Leaving my position as a full-time vocational pastor was not easy. I was, after all, 40 years old, and serving as a pastor was all that I had known. Nevertheless, I had an unquenchable desire to serve as part of the leadership team at Christ’s Legacy Academy.
Once the announcement was made, I expected to get many calls, and I did. What I did not expect was the kind of calls I received. I expected people to wish me well. I even expected to be congratulated. What I did not expect to receive were calls of grave concern. “Brother, is everything O.K?,” was the typical question.
I did not understand the questions until one person finally said what evidently others were thinking. After a moment of pleasantries, the man listened as I talked about this exciting new ministry that God had had placed before me. He remained patient as I explained how God had called me to this and how deep the passion for this ministry runs. Finally, when it was his moment to speak, he said, “That is good. Maybe after a little time has gone by, you will be able to get back into ministry again.”
I confess that I was beyond angry. Yet soon my anger turned to sadness, for I understood that not only did this man have a woefully inadequate view of ministry, but he also had fundamentally misunderstood the mission of the school and its vital place in this region.
You see when he heard the word school, he thought of the impartation of facts. He thought of the process of imparting information. What he missed is that CLA is not about merely imparting information; rather, we exist to call people to a vision of life, a vision of life that takes seriously the New Testament claim that Jesus is Lord.
If Jesus is indeed Lord, then everything falls under his Lordship. This radically changes the goal and the motivation for education. If Jesus is Lord, then math is not just the teaching of how numbers work. Instead, it is the investigation of how Christ holds the world together with a sense of order and predictability, equipping us for life. Moreover, understanding normal and expected patterns deepens our appreciation for those times when God interrupts those patterns through miracles. If Jesus is Lord, science is not a cool dissemination of fact. Instead, it is the thrilling investigation of creation that ends in worship of the Creator. If Jesus is Lord, English is more than memorizing rules of usage and syntax. Instead it is the systematic learning of how to use the gift of language to most effectively communicate with God and man. Isn’t it amazing that we have a God so committed to revealing Himself, His will, and His ways that He created such a thing as language to make that happen? Isn’t it a wonderful gift to be able to communicate the deepest of emotions, emotions such as true love, in ways people can receive that communication? If Jesus is Lord, the literature is not just reading stories. Rather it is joining the great conversations of the ages with some of the greatest minds.
Yes, we are committed to teaching the subjects, but we teach the subjects under the banner of the Lordship of Christ, which infuses the subjects with meaning and purpose. In short, we are committed to imparting the next generation a biblical worldview the provides a clear vision of life.
To steal an image from the great reformer John Calvin, a biblical worldview functions like spectacles to the seeing impaired person. I am a seeing impaired person. As a fifth grader, my world existed in blobs and blurbs. People did not look like people; they looked like moving blobs moving. The lines on the chalk board ran together and formed an incoherent mess. From a distance flowers looked like indistinct blobs of colors.
The problem was I did not know any other way to see, for that was all that I had known. Then one day, a teacher noticed how often I squinted. She noticed how I seemed to strain to see. So she recommended to my parents that I have my eyes checked, and we did.
Little did I know that this one trip to the optometrist would open up a whole new world for me. Once I received my new glasses, I received a new vision of the world. I saw with clarity. I could appreciate beauty. I was finally ready to engage the world and learn. It was a new day, and thanks to new vision, I had a new life.
In a real sense, that is what we want for the next generation. We want to train them in biblical ways of seeing the world that brings moral clarity, an appreciation for beauty, and equips to live courageously where God has placed them. At CLA we are doing more than teaching subjects. We are promoting a vision, a vision that will serve these students well for the rest of their days.