Teaching Christian values and character is a serious work, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, with this practical guide and with the power of the Holy Spirit enabling you, it can be easy. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Don’t feel that you or your teaching plan must be perfect before you begin. The greatest journey begins with the first step. Take that step and see where God will take you and your students.


Spiritual Preparation
Wholesome Virtues
Virtues Become Values
Teaching the Students


Spiritual Preparation

Values, beliefs and character traits are most often caught not taught. To effectively teach spiritual values and virtues a teacher must live and model them before his/her students. This is why it is essential that the teacher must be first of all a vibrant, born again Christian Adventist. Teaching faith and character requires a union between the Holy Spirit and the consecrated teacher-witness.

The teacher’s spiritual preparation is essential to the success of Christian values education and the integration of faith and learning. If teachers are not right with God, if they don’t personally hold the values and beliefs fundamental to Adventist education they will limit and often prevent the student from adopting the values.

Students can easily discern when teachers are sincere about their faith. They can tell if the teacher feels strongly about it. Matters of faith are matters of the heart. They have an extra dimension that goes beyond knowledge and information. The Holy Spirit must be present and moving in the hearts of the teacher and students for genuine faith and character to develop. That is why the spiritual preparation of the teacher for the work of teaching Christian values is so essential.


The teacher plays a vital role in this process. If the child is taught to follow the character traits by authoritarian force, he will find it hard to internalize the guiding principles. If the teacher takes a permissive approach the child will develop an attitude of tolerance to wrong. (Ecclesiastes 8:11) A teacher cannot afford to equate tolerance to wrong with being kind or loving to the student. The child will soon loose respect for the teacher and find it difficult to develop moral excellence.

The teacher’s walk with God is essential to his/her witness and moral instruction. Students will not adopt virtues that are spoken, but not believed or practiced by the teacher. The truly converted teacher will be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish great things for the Lord in training children to have moral excellence.


Wholesome Virtues Are From God

Wholesome virtues and Christian character traits come from God. God tells us what is good and helps us understand why it is good. It is He Who gives us power to do right. (Ephesians 6:4)

David has said that the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart...they are more to be desired than gold. (Psalm 19) The prophet Micah puts it this way: “He (God) has shown thee, oh man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of thee....” (Micah 6:8) The Bible clearly gives the moral standards required for successful living. (1 Peter 1:16) It is God who defines the virtues. Without Him values would be subject to personal preference and private interpretation.


Virtues Become Values When They're Owned

Christian Values Education identifies what are God’s ideals and why they should be followed. But they become a value and a character trait only when they are fully adopted into our lives. When you teach the virtues and character traits they will help build a bank of moral knowledge for the students. But they will not be values until students accept them and act on them from their hearts, understanding their foundation in God’s word.

Values go deeper than behavior. Children can be taught to exhibit moral-like behavior from fear and force. They may do it only as long as the externals force them to perform that way. (2 Timothy 3:5) Christian values go to the motivation and reasons behind the behavior, training the child to freely choose to act right, for good reason. Man may only look on the outside, but God knows the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) The ideal is for the inner attitudes of the student’s heart to be trained to know and follow God’s way. This will effect behavior even when no one is watching or cares what he does. It is vital that the students see the Divine basis for each virtue as the reason for them to adopt it as a value for their lives.

But this cannot happen simply by good training and education although that is important. Even the best of Bible knowledge will not be sufficient. The students will need the saving grace of God in their lives to be changed. It is only through the Spirit of God and conversion that true character development can happen. It is vital that value education and faith be nurtured together so the student can successfully build character.
When you use this supplement to help students become what God wants them to be, it is vital that your efforts be placed in the context of faith. “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:1)


Teaching At The Student's Development Level

Children’s abilities to understand virtues and beliefs will vary according to their mental developmental level.

Primary Students: Primary children in the early grades may be only able to understand that the virtues are good and that this is the way God wants them to be. The emphasis at that level will be on knowing that virtues are right and what the Bible teaches.

Middle Grade Students: Middle grade students build on the knowledge they have learned about the virtues and beliefs on the primary level, and are able to understand them more fully and see them applied to life’s situations. They will participate in virtuous activities and demonstrate in their actions the virtues. They begin to do the virtues more deliberately and see the wisdom and blessing of their actions. They follow the examples of others and join in, when they see how. Middle grade students will understand better why the virtue is right and good and see the connection of their relationship with God.

High School Students: High school students will not only know the virtues and beliefs (primary level) and join in to do virtuous activities (middle level) but they will internalize the virtues and make them values in their lives by understanding the basis for them, seeing the alternatives and wisdom of their choices, prizing the virtues and affirming them publically. The students will initiate activities and lead others to join them in their right doing.