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Cultivating a Christian Community

“Christian College would like to offer you the position of School Chaplain for 2017”.
When I read those words at the end of last year, I was so excited. I could feel that this new journey at Christian College was truly an opportunity that God had set before me. As Chaplain at the Middle School Highton Campus, I have been employed to work alongside the students, staff and families in this community, with a primary focus on providing pastoral care. ‘Pastoral care’ means being present, in order to see the needs of the school community. Visiting classes, attending sporting events and camps, building relationships with students, the occasional home visit, and providing spiritual growth through staff and classroom devotions, are all part of the role. It is about building the relationship and linking the lives of others to the love of Christ and what He has done for us through His life, death and resurrection.

As part of my pastoral care work within the school, I (alongside Chappy), assist in overseeing and facilitating various programs that build supportive relationships, recognise needs and celebrate wins. These positive relationships help young people face difficult issues and provide hope, connection, meaning and purpose. I am able to provide our young people the opportunity to connect with someone who they know is a safe person, and who will provide a listening ear, caring presence and a message of hope. I aim to build our College’s values of ‘Faith’, ‘Grace’, ‘Hope’, ‘Love’ and ‘Truth’ into each student throughout our College community. As part of the ‘Chaplaincy Mission’ here at Christian College, we aim to continually build and cultivate a Christian community and culture. This work is never finished until the Kingdom of God arrives, and it requires ongoing building and nurture.

Students will experience exposure to new challenges and new expectations will be placed on them. Each day we have the chance to guide, support, lead and shape, the behaviour and development of our young people at Christian College. We can use the opportunity of the Chaplaincy Program to nurture the emotional development of young people – giving them the tools to live productive and satisfying lives in an often complicated and stressful world. Forming one’s identity is considered to be a major psychological requirement of adolescence. Our students face many challenges as they strive to become young men and women. For those who are believers in Christ and strive to live Godly lives, the task remains formidable. As they struggle to form their identity, they do so in a culture that has become increasingly hostile towards God and His standards.

It is crucial students develop an accurate sense of self, allowing them to understand their individuality and gain a healthy perspective of their unique contribution to the world. We need to give students opportunities to communicate how they are feeling. This is fundamental to a child’s emotional development and they must also be given opportunities to manage their own emotions. Nurturing emotional development can help them become productive citizens, parents, employees, leaders, and more.

An individual’s emotional intelligence, or lack thereof, can have a huge impact on their school life, relationships, success and happiness. Emotional maturity creates the ability to: exercise self-awareness, manage our emotions, motivate ourselves and others, empathise with others and build and maintain meaningful relationships. In short, emotional development involves learning what feelings and emotions are, understanding how and why they happen, recognising one’s own feelings and those of others, and developing effective ways of managing them. As children grow and are exposed to different situations, their emotions also become more complex. Developing the skills for managing a range of emotions is therefore very important for their wellbeing. It is tempting at this point to say that the emotional development of our students is the sole responsibility of the teaching and education program at Christian College. That would be a very dangerous assumption. Yes, our College and the chaplains are aware and want to help. However, the emotional development of students and children always begins and finishes at home.

My personal vision for Christian College, is to have a positive impact on the young people and families of this fantastic community. I want to help the students discover their unique, God-given talents and personalities, as they aim to reach their full potential. It has been my passion for a long time to see young people become all they can be. To have this role, I feel, is an absolute blessing in my being able to share the journey that Middle School provides for these wonderful students.

Naomi Gibbons
Middle School – Highton Chaplain



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