Unity in Diversity

School Culture

In one of our previous posts, Apostleship: The New Shift in Ministry Leadership, we highlighted how denominationalism focuses on agreement and apostleship prioritizes relationship. In this post, we’d like to touch on the idea of diversity as one the fruits of apostleship and how to create opportunities for it in a school environment.

There are many topics, themes, and core values to cover in a school year and it can seem like there is more material to teach than there are days in school. While it is important to teach your students content that will develop and strengthen them in truth and the core values your school is called to “shout,” it is equally important to teach them how to think. This is where apostleship comes in; your students need to know that they are rooted and secure in love, not knowledge.

Students need the space and permission to explore and internalize what they are being taught, versus memorizing information. Teaching students how to think and process information, revelations, and encounters empowers them to grow in their faith as they go deeper in their relationship with God. Their relationship with God and with the leaders of your school is not based on understanding new information “perfectly,” rather it is built on connection and trust.

A common phrase at BSSM is, “eat the meat and spit out the bones,” which means take the truth and significance of a message and do not get caught up in the smaller differences. Another important component of apostleship is finding common ground in the midst of differences.The body of Christ is beautifully diverse! For example, your staff may have different ideas and understandings of how to apply a certain scripture, but instead of creating tension and disagreements, the diverse perspectives could lead to a greater revelation. It’s important for students to develop the ability to find commonalities and mutual understanding in different messages by eating the meat and throwing out the bones.

Because of this, it is beneficial to expose your students to ideas and messages that differ from what they will hear from you. Hear us out, we are not saying to introduce messages that oppose or contradict the foundations of our faith. However, at BSSM we have experienced the fruit  of bringing in guest speakers and reading books by authors who may communicate differently, or have different perspectives about a topic than we do at Bethel. For example, in one school year, BSSM students heard from Benny Hinn, Brian Houston, and Ed Silvoso. These three men have very different ministries, communicate different messages, and all added tremendous value to the BSSM environment when they spoke and taught.

Below, we share some ideas and guidelines to help your school determine how to bring in additional influence to your environment whether that is through guest speakers, video curriculum, or books. We pray that this post will bless you and encourage you to continue growing in apostleship and teaching your students how to think from a position of love and relationship.

Inviting Other Voices In

When deciding who to bring into your school environment to help shape your students, the top priority is relationship. If you have a friendship or connection with a specific person who is a part of a different stream or denomination, feel free to ask them to come and speak and/or minister to your students. Determine if you’d like the speaker to teach on a particular topic or if you are willing to give them permission to choose what they will share.

At BSSM, students are activated in healing ministry throughout the year and receive instruction and impartation from a variety of Bethel and BSSM staff. However, each year students receive from Randy Clark, a close friend of Bill Johnson, who leads a week-long healing school in Redding. Each day students hear testimonies from Randy’s travels all over the world and receive directly from the unique anointing on his life. In addition to this, Randy shares his message, “The Agony of Defeat,” which explains how to process and navigate your heart and relationship with the Lord when you do not see or experience the breakthrough you were praying for. By bringing in Randy Clark, BSSM students are able to receive a more holistic view of healing ministry and receive from someone who has had different experiences outside of the Bethel environment.

If you do not have a personal relationship with someone outside of your environment consider utilizing curriculum, podcasts or books from ministries that you trust. Take advantage of homework opportunities and have students compare messages on the same topic from different outlets in a paper. Again, we are not suggesting that you bring in outside influences that you are not familiar with. If you are not aware of ministries or speakers that differ from your environment, let this be an encouragement to you to start your own learning process!

Potential Student Reactions and Responses

There may be a range of reactions and responses from your students when they hear a message that feels different from what they are used to. We encourage you to see this as a pastoral opportunity, a chance to encourage students in their process and build trust with them.

Some common reactions include confusion, offense, and greater revelation.

For students who experience confusion and offense, it’s important to provide space for them to process the message and their reaction to it. Homework assignments are a great opportunity to check in with how students are processing information. Provide a few questions as a prompt to help guide their responses. Your students do not want to stay stuck in confusion and/or offense and once they are given permission to process, many will be able to resolve their questions.

Remember, Holy Spirit is guiding your students into greater understanding and their answers may surprise you! Hearing a new or unique perspective on a topic can bring fresh grace, hope, and anointing. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, we are all a part of one body and are called to have value and appreciation for the contributions our unique gift mixes bring to the table. Your students will honor and value who they see you honor and value. When your students receive from leaders and speakers you trust, it helps them see God and the kingdom more clearly.

Want to know more about apostleship? Take a look at the Moving From Denominationalism to Apostleship and Apostolic Authority Versus Denominationalism Authority courses on BSSM Equip!

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