If you read the newspaper or watch the local news, or have just been paying attention around town, you’ve seen that there’s a Christian school called Promise Academy opening in North Tyler. The school is starting next year in the New Days Community Church site, and is beginning with kindergarten, adding a grade each year. And, if you’ve been watching those same media outlets, you’ve probably seen that Grace administrators and leadership have been helping that school get off the ground. You may have even asked yourself, “Why would Grace Community School leaders be helping another Christian school in North Tyler?” The answer is really one word: mission.
Christian education is really one of the great hopes for the world. Through it, students are taught to see all of life and all of learning through the eyes of God’s Word and His Truth. Whereas most of the time we are taught to view life in compartmentalized terms-that our faith applies to our relationships with others and with the Lord, and what we do in church on Sunday, it really doesn’t have anything to say about how we view politics, or literature, or movies, or science, or art, or even our work- Christian education, in its truest form, shows our kids that it all belongs to the Lord, that He has something to say about all of it, and that how we view and do all of it is an act of worship of Him.
As a result, our kids learn to live out their faith not only in how they do school, but also in how they live life. They learn how to be a faithful presence for Christ, bringing His truth and serving as agents of grace and love in their homes and communities. The communities in which they live are transformed into places that are nowhere close to perfect, not possible this side of Heaven, but where signposts of righteousness point to the way things ought to be and, someday, will be again. This is the hope of the Body of Christ, living and active, and this is what Christian education helps families provide in the lives of kids and the communities in which they live.
It ought not be only for families within the Body of Christ in a certain income bracket. Every parent who loves Jesus and who desires this kind of Christ-focused education for his or her child ought to have access to it. It’s not a luxury item, like a Bentley or a third home. It’s a need, when God calls families to it. And, our gracious, generous, loving God says, “I will provide all of your need according to my riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19).
Which is why we have financial aid at Grace. Financial aid is awesome, allowing a much greater cross-spectrum of the Body of Christ to attend our school. I love that about this place. But, it doesn’t cover the entire spectrum of the Body. It can’t. To cover the whole spectrum, one has to start over and change the financial model. That’s what Promise Academy is all about. Accessible Christian education located in the community to whom it ministers. So that, as is good in all elementary schools, parents can be at the school, get their kids there quickly, and be fully engaged in the life of the school.
So, Grace will come alongside this young school as a sister school. Not to be a partner or take it over or run it, not so that it will be “Grace North,” or something we can point to and say is ours or “look what we’ve done.” We’re going to learn as much or more from our sister school relationship with Promise as it will from us. But, hopefully, we can bring 41 years of how to do Christian school to bear on that school, when they need it or want it, providing some advice and counsel, and getting some in return.
I am a GCS person. If you cut me, I bleed Cougar blue. I am passionate for this school, for this ministry, for it to thrive. But, at the end of the day, we’re all better served being Kingdom of God people first and foremost. It’s all about mission, and love, and Jesus.