Pastor Rick Warren is the author of one of my favorite books called, A Purpose Driven Life. He uses the acronym SHAPE to explain how God equips us for the tasks he has set before us in this life.
Pastor Warren contends that God never gives us an assignment we are not ready for. Good teachers try and emulate this idea all of the time. Sometimes an assignment is easy! Homework can also be challenging, can stretch our abilities, and can be difficult. Homework or assignments should be within the scope of what we are able to do with hard work, study and dedication.
I believe Pastor Warren is on to something. I also think CCLS is a place where SHAPE is … well… shaping the lives of our students, staff and families each and every week.
Each of our children (like all Christians everywhere) at Christ Community have Spiritual Gifts from their Father in heaven. One of our implicit goals here is to help children identify them. We also encourage students to find their voice and share those gifts. According to the Apostle Paul, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” The key is we are all different, as are our spiritual gifts, yet we receive these gifts to build up the body of Christ.
Pastor Warren talks about Heart as where our desires, passions, dreams and ambitions lie. These heart matters are often what drive and motivate us. They give us wings and help us soar and explore. Once again, each of us is different. Just as our students all have unique footprints and their hearts lead them in special ways.
The Apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” Our Abilities are diverse. Our students’ abilities in so many areas are a wonder to all of us. Will they earn a living some day? Certainly! As a school, we also want children to see how their ability can be used positively in the Kingdom of God. They have the opportunity to grow up and use these gifts in service to others and to our Lord. Our country and the world desperately need Christian business people and civic leaders. Wherever they are led, our students will use those abiities in a God pleasing way.
Being who you are is important. As each of us grows, our Personality emerges. We are happiest when we are true to who we are. Sure we change and mature, but ultimately most parents can say they have seen consistent personality traits in their children all their life. Parents often say, “He was like that as a little child.” These personality traits are from God. At CCLS, we work hard to value each child as an individual, seeing in them the strength of character God has placed in him or her. God uses all personality types! There is not one Biblical personality type that is lifted above another. God uses those who are precise (Luke) and cautious and those who are bold (Peter) and adventurous. God uses the quiet (Moses) and the loquacious (Paul).
It is in Experience, I believe that Christian schools may best serve Warren’s model. At CCLS, students get to know and share their faith on a daily basis. Every year, students come to CCLS from public schools. I often ask them how often they prayed before a meal at their old school. I have never had one student tell me that they ever prayed at public school. At CCLS, faith life is not just respected, it’s lifted up and honored. Students experience everything through the prism of the Gospel.
- Academics? Prepared for high school? Absolutely! The Valedictorian at W-M High School last year was a CCLS graduate! But our students also leave having learned through their experience that learning is a life long pursuit that never ends. Learning is about a lot more than grades, its knowledge that will provide us with the tools for the next step.
- Discipline issues? These are seen as opportunities to seek forgiveness, absolution and grow as a Christian.
- Athletics? Not an opportunity to put down an opponent or use offensive language during the heat of the game. No, instead we try and pray together with our opponents prior to every game. Our students lead the prayers.
- Technology? A great tool used to expand our understanding and appreciation of good things.
- Sharing the faith? Does a pastor, teacher or the principal lead Chapel? Sure! But the kids themselves often lead chapel too! They pray together and worship together daily and weekly.
Over time, the faith formation experience begins to strengthen in students. We see it every year with our 8th grade classes. They leave here experienced in Christian relationships, stronger in their faith, assured that they are redeemed children of God, ready for new challenges. Their experience here has helped shape that.
SHAPE, in a word, says so much about our Christian faith walk and about our school. I hope you see as much good in what happens at CCLS every day as I do! Serving as the principal here is a great honor and privilege.
As our school makes decisions about how we change and continue to provide the highest quality Christian education possible, I hope that you see what we are about and your passion and heart for this ministry will grow!
Serving Jesus with Passion,
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