MCA Fundraising – Guess What?…You are Part of it

Your understanding and opinion about a matter is shaped by your perception of that matter.  For example, what is your take on the amount and quality of the change that has happened around MCA over the course of the last 6 months?  Think about that for a moment.  What are the factors that influence your perception?  Were you directly impacted by the changes?  Was a close friend influential on your perception who shared their joy or frustration over an impact on them?

So, what is your take on the changes we are making when it comes to fundraising for the school?  As I visit with people, I hear excitement, misunderstanding, hope, and disillusionment among several other emotions.  I would like to ask your indulgence for a moment to give you some background that may help all of us to work from the same understanding, and hopefully, the same emotion.

First of all, any work we do to encourage people to invest in our school starts with this:  God is the one who works in the heart to stir them up to give to his work.  Secondly, we know God works through people to accomplish his purposes.  Therefore, we are working our best to use our talents and time to create the best opportunities we have to allow as many people around the world to support MCA.

With that in mind, I have stated our goal is to narrow down our fundraising activities to 3-5 key mechanisms to allow people to give: Corporate Partners, Annual Auction, Benefit Concert and Serve-a-thon are going to be the 4 things we are going to do this year.   And guess what, all 4 are either significantly different from in the past or are brand new to MCA.   If the Lord chooses to use these mechanisms, then I want to eliminate all other fundraising activities that sell trash bags, cookies, magazines, ribbons, etc. and focus our energies on these key events.

Philosophically we are making a concerted effort to make these events focus on fundraising and then community building.  In the past they have been designed reversing those focuses.   Note that not everyone in our school is the target of each of these key events.   Not everyone is in a position to be a Corporate Partner – you don’t own a business.  Nor would everyone be able to attend the Annual Auction – you are not in a position financially to give a donation or attend and give additional funds to the school.  The Benefit Concert will have two showings, so everyone should be able to participate in that event.  Ditto with the Serve-a-thon.  The Serve-a-thon is so fundamentally aligned with our vision, I am hoping for 100% participation by parents and students.

Family, we need to raise a total of $250,000 in fundraising over the course of the year to allow all 430 students attend our school.  It is a God sized challenge.  Will you allow him to work through you?  Will you jump into the fray where God has enabled you and enthusiastically cheer those on who can give where you cannot?  All of us can pray.  Will you?

Hope of our Nation

In my last blog post, I wrote about the importance of the upcoming election on November 6th.   As important as the election is, the hope of our nation and our world will never come from politics, power, or programs. Hope ultimately comes from a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ – “Christ in us, the hope of glory” the Bible says.

Our world needs the hope only Christ brings. Maranatha Christian Academy exists to partner with you to raise young people who bring that hope. We are working alongside you to prepare our children in mind, spirit and body to be world changers for the Lord Jesus Christ. This preparation is specifically designed to enable them to revitalize their world. Revitalization is making our world a better place by introducing people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, by excelling in their occupations, and creatively finding new ways to use and conserve the resources we have.

At a recent board retreat, the Lord gave us these verses as a reminder of how we are to inculcate this “world changer” concept into our children at MCA: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2.

Transformed hearts and minds can change our world. At MCA, we will continue offering excellence in our academic arena, a biblical worldview in our curriculum, , and a rich character development program based on time-tested Christian principles to every child who walks through our doors.

Your investment and participation in our “Gala at the Lake” fundraiser auction event helps us to achieve our mission and the eternal goals stated above.

I thank God for each of you who have already impacted a child for eternity by purchasing a table or a ticket, gathering a donation from a company, or personally donating an item or service. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. If you haven’t invested yet, there is still time and we are grateful for the support. Please contact Jen Classen at 913-706-858 orjenclasssen@kccs.net for all information. See you November 1st at 6pm.

Presidential Elections and MCA

Last spring, I shared in the Open House that we want to partner with you and your church to create world-changing young people for our Lord that revitalize our world.  Well if we are going to do that, we must teach them out to engage the world and think critically about events.

If you have children in the elementary, you are probably aware of the engagement that Mrs. Burch and the teachers have done in using the presidential platforms to encourage students to think critically and use the biblical worldview.  I would encourage all parents to be doing the same thing with all their children.  If you need a tool to help you do that, check with your elementary student or contact the office, and we can give you the handout they created in the elementary.  I looked through it and benefitted from it as well.

Here is some input as you consider your election choices next month in relationship to MCA.

The Democratic Party Platform on Education (http://www.qnc.us/dems/Democratic-Platform-Summary-2012.pdf):

A + EDUCATION FOR ALL – HIGH QUALITY AND PUBLICLY FUNDED

The future of our children and our nation depends on high quality, affordable and accessible K-14 education.  Public education must be provided through adequate federal and state funding with only modest reliance on local property taxes.  Cuts in corporate welfare and wasteful defense spending will provide significant funds for our schools, colleges, and universities. Once available, this funding will allow class sizes to be generally limited to 30 students.  The following measures must be undertaken to assure high quality, affordable and accessible education for all our citizens:

  • Fully funded K-14 public education
  • Expanded financial assistance to public colleges and universities
  • Expanded federal college tuition support for private colleges and universities
  • Extensive parent participation programs
  • Widespread introduction of classes in healthy living and life style effectiveness
  • Expansion of pre-school, after school and extra-curricular activities
  • Creation of specialized learning academies within large high schools providing paid internship and apprenticeship programs
  • Ending the use of school test scores to determine funding levels, faculty and administrator compensation, and faculty and administrator retention
  • Curriculum additions designed to develop multiple intelligences including emotional, musical, artistic, kinesthetic and spatial

Children begin life full of inner motivation, self-esteem, dignity, cooperation, curiosity and joy in learning.  Over time the forces of destruction in our schools crush out these qualities. These forces include:

  • Forced distribution of grades
  • Gold stars
  • Competition
  • Rating
  • Ranking

 High achievement and joy in learning will result from the application of quality leadership principles within classroom and within school administrations.  David Langford, Lee Jenkins and W. Edwards Deming have shown us the way.

The Republican Party’s Platform on Education:

More money alone does not necessarily equal better performance. After years of trial and error, we know what does work, what has actually made a difference in student advancement, and what is powering education reform at the local level all across America: accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers; higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; periodic rigorous assessments on the fundamentals, especially math, science, reading, history, and geography; renewed focus on the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers, and an accurate account of American history that celebrates the birth of this great nation; transparency, so parents and the public can discover which schools best serve their pupils; flexibility and freedom to innovate, so schools can adapt to the special needs of their students and hold teachers and administrators responsible for student performance. We support the innovations in education reform occurring at the State level based upon proven results. Republican Governors have led in the effort to reform our country’s underperforming education system, and we applaud these advancements.  We advocate the policies and methods that have proven effective: building on the basics, especially STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and phonics; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, proper implementation of technology is a key factor in providing every child equal access and opportunity.

I ask you to consider your choices carefully as you read through these platforms in light of your ability to choose a Christian education that holds biblical beliefs that align with yours.  God is sovereign and there will be no surprises to him on election day.  He does choose to work through us to accomplish his purposes, so let’s be informed, involved and vote as we are led by God.

Lessons Learned in Nebraska

On Tuesday the 25th of September, I headed off for Nebraska on my Suzuki Burgman.  It was a beautiful ride, and I enjoyed singing along with one of my playlists of hymns.  I headed to Nebraska because the consultant I have been working with, Dan Krause from Grace Works Ministries, recommended a school that is doing many things well, Lincoln Christian School.  Since I was heading up there, I thought I would visit a couple other Christian schools to broaden my horizons: Lifegate School and Cornerstone Christian School in Omaha.

I was warmly welcomed by Mark Wilson, Superintendent and Secondary principal, and that continued the trend for the day.  So lesson number one: make sure everyone, yes everyone, on our staff and faculty are committed to and genuinely appreciate all visitors.  It really sets the tone for how people perceive us.  After attending his morning session with his faculty, I recognized that the challenges we face are common across schools: effective two-way communication with parents, technology advancement, coping with outliers in academics and behavior and managing expectations.  I spoke with their Development Director, Business Office Director, Elementary Principal, maintenance man, and several teachers.  I learned practical things that I will bring back and share with my team, but the most impactful moment God had for me was stated first by Mark Wilson and then repeated by the other Heads of Schools that I visited with.  Their wisdom was, “Be much in prayer.  You should set the tone for both spiritual growth and commitment to prayer.  Your staff needs to see and hear you as you pray and strive to be a disciple of God.”

As I have contemplated that, I had to ask forgiveness of my leadership team, and in turn now ask that of you.  I have not been as committed as I should have to prayer.  That is changing.  And as I make this commitment publicly, feel free to call me on it if you don’t see the fruit.  Additionally, I challenge you to be much in prayer for the school.  God is at work as I shared in my last post, and we need him to continue to work in the hearts of those who are able to bless the school financially.  We are off to a good start, but we are working on a very tight budget, so any abnormal costs will cause us to lean on God even more.  But as important as finances are, it is multiplied times more significant to pray for the hearts of our students.  We want young people who are locked into a biblical worldview, have the foundation of strong Christian character, rock-solid faith in God, and driven to excel in their profession to earn the right to be salt and light in a world that so desperately needs it.

That is not all I learned in Nebraska.  Nor do I have the space and time to share it all right now.  One important reminder: God has perfect timing.  At Cornerstone as I was leaving, the Head of School related a story about how God is directing them in expanding their school.  They have been adding a grade to their high school each year.  This year they added sophomores.  So they needed land to build their high school and consolidate the elementary operations.  They thought they had the right place of 18 acres near their present location.  God had other plans.  He shut the door on that property on February 3rd, and they delivered to them 40+ acres, 0.7 miles from their current location as mainly a donation from a local businessman.  The other reminder: God almost always chooses to work through people to accomplish his ends.  Praise God he chooses to work through you and me.