University-Model® Schools International (UMSI) is a global family of Christian school communities pursuing a philosophy and system of education called the University-Model® (UM).
To strengthen Christian families and values by helping parents prepare college-worthy disciples of Jesus for the next generation.
To Build Dynamic University-Model® School Communities Worldwide.
UMSI exists to help parents and others start University-Model® schools in their communities, while supporting existing UM schools with training, resources, onsite visits, school certification, and consultant services for accreditation.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is the Biblical mandate for parents to educate their children.
“Impress them (God’s commandments) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
This verse shows that parents, not the state, are primarily responsible for the academic, moral, and spiritual education of their children. Parents can delegate that responsibility to different agencies to help them get the job done, but the ultimate responsibility for the children’s education belongs to the parents.
Deuteronomy 6 also suggests that educating our children should naturally arise out of the normal ebb and flow of a day: when we sit at home, when we lie down, when we get up, and so on. It is not formal; it is natural. Parents, in a sense, are always teaching, always modeling, and always explaining things while their children are with them at home. When the UM school partners with parents and parents supervise their children’s education at home on satellite days, the University-Model® school affirms this Biblical mandate.
In recent years, discussions about “worldviews” have become prominent in Christian educational circles. Today many high schools and colleges offer some form of worldview instruction.
The work of Francis Schaeffer (Trilogy), Harry Blamires (The Christian Mind), and Focus on the Family (The Truth Project) are a few of the more important contributions to this discussion. Recent works include James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom.
On an intellectual level, a worldview is a way of thinking or perceiving the world. It has been defined as a lens, a framework, or a set of presuppositions about basic questions of reality—Is there a God? What is the nature of the universe? Who is man?—and so on. Worldviews can be personal (the unconscious heart assumptions that guide our daily choices and actions) or formal (theistic, humanistic, naturalistic, and so on). They permeate every sphere of public and private life: art, music, media and entertainment, government, business, the family, our educational institutions, and even the church.
As Western civilization has abandoned its theistic foundations in reason and revelation, a host of humanistic worldviews have filled the void, and the results have been catastrophic. When man sins and separates himself from God, he loses the good of reason—his thinking becomes “futile,” his heart is “darkened,” and his mind becomes “depraved” (Romans 1). With his heart and mind no longer valuing or beholding Truth, his way of seeing and understanding the fundamental issues of life—his worldview—becomes distorted, no longer providing him with an accurate picture of reality. As a result, many people today cannot even recognize, much less solve, the serious social, political, and cultural problems that confront the nation and the world.
A Christian worldview, however, is much more than an intellectual stance, a perspective on the world, a body of knowledge or ideas; it involves the whole person—body, soul, and spirit. With it, thinking is wedded to being, information is connected to action, and worldview instruction addresses not only what one knows but also what one loves or ought to love (See James Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 18). A Christian worldview requires not just new information, but a complete transformation of the mind and heart—a new person.
As individuals come to know Christ, they become aligned with the truth and the exciting process of the renewing of their hearts and minds begins. Followers of Christ no longer take their views of the world from those who frame it falsely. They refuse to “walk in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1) or be “taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophy” because these rely on “human traditions and the principles of this world” (Colossians 2), rather than on Christ. Instead, they are to put on the “mind of Christ,” recognizing that a Biblical worldview is not only a comprehensive truth system that speaks to every area of life, but also one which involves an ongoing heart transformation that leads to righteous behavior and Kingdom actions, the “good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Students in University-Model® schools must recover and then learn how to think and “be” according to a Biblical worldview framework anchored in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Truth, and God’s Word. Students must not only discern the faulty worldviews in contemporary culture, but also be able to defend courageously and champion boldly Kingdom ways of “thinking” and “being” in the competitive and often combative secular marketplace of ideas.
In 1992, a group of Christian parents felt caught between two of their deepest passions...
On one hand, they yearned to meet the spiritual needs of their sons and daughters. On the other, they aspired to provide for their children’s academic development. The older their children grew, the more dismayed these parents became because the requirements of one passion inherently worked against the practical outworking of the other.
To train their children spiritually, the parents needed consistent and meaningful time with them. To provide for their children academically, they needed a good school. The children’s attendance in school, however, drastically reduced their family time together, while it dramatically increased the students’ exposure to negative competing influences. These influences stood in direct conflict with the very values the parents were so passionate to impart.
The parents knew that there must be a way to bring the twin passions together as partners instead of adversaries—a way that would blend into one balanced system the best attributes of home with the best attributes of the traditional Christian classroom.
The result of their prayers and efforts is what we know today as the University-Model® (UM), a new paradigm in Christian K-12 education and discipleship. The first school, Grace Preparatory Academy (GPA) in Arlington, Texas, opened in 1993. Almost immediately, parents saw positive results in student academic achievement and character development. Both were the direct result of the model’s systematic and mandatory partnership with parents.
Word of mouth about the model’s logic and effectiveness spread rapidly. By 2002, eleven more schools had opened under the tutelage of Grace Prep. Remarkably, these were in various parts of the country—Georgia, California, Ohio, and elsewhere. That same year, the GPA board organized the National Association of University-Model® Schools to provide continuing support for those existing schools and to promote the development of new University-Model® schools. In 2005, NAUMS, Inc. was formally and separately established to serve as the permanent centerpiece of the University-Model® Christian discipleship movement. By 2013, NAUMS had grown to seventy-one schools in nineteen states, including one in mainland China. By 2016, the number of schools expanded beyond eighty. In 2017, the NAUMS, Inc. Board of Trustees approved the “DBA” University-Model® Schools International (UMSI), dedicated to the mission to “build dynamic University-Model® school communities worldwide.”
Today, the ongoing growth of the University-Model® movement is best summarized with two phrases that capture the essence of innumerable testimonies and experiences shared all over the United States. This remarkable growth has occurred because of word of mouth and the call of God.