Earlier this month I had the fantastic privilege of attending the 7th Annual Christian Schools Canada Leadership Conference, this year in Victoria, BC working under the title “Imagining the Kingdom.” There were more than 200 delegates there from 5 provinces as well as several international guests. One might summarize the content of the conference with these two questions:
What is the spiritual and cultural context that Christian schools work in today as they look to shape young people to respond to their creator?
Christian schools work with students who are so much more than minds on sticks, ready to be filled with the right stuff. Student’s lives are full of habits and rituals that are acquired at the earliest of ages. Those habits and rituals are formed by what they are drawn to love, to desire, and to derive comfort and meaning from. Love is not turned off in people who fall into sin, instead we love the wrong things in the wrong way. That means that the competitors of Christian schools are not other education systems, but practices and habits that work in conflict against what should be our first love – Christ and the coming kingdom. Christian schools ought to be places that capture a student’s loves and longings in such a way that they feel the irresistible pull of the gospel toward being agents of the coming Kingdom.
What should Christian schools consider if they wish to remain relevant for the next generation?
-Figure what has to change, and what must never change.- Rick Warren
It takes steps of faith and a willingness to risk and be open to the Spirit’s prompting. It takes clarity of vision which comes from knowing the times and the best course of action to take. It takes patience and perseverance in the biggest and smallest of matters that keep the school in unending pursuit of its vision and mission. It thrives with a functioning, faithful community that works in prayer, grace, and energy to advance its plans and priorities in humble gratitude. It takes people whose work together is so much more than it ever could be on their own. It takes deliberate and timely periods of spiritual, emotional, and physical refreshment.
May we be always in pursuit of the Kingdom at LCES. SJ