As San Diego’s leading private Christian school, Santa Fe Christian’s top priority is helping students establish a solid faith foundation. Through Christ-centered education, SFC teachers and staff equip students for the lifelong journey of faith that lies ahead.
For Upper School Bible teacher, Augustus Garcia, showing students the relevance of their faith in every aspect of their lives is his life’s passion. “Our growth process and faith in Christ are not compartmentalized to one area of our life. It is everything,” Garcia says.
What It Means to Grow in Faith
Every individual’s faith journey is unique, as Christ calls each person to Himself in different ways. But what does it truly mean to grow in faith?
For Joy Stephenson, Upper School Math and Bible teacher, it’s all about continuing to say “yes” to God every day. She acknowledges the importance of “trusting His plan over your own, knowing that He has a purpose behind that yes, and knowing that you don’t have to know everything ahead of time.”
It was Stephenson’s “yes” to God that ultimately brought her to teach at Santa Fe Christian. After graduating from Olivet Nazarene University, she planned to travel to Kenya and teach in an orphanage. But, when God closed that door and called her to California instead, she says she went “kicking and screaming.” A few years later, God opened the door for her to teach at SFC. “I didn’t know what would come out of my ‘yes,’” she says, “but what has come has been so beautiful, and I could not have written a better story myself.”
While our faith sometimes grows through significant trials and decisions, it can also grow through small, everyday acts of virtue. When teaching His disciples, Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that is planted in the ground. In doing so, he emphasizes how small and insignificant our part is, but as that seed of faith blossoms, it becomes the most important thing in our lives.
Garcia notes that this process is our sanctification — that even though we are “complete and whole in Him, that just begins the journey.” Ultimately, he says, “it’s the Holy Spirit working in us that is growing us to be conformed to His likeness.”
How Christ-Centered Education Forms a Solid Faith Foundation
Teachers at SFC share an eternal perspective with students – one that is rarely, if ever, present in secular classrooms. Garcia shares, “One of the beauties of Santa Fe is that you have Christian coaches; you have Christian artistic directors of programs, and it’s bringing them into this perspective that Christ is the center of all. It’s not ‘how to do mathematics Christianly,’ or ‘how to do science Christianly,’ or ‘how to do art Christianly.’ It’s ‘you are a Christian.’”
With a faith-centered approach, teachers can shine Christ’s light in practically every academic situation. Stephenson encourages her students to “have an attitude or thought process of surrendering all of themselves to God and Christ.” She goes on to say, “If I’m going to surrender all of myself to God, then I’m surrendering my hope and success in this sport, I’m surrendering this relationship I might be having with friends, I’m surrendering my habits, my routines.”
Garcia expounds upon this point, adding that the goal of Christ-centered education is “to inspire students to see the fact that Christ desires to be a part of their whole life.”
This holistic view of the faith encourages students to invite God into everything they learn and do. By adopting this perspective early on, they establish a firm faith foundation that will continue to guide them long after graduation.