Prayers for the New School Year
It’s back-to-school season! This is a transition time and a very busy one. Our theme at Liberty Christian School this year is “Love Does” and we will be emphasizing Love in action with our students.
The Lord wants us to bring any challenges, nerves, fears, or anxiousness to Him. He invites us to talk to Him, to release our burdens, and receive His peace. We also should be approaching our Lord with praise and gratitude. Psalm 116:2 (NLT) encourages us to do that: “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
At the beginning of this school year—and throughout the rest of the year, too—pray these verses over your children, over yourself, and over LCS. He is listening and responding.
1. Praying for help with anxiety
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
Lord, I admit I feel anxious about this school year for so many reasons. I am trying so hard not to feel this way. Yet, here I am, caught up in an anxiety loop in my head. Lord, my fears fuel my anxiety. I know this and am so grateful I can honestly share my struggles with You. I want to leave my anxious thoughts with You. Please take them from me and don’t let me take them back. I will try. But, when I do, please give me Your peace instead.
2. Praying to be more like Jesus
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” — Luke 2:52
Lord, I don’t know what this year holds for my child. However, I pray that throughout the year my child grows in wisdom–not just in the subjects taught in school–but that my child would also grow in wisdom of who You are, what it means to be Your child, and how to walk in Your ways. I pray that my child grows in character as well as in biblical wisdom. I ask for healthy physical, mental, and emotional growth as well. However, above all else, I pray my child honors You in every relationship and with every choice. At the heart of my prayer, Lord, is that my child would grow to be more like Jesus in every way this year.
3. Praying for strength and courage
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6
Lord, thank you for these words that you gave Moses to speak to the Israelites before they crossed over into the Promised Land. Back then and still today, these words remind us that You will go with us and never leave us. This year I pray that my child grabs hold of this truth at the start of each day. Some days will be harder than others as my child navigates friendships, challenging school assignments, projects and tests, teachers’ expectations, extracurricular activities, and the long days away from home. On some days, it will feel difficult to walk into the school building. On some days, my child will want to stay at home and in bed instead. On those days, especially, please remind my child that Your presence gives them strength and courage.
4. Praying to be a positive example
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” — 1 Timothy 4:12
Father, I ask that you help my child understand that age doesn’t matter. You can work in and through a first-grader as easily as You can a 40-year-old. I know you placed my child in this school, in this classroom, with these teachers, and with these peers for a reason. I ask that You help my child reflect Jesus in the words my child speaks, how my child acts, and how my child treats others. And, Lord, help me to parent my child in a way that reflects Jesus, too.
5. Praying for rest
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30
Father, the world is so different than the one I grew up in not that long ago. I know my child carries burdens that I never even thought about. I ask that my child takes those burdens to you. I want my child to be yoked with You, to learn from You, to go where You lead. Lord, I want my child to receive rest that can only be found when we release all of those too-heavy burdens and leave them with You. And, Lord, when my child cannot find the words to express their struggles or even recognize them, please allow me to see and lead them to do just that.
6. Praying for submitting to God’s will
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." — Proverbs 3:5-6
Lord, I thank You for this child you entrusted to my care. I am in awe of Your creation. I know you bend down to hear my prayers for my child’s present and future. You know the hopes and dreams I carry for this child. I lift and release those hopes and dreams to You. Help me to fully trust the steps and milestones You will determine for my child this year. Even though I don’t always understand, I know in my heart your path is best. Help me to remember and fully surrender to Your will and be the parent my child needs me to be.
Transitioning into the Development & Marketing Coordinator position here at Liberty mid-year was quite a challenge. However, the Lord's grace remains faithfully evident through donations and the financial provision as last school year ended. Our auction raised over $105,000 and the 2018-2019 fiscal year Patriot Fund total exceeded our yearly goal. I'm forever thankful that His hands are in the middle of my work, and I give the honor to Whom it's due.
Our donors not only met our Patriot Fund goal but provided money for this year's Fund-a-Need project, a new phone system, which was installed over the summer break. We are so grateful for each and every donor who has sacrificially supported us financially, as well as those who sacrificially give their time.
Our fundraising events play a huge role in how we bridge our tuition income and operating expense gap. But our donors are not the only part of our community that can make a significant contribution.
Tammy Mattoon has served on the auction committee for several years now. Part of her volunteer position is to help facilitate the procurement of donated items. Tammy, each year, approaches several businesses to inquire about potential donations. After three years of only receiving baskets from Gesa Credit Union, 2019 was different. They donated a beautiful basket and sponsored the event!
Being my first Denim & Diamonds auction, the evening of April 27th was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I remember not necessarily knowing what to do as all the pieces we prepared were now in motion. I sat back, tried to take it all in, and made observations of potential improvements for years to come. After I introduced myself and closed the night, two gentlemen from the Gesa table pulled me aside and asked to speak with Jim and me. They began to tell us about how their company is passionate about schools, educators, and students and would like to partner with Liberty.
Flash forward to yesterday, August 15th, 2019. Gesa hosted co-branded debit card reception announcing the total awards for the participating school districts. Richland School District raised just over $43,000 and Kennewick $42,000 through Gesa's Affinity Card program. Mr. Cochran and I, along with a table of other staff and faculty representing Liberty, accepted a $2,000 award for the launch of our partnership with Gesa starting this fall. Soon, you will be able to request a co-branded debit card at any Gesa Credit Union branch. This card will not only create visual awareness for the community, but Gesa donates back to Liberty every time each card is used.
There will be more details to come, but for now, I am beyond thankful for every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, alumni, staff, and beyond whom choose to continually come together in unity with their individual giftings making Liberty what it is today. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.
Here's to braving new heights this 40th year!
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us" - Ephesians 3:20
UPDATE: The cards are now available at any of the 18 Gesa locations. It is absolutely free to switch your card.
Development & Marketing Coordinator
January 1 marked not only the start of the new year, but also two-and-one-half years of my service as Superintendent of LCS. As an educator, I have a couple “new year” opportunities annually- the beginning of the calendar year, and the beginning of the school year every August; I take advantage of each one to reflect on the past year, pray for wisdom from God, and set goals and direction for the future. I ask you to invest a few minutes of your time as I share some thoughts about Liberty Christian School as we look ahead into 2017.
I believe a key to the future success, sustainability, and excellence at Liberty lies in our ability to unite the mind and the heart of our students in their educational experience. In our efforts to train the minds of our children we must never forget the importance of community.
COM∙MU∙NI∙TY │ \kə-‘myü-nə-tē\ │ noun │ 1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common. (Oxford Dictionary)
Four realizations have come to the forefront concerning community as I have read and reflected on this definition, particularly through a blog I read by J. Warner Wallace (coldcasechristianity.com) and a video I watched by a professing atheist, Bart Campolo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IDoNAWOC5g), who in recent years rejected Christianity after being raised by a famous Christian evangelist father:
LCS is a FAMILIAL Community
I have been in Christian school education for over thirty years. I have been the head of three different Christian schools during that time, but I have also interacted with dozens of other schools- Christian, charter, public, magnet, etc. I have noted a distinct difference between the cultures in schools; it has to do with the sense of family they experience. Many communities and schools are united around a common interest, while the Christian schools I have been a part of are united by a common Father. It’s tempting to forget this and undervalue the sense of family we ought to experience as Christians. But this familial quality is a Christian distinctive.
That’s why I feel a great sense of responsibility as the Superintendent to have an administration, faculty, and staff who are servant leaders, able to teach academics and Christian worldview but also be paternal, maternal, and pastoral. I have seen many schools, even Christian schools, who appear more interested in the program than the people. I think we sometimes lean in this direction because we are a school and should not neglect academics and knowledge. But we should never forget this Christian distinctive that unifies us: we are the family of God, united as God’s children. We are to be more than teachers; we are to partner with you in parenting our students, uniting them in our Heavenly Father, and demonstrating the unique love of the Christian family.
LCS is a PURPOSEFUL Community
The success of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life should remind us how important it is for every person to answer the question, “Why am I here?” LCS must help our students answer this question for themselves (individually) and for the group (collectively). Are we here simply to go to school? Are we here simply to learn academics? Or sports? If these are the limits of our ambition, we will never have more than a group or a club membership mentality. Communities are driven by more transcendent goals. We must recognize the power of mission.
As our students are provided a Biblically-based education, marked by academic excellence, in a nurturing atmosphere, they must rally around the causes of God and enjoy the common sense of purpose experienced in Christian community; they must devote their lives to loving others and making the world a better place, impacting it for Christ. You see, families are united in mission and purpose. As the leader of our Christian school, I must constantly examine our activities and program to see if they reflect the mission of God. If an outside observer were watching our school, would they see anything distinguishing it uniquely from other schools? Would the love of God for one another and for the world around us be evident? We are to be more than teachers; we are to partner with you in parenting our students, uniting them in our Heavenly Father, and demonstrating the unique love of the Christian family.
LCS is a Community that needs to GROW
Families grow naturally. When two people marry and continue to love one another deeply, the consequence of this loving union typically results in offspring. Healthy, loving families grow. The Christian school movement across America is in decline; the factors are many, but that is not the purpose of this communication. At Liberty, we have plateaued in our enrollment over the past few years but we are preparing for growth. One of the keys is continuing to develop our familial community. Young people, in particular, are interested in family. At Liberty, we have the perfect opportunity to engage our students in thoughtful, familial Christian communities celebrating (and challenging) the life of the mind as they learn their academics.
We also have to get the word out about the LCS community. There is great power in missional community and the desire most people have to join and support such communities. At LCS, we have developed a healthy, loving family worthy of support. In fact, many of our core donors support Liberty because they remember the familial community LSC was for them or their children. We MUST continue to create a transformational community that our students and families will want to replicate (and support) when they are older. Spread the word about LCS to your friends and neighbors! We are to be more than teachers; we are to partner with you in parenting our students, uniting them in our Heavenly Father, and demonstrating the unique love of the Christian family.
LCS is a Community PARTNERSHIP
I would like to share a couple areas where I need your partnership in having a transformational community at LCS:
1) We have a continuing need for volunteer time to fully accomplish our mission of providing a well-rounded program for our children. Areas that come to mind are helping with clean up at our many school events, from major events like the Christmas Bazaar, Car Show, and Auction to other special events like the Veterans Day Assembly and Christmas Programs, to ongoing help with recesses, lunch, and all our sporting events (tickets, concessions, scoring, clock, etc.). If everyone pitches in a little, we can cover these areas- it’s a great way to give and it engages us in being a familial community.
2) We believe God has led us in the establishing of our Partnering with Parents Workshops to equip our parents with practical information and tools in the raising of our children. Workshops earlier this year included “Protecting Our Kids in a Technology Driven Society,” “College and Career Readiness,” and “Bully-Proofing our Kids.” We are excited that Thrivent Financial is sponsoring “Building Deeper Roots” on January 25 at 6pm, including a catered dinner and age-appropriate workshops for the whole family on household finances, stewardship and money smarts. Please mark your calendars and sign up at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/partnering-with-parents-financial-workshop-tickets-30359447926 to reserve spots for your family at this free workshop.
I will confess, I often feel impatient in the slow growth of the school and the challenges of uniting all of us around this mighty mission of preparing our children for life and eternity. As the school leader, I am tempted to bury myself in the details of the program and swing on a pendulum of over-emphasizing the academic excellence we must grow and the spiritual formation we must cultivate. Our Christian school is to be built on BOTH. The key to growing our school lies in our dependency on God, our ability to unite the mind with the heart, and our willingness to be part of the community.
“And he (God) gave… shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…. when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16
Won’t you join me for a great 2017?
In His Service,
We are excited to announce
our fourth "Partnering with Parents" workshop of the 2016-2017 year! Building Deeper Roots: A Financial Workshop for the Entire Family will take place on Wednesday, January 25, from 6:00-7:30pm at Liberty Christian School in partnership with Sageland Financial Consultants/Thrivent Financial, who will provide a family dinner (catered by Castle Catering) followed by a workshop designed for the entire family with individual age specific sessions (ages 7+). Childcare will be provided for ages 4-6.
Click HERE to sign up for the next Partnering with Parents Workshop
For More Information Contact: Kris Dunham - Development Coordinator Liberty Christian School 509-946-0602 • firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a FREE workshop, but RSVP is appreciated for planning purposes by January 13, 2017