a program called “Give Thanks, Give Back” food packing event. This event provides students a great opportunity to serve alongside others as a community.
SFC Middle School students, engage in a community service project at the San Diego Rescue Mission. They get to help out in a variety of ways, from cleaning to serving food giving students the opportunity to learn that people — including those in their own community — have many different types of needs. “We don’t have to go to Africa to understand what it means to care for our neighbor,” says SFC teacher, Kelly Lynd, “because we have so many people who need care right here in San Diego.” In eighth-grade, they can travel a little farther away to put their faith to work. Many participate in outreach trips to impoverished areas of other states, such as Kentucky, Texas, and Arizona. One specific trip, led by SFC teacher Mark Andriany, takes groups of students to Tucson, Arizona for five days where they partner with ministries and organizations in the city.
Upper School students can take all that they have learned about faith and service and apply it to work in countries outside the United States, including Rwanda, India, Uganda, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, and Russia. By the time they graduate, about three-fourths of SFC students have participated in one or more of these trips. “God showed me a new perspective of the world,” SFC alumnus Nicolina Duhs says. “Instead of seeing people’s attitudes reflect on their poor circumstances, I saw God’s immense amount of love shine through all of those I encountered.”
No matter the location, SFC students exhibit God’s love and learn to live out what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25.