Think about the greatest generation. How many times did your grandparents move? How many times did they change churches? How long did their best friendships and neighbors last? Nowadays, Mom-and-Pop shops have given way to corporate America, which has created massive mobility. What percentage of our school families live away from their families? How easy is it, in our culture, to think “We are on our own”?
Yet, Jesus both makes and defines families for us. God generously designed humans to grow up in a loyal, caring, longstanding home with parents and siblings. Home is a place where you mess up a thousand times and are forgiven and loved, and through that you are taught to forgive and love. In different instances, Jesus defines families as greater than just our biological one. Like when Peter complains about how he sacrificed everything to follow Jesus (I can just hear him groaning). In Mark 10:29-31, Jesus responds (probably with a gentle laugh), Oh, Peter… “‘Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age— houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions— and to receive eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’”… (On a completely unrelated tangent, I cashed in on that verse when I went to Venezuela as a single missionary and returned home 8 years later with my amazing wife).
I deeply desire CBA to be a family. I hope you find mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters through our school. That is why we set up Adult Bible Studies and Spanish Classes, a soccer team and Friday night basketball for dads, parent-children soccer games, chats and coffees, and family field trips. You are not stuck in a world where your family is alone. This isolation says that everything outside of family should be handled like a transaction. If you like a product, give it 5 stars. If you like a church, attend there until you don’t like it anymore. It is almost like we wake up with a mindset that our loyalty restarts each day as we make new transactions and judge if we are still getting our money’s worth.
However, in a family, it is not about transactions or counting the costs. It is about working together and doing whatever it takes to share with each other, love each other and push each other to flourish. I see the school this way: the bigger our family grows, the greater the school will become where we share talents, wisdom, time, sweat, and generosity with each other. The more people embrace CBA as their family-run school, the more world-class our Academy will become.
Here are a few little examples. This year, Nicole T. asked if we have pursued corporate donations. Upon finding out that we have not established a system, she immediately starts creating letters and connections, and is now our unofficial person in charge of corporate donations. Ashley S. has asked a lot of accreditation questions since she has served as a curriculum & instruction director in other schools. She is now meeting with our accreditation team every Monday. Pam D. found out that Rossana would no longer be able to lead the Bilingual Bible Study, so now she is doing it- in both English and Spanish! I could write paragraphs, like Jenny H. asking if we had a PTO and then starting one, or Megan C. asking if we had an auction, and then running it, or Laura A. asking if we have ever done a beautiful evening event, and then transforming our unused front yard into a spectacular venue. Damian E makes sure classrooms have essential oils every day. Melisse A. asked about our socioeconomic diversity and then dove into our fundraising committee. Luis C. asked if we had a soccer team, and now 30 of our students are playing with the Battery next month! Grandma Margaret envisioned, implemented and watered our butterfly garden. Aaron M. asked about traffic, and then dedicated time strategizing and directing the new patterns. Matt P. asked about our technology and then got BlackBaud to donate 40 laptops (including my Mac ;). Then you have people like Grammie and Jamie who just show up and ask what needs to be done. The list could go on and on. That is how Denise, Erica, Vanessa, Jessica, and Natasha ended up working at the school! And the list goes on.
When you see something that can be better, let’s make it better together. We don’t want your 5 stars, we want you. Welcome to your school. Welcome to your family. Maybe you have moved away from family, but you have also moved to family. Here you can feel free to mess up, because we will forgive each other and love each other.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one--”