On the bulletin board at the back of my classroom, directly in my line of sight when I am teaching, I have my overarching goal for my teaching posted (designed and put together by my wife): "Our class can answer 'Yes' to "Is Christianity good, true, and beautiful?'"
By this statement I mean:
Good: As my students learn the story of Christianity, my prayer is that it sinks into their hearts in such a way that they say, "This feels right and true to me. This makes sense of my longings and desires. I hope that this is true."
True: When students examine the story of Christianity, they can see there are good reasons to believe it is true and that it logically holds together as a coherent worldview. While their hearts want it to be true, their minds know it is true.
Beautiful: I want my students to delight in the Christian story, center their lives around it, and throw their whole beings into following Jesus.
Of course, fulfilling that goal is a lifelong and community endeavor. I can't check it off my to-do list after one year in my classroom. It is formation that happens with teachers, families, churches, friends, and pastors. But it serves as a guide of what I am taking part in. I want a year in my Bible class to be a formative experience for my students that contributes to them seeing Christianity as good, true, and beautiful.
As I have engaged with my students and with the curriculum, there are two big ideas I am walking them through that I think will aid them on their journey with Jesus.
The Bible is not the story of incredible heroes to emulate. Even the best had serious flaws. The Bible is the story of a patient God who is committed to healing His creation through relationships with people, despite their failings. In the same way, for my students, none of their failings put them too far from God to work with them. The saints of the Bible don't have moral perfection to emulate, but a trust in God despite their brokenness.
The story of our lives with God does not end with going to heaven to be with God when we die. There is far more. God will restore, renew, and remake this world and resurrect our bodies. Every tragedy, every loss, every piece of suffering will be healed as we live whole bodily lives. God is not giving up on the world He has made. We will live for ever in the world God made, free from sin, brokenness, and death. We will not merely live in heaven, but a world where heaven and earth are linked as God intended from the beginning.