Last week, I traveled out of town to visit a school that is part of a network of schools to which we belong. The purpose of my visit was to see their operation, to evaluate it according to a set of standards to which all member schools have agreed, and to make recommendations as to how they can improve their mission. I’ve done several of these visits, and every time I go it fills me with renewed appreciation, renewed gratefulness for what we have here at our school.
Now, God loves these other schools as much as He loves ours, and He is at work in mighty ways among them. I get great ideas every time I go. But, in our daily grind, our daily-ness of doing school and following our kids around as they engage in their various activities, I know I take for granted what an amazing learning community we have here. And, sometimes I just need the perspective that a couple of days watching someone else do school brings to what God has done here. For instance:
- Last week, our basketball coach, about 12 hours after his team had been eliminated from the playoffs, called our cross-town rivals, who beat us, and offered to come to their gym, letting our boys play scout team against them to help them get ready for their upcoming opponent.
- Last week, the full orchestra at Grace Community School performed- that was a rare performance of not just the strings, but the woodwinds, brass, and drums, as well. They did so in conjunction with the district fine arts competition, which the fine arts program swept. But, what was even better was watching a heart-pounding rendition of worship music that made one of the judges cry, as well as everyone else in the room.
- I had the opportunity to watch Susan Boylan lead her full choir in worship in the same competition. I closed my eyes, and it seemed as if the doors to Heaven had opened, and voices of the heavenly host were spilling into our auditorium. When they finished, I realized that I had stopped breathing about a minute before.
- I have seen this little germ of an idea called the Grace Single Parents Network grow from a little seedling just a few months ago to a full-blown ministry, providing a gateway for moms, dads, and kids within our school to provide real help to each other, just like Jesus calls us to do—toilets getting fixed, car trouble evaluated, even kids with dads out of the picture being mentored.
- Our debate team, which is about 45 minutes old, is already sending students to state competition, gifted kids being equipped by a gifted coach.
- As I ran the Fresh 15K this morning (I did about like you would expect an out-of-shape 46-year-old to do), I ran by our drum line as it performed for runners at the Rice Road Brookshire’s. What was almost as much fun was to watch several of my teachers running the race with several of our students, engaging their hearts and minds at another level, on a Saturday morning—their off day.
- This afternoon, I’m going to watch our soccer team host its home playoff game after winning its first district championship in years.
- I have been approached by several extremely talented teachers and administrators from around the country who have heard about our school, and who want to work here.
- As I’m helping to put together the 40th anniversary celebration at our school, we have more examples of alumni who are impacting the world for Christ where they work, live, and play, more volunteers who want to help us, more families who are striving to live out this “faithful presence” for Jesus in their workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. I’m genuinely having a hard time figuring out who will be featured in this program-an embarrassment of riches.
- I’m helping my child decide whether she will serve Jesus in Uganda this summer, or whether she will serve Him in New York. Because of this school, and because of teachers and administrators who love her, I’m rejoicing that, for her (at this moment ), serving Jesus is the cry of her heart.
Oh, yeah…all of this happened within the past 7 days.
We have been blessed with a great, great Christian school. All of us—you, me, your kid’s classmates’ families, our teachers, every single one of us—are being used by God to glorify Him and to be a counter-cultural, loving, faithful presence in this community. It takes every one of you. The rest of us need you as much as you need us. This is far more important than what teams our kids are on, or what grade they got on their math test, or whether they get along with all of their teachers all of the time. This is the big time.
We’re not consumers; we’re co-laborers. I am grateful that God, in His infinite wisdom and goodness, brought you here. Not primarily because of what we can give you, but because of what you bring to us as a community. We praise His Name better because of you, and this town is better because of us. That’s a reason to be grateful, isn’t it?