About this blog

Dan Beerens Hi and welcome to this blog! I am Dan Beerens, author and editor for this blog. I worked for Christian School International from 2006 to 2010 and continue to provide them consulting services. I also do independent consulting for schools – for more info see my website:www.danbeerens.com.The purpose of this blog is to: focus on the faith nurture of youth (school age through college), to connect people and resources, and to have conversations and share ideas around how to best nurture faith in youth at school, church, home, and life. As content manager for this blog and as a representative of CSI, I reserve the right to remove any comments to blog posts that may be judged as inappropriate for the potential readers of this blog.If you are ready to begin reading the blog, please click on the links under “Recent Posts” above.

18 responses to “About this blog

  1. I am a new principal at Vernon Christian School in Vernon, BC and I am very interested nuturing faith in my school. Looking forward to being a part of these discussions.

  2. Darren Spyksma

    I also am looking forward to this conversation. What I am interested in is whether a community standards policy helps in the middle or high school level to help focus and possibly measure or be used as a guide in aiding spiritual development. Is there anyone who uses a community standards policy in their school? Is it effective or does it get in the way of compassion and grace, turning spirituality into a more “pharisee-like” (sorry for the new vocab :) entity?

  3. I am very eager to be a part of this dialogue. The teachesrs at NOrthern Michigan Chrsitian School have been working on the measurement component. We can perhaps measure the Christain perspectives that we have taught, but of course that is not a measure of a student’s relatinship with Jesus Christ. I am intrested in discussions about how we should share Christain perpsctive measurements with paarents.

    Marilyn Visser

  4. Sarah Terpstra

    I am a first year teacher at Immanuel Christian School in Prince Edward Island. One way I am encouraging my junior high students to nurture their faith is by keeping “Where have I seen God today?” journals. This practice encourages them to look beyond the curriculum worksheets and head work to a heart practice. I’ve noticed that simply being excited about my own faith (prayer life, something I’ve read recently or somewhere I’ve seen God work) is also key in modeling what Christianity looks like. I look forward to being a part of the discussion.

    • Hi Sarah, I noticed that you are from PEI. We have had a cottage on the North Shore for the last twenty years near Shaw’s Hotel. We live in Delaware and I am presently the head of school at a Christian school near Baltimore, Maryland. I have been involved in C.E. for the last thirty years. The next time we’re on the island we should have “a coffee.”
      In Christ,
      Steve Taylor

  5. Kevin Visscher

    Hi everyone! Great topic for discussion! I am a new principal at Duncan Christian School and we have started re-working our Mission and Vision statements to better guide our strategic planning process which we started last spring. How do you create a vision statement that gets everyone excited to be a part of? I dream for a vision that can be articulated in a few words, or statements, perhaps an image or metaphor, something that grabs people’s attention and becomes contagious in the community.

  6. As a representative for CSI, I have given several “From Mission to Measurement” inservices in schools, based on Dan Vander Ark’s book. Dan’s book is an excellent resource for anyone looking at reworking their vision/mission statement or for those who are looking to better implement that mission statement into the every day life of their school. The book is a thorough guide from the process of creating a vision and mission statement to assessing their impact on students, staff, and community. In addition, while doing some post-graduate work, I had to put together an assessment piece for mission statements. I would be happy to provide that to anyone who might find it useful. (note from Dan Beerens – Deb is willing to share this via the Member Community Center which we are working on getting up and running in the near future.)

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Some responses back:

    Terry – Thanks for the interest! Much more coming soon as we get going – stay tuned!

    Darren- could you elaborate a little more on what you mean by community standards? Is this another name for your discipline code?

    Marilyn – I think that you guys have been leading the way with the things that you have been thinking about and working on! Thanks for your work. I too am keenly interested in identifying the best ways we can have conversations around student faith nurture. Does anyone focus primarily on this during parent teacher conferences or involve others, such as key people this student connects to at church?

    Sarah- the journals are a great idea! I especially like the question – “Where have you seen God today” – we have discussed this regularly with our family – it really tunes your heart and eyes to praise God, respond to needs, see how the Spirit is leading and guiding – I could go on and on! It is similar to what I have prayed while biking – “Lord, show me your glory so I may praise you more” – inevitably something jumps out at me that makes me realize in new ways God’s awesomeness! (By the way I think we should reserve the use of this word for God only – as He alone is worthy of this type of superlative!) Just wondering, what happens with your student’s entries – are they entirely private, do you read them, or do they share them with parents or others?

    Kevin – great questions – there will be many resources on mission and vision available soon in the Member Community Center when we get it going in the next few weeks. There are also some good comments from two of my friends that appear after my original post. If you need some things immediately please feel free to call me and I can send you some things or discuss the topic further.

  8. Sarah Terpstra

    Dan- My students “Where have I seen God today?” journals are their own private thoughts and I do not read them. I usually play a hymn or worship music while they write. I just finished an amazing PACS unit on Pilgrim’s Progress in our Bible class and am going back to CSI’s “God’s Unfolding Plan”. It’s hard to go from Christian fighting the fiend Apollyon to Og the King of Bashon and Amalakites. It doesn’t seem to connect to my students as well. Any ideas on sprucing up OT curriculum?

  9. His kjust wanted to take a second to add my 2 cents. I was googling faith statements as I was having a hard time putting into words how I feel about God and why I choose to believe in God and ‘attempt” to live according to His desire for me. I clicked on this blog and well here it is in a nut shell – because of people like all of you out there that care enough to care. I grew up as a Sunday Chatolic and fell off around my mid teens — it took a long time for God to call me back and for me to listen but thanks to someone liek each of you that worked in Christen Disciplship I am here today living for Christ — Thanks for caring—signed a renewed beliver

  10. Hello

    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  11. Dr Robert M. Herschell

    Great Site!

    Christian Greetings from the Sunshine State (Queensland) in the ‘Land Down Under’ – Australia.

    I am Dean, School of Education and Humanities at Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia (see: http://www.chc.edu.au ) and am on study leave to complete a project currently titled: “Heart Matters: Learning by Heart is not Heart Learning”. I’ve have just returned to Australia after a significant visit to Christian Scholars in the USA, Canada and Hong Kong. These conversations are currently being prepared as verbatim transcripts that will be personally analysed as well as by NVivo and Leximancer software.

    An underpinning metaphorical question to this work is that asked by Tertullian (Early Church Father) in the second century: “What has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertullian )

    The project is in its initial scoping stages and further details will be shared at a later date.

    Kindest regards and praying for you.

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  14. Ken VanMinnen

    Great thoughts with Part 4 on the Cardus research Dan! I would love to chat more about this in person. Let me know when you’ll be in SW Ontario next…or maybe we’ll have to get Mexican food in Iowa again :). God bless!

  15. Ellen VanTongeren

    Dear friends in Christ,
    I’m the coordinator for Spiritual Life at Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill (www.trinityschoolnc.org) and serving as a co-chair for a strategic planning task force on spiritual formation. We are charged with preparing a vision statement on spiritual formation for our school (K-12). Does anyone have a sample statement of a vision for Spiritual Formation for a Christian school that they could share and/or a list of helpful resources for the committee members to read as they prepare this vision statement? Thank you for your recommendations!

  16. You quote James Smith in your article on spiritual disciplines and formation:
    Christian formation is a conversion of the imagination effected by the Spirit, who recruits our most fundamental desires by a kind of narrative enchantment— by inviting us narrative animals into a story that seeps into our bones and becomes the orienting background of our being-in-the-world.”

    In the same sentence he speaks of “Christian formation” in “narrative Animals.” In a previous book, Smith speaks of the “human animal.” The more he uses the term “animal” with descriptive terms such as “human” and “narrative” the more our and our children’s “formation” will be to see ourselves as developing animals rather than God’s image-bearers.

    • Dan,

      I also found myself uncomfortable with his language choice, while agreeing with the larger concept that he was advancing. I would like to get Smith’s response to your concern if possible. If you see him and ask him about it, please comment back to this post!

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