(CEDAR PARK, Texas) — World Bible School announces the release of a short-form documentary detailing how their online, social media tool for spiritual growth, Mathetis, impacted the Christian education in a private Christian school in Valrico, Florida.
Foundation Christian Academy (FCA) was incorporated in 1992 and offers a Christian education for children grades K-12. In March 2020, amid a global pandemic, FCA was forced to transition solely to a remote-learning platform.
What the Students Said...
What the Staff Said...
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Jonathan Smith is the president of FCA as well as the principal of both the high school and middle school. When COVID-19 hit, changes were needed to adapt education for the physical and digital classroom. “We knew that there would be some delay academically. We expected that there would be increased emotional anxiety,” Smith said. “One of the things that we were concerned about is how we would deliver our Bible curriculum in a variety of circumstances. So, we needed all of our curriculum to be adaptable, scalable, flexible from the user side and from the teacher side. That was what I was most concerned about: the delivery of instruction, and how closely the curriculum was aligned to the Bible. Because that’s how we define our Bible classes. We don’t try to stray too far from [the Bible].”
FCA’s Dean of Student Affairs Donald Ballard had already begun thinking about this need and finding something to translate into the remote learning and in-person hybrid dynamic. “I’ve been a World Bible School teacher online for a number of years now,” Ballard said. “Mathetis was rolled out this summer, and I already began looking, just out of curiosity, at some of the courses and wondering how we would implement this at FCA. I presented it to the admin team and saw the consistency that we were looking to maintain, we’d be able to transition smoothly and not have any kind of interruption to our curriculum.”
The administration team and teachers appreciated the style of learning offered on Mathetis, but there was still the question as to how the students would accept it. “I feel like a lot of my past Bible classes have been focused on, the actual events in the Bible. It’s really useful to learn those, but I never really had a really strong foundation with my relationship in Christ and my identity in Christ,” 10th-grade student, Emily Voce said. “I feel like Mathetis, especially that first lesson, ‘Who is God,’ I think that it’s really helped my relationship with God, to focus on my relationship with God, and then filled with the events after that.”
“We’re looking at a generation who is raised on social media. They’re raised watching videos. They don’t use their imaginations as much,” FCA Guidance Counselor Janea Rydl said. “We’re taking that aspect of the life that they know and bringing it into biblical context. So, this was something that brought reality into some of those abstract topics like faith, and belief. It’s nice to have a video that we can start the conversation.”
Julio Colón, assistant principal, said he has been incorporating the curriculum into his Christian Worldview Class. “We’ve gone to ‘Wondering What to Believe,’” he said. “Specifically, the ones that we took some deeper dives into and look closer at were, ‘Who Wrote the Bible?’ ‘Can I trust the Bible?’ That gets into some pretty interesting conversations with students just because of the amount of misinformation that’s out there about scriptures, especially in places like YouTube and TikTok, and whatever. There’s a lot of stuff that they hear, they don’t know how to correctly process it. So, in my class, they can ask the questions, we can cover material, like what’s on Mathetis, that has to do with, ‘Can I actually believe this stuff?’ I mean, it’s an old book type of thing. It’s been wonderful to have this as a resource because one of the things that we believe here is giving the teachers the ability to teach. We trust them in the classroom.”
One of those teachers, Terry Reeves, teaches Bible at FCA and enjoyed the material and how it is presented in the Mathetis platform. “Your curriculum is very methodical in the introduction of the initial concepts and then leading you through the different stages of thought,” he said. “I just think it’s awesome how, as soon as we finish one, it just naturally leads you right into the next type of a topic that you’re going to be working on.”
Ballard detailed that there are over 100 middle school students and 50 high school students using Mathetis for Bible education. It has also gone beyond the classroom. “Parents were joining in on these Zoom calls,” Ballard said. “From the fourth quarter through the summer, we saw six students and some of their siblings — who were not students at the school, be baptized into Christ.”
“Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive,” Smith concluded. “It meets our standards to be a Christian school in more than name only. We want to provide the kids with a Christian learning environment, where we talk about God and we interact with each other in a biblical or scriptural way. We’re trying to prepare kids for not just life after high school, but life after life.”
Mathetis is a play on the Greek word used in the Bible for disciple, “mathétés (μαθητής).” The aim is to provide a social media experience for spiritual growth and build strong disciples of Jesus. “It lives out the name, it is about discipleship,” Ballard concluded. “This is not just Christian education. You’re making disciples. You’re helping to groom disciples. I believe that is inclusive of both first teaching — that leads one to becoming a disciple — but then it’s also equipping for second teaching and beyond.”
Mathetis is a tool of World Bible School. The documentary was produced by World Bible School and Hidden Bridge Media. You can start studying from the library of courses today at Mathetis.org or download the app in the App Store or Google Play Store.
Mathetis’ social platform, courses, and videos are made available to you at no cost thanks to our generous donors. Any new donation allows us to continue to improve our users’ experience on Mathetis, produce additional courses, and reach lost souls through digital advertising.
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