At a time when voter dissatisfaction for both major presidential candidates is at an all-time low, many are astounded that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the best we could put forward in this country. Character used to drive leadership; it was a prerequisite. Now, leadership often appears devoid of character. Even more, leading with character, and, in particular, referencing the source of that character, has become offensive in our culture. Character is an afterthought – a bonus. Why is this?
• People are not capable of generating true Christ-like character on their own.
• Many parents are not pursuing a Kingdom Education for their children.
• Many Christian schools are not intentional about developing Christian leaders.
People are not capable of generating true Christ-like character on their own. Only the Holy Spirit, after one places his/her faith in Christ alone, produces that. Putting our faith and trust in people (even Christ-following people) always, ultimately disappoints. Jeremiah 17 addresses this truth directly. Verse 5 says, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.’” Then, in verse 7, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”
“Man” includes trusting in ourselves! It is futile.
I am always amazed when folks decline acknowledging that they are sinners. No problem admitting that for yours truly! I am all too often reminded of my need for Christ when I decide to put Him on the shelf for a while and trust only myself. He swiftly reminds me that He is the Source of my Christ-like character and of my redeeming value as a child of God. Christian leaders acknowledge their continual need for Christ and His leading in their lives.
Many parents are not pursuing a Kingdom Education for their children. Kingdom Education says that the training up of our children is our responsibility as parents, and the best shot we have at raising Christian world changers is by the home, the church, and the Christian school all teaching the same thing. This works not because some smart guy came up with a slick slogan, but because it is based on Biblical principles.
Research shows us that 70% of our youth are leaving the church (1). Even more concerning, an increasing percentage of these, if trends continue, will never come back. “59% of young people ages 18-29 drop out of church after attending regularly as teenagers” (2). Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jitHsBPGtUY. In You Lost Me, Kinnaman identifies six “disconnects” that are separating our youth from the church (3). They view the church as at least one of the following:
As parents, we must do everything in our power to ensure that our kiddos will come to know Christ personally and pursue Him above all else. Ultimately, of course, we cannot manufacture a relationship between God and our kids. Our kids will need to own their faith. However, the home, the church, and the Christian school provide a great foundation and a Biblical worldview for the college campus where they will be given numerous opportunities to exercise, build upon, and stand up for their faith. Christian leaders will testify to the importance of experiencing all three legs of a Kingdom Education.
Many Christian schools are not intentional about developing Christian leaders. Many argue that young Christian leaders will emerge by osmosis from a Christian school simply because we are teaching truth. While I have witnessed this once or twice at prior Christian schools, I think it was more related to training those individuals were receiving outside of our four walls. At CCS, we are intentional about student leadership training, and we will be increasingly so as we move forward.
Academics, athletics and the arts do not exist in a vacuum at CCS. They are executed through the lens of a biblical worldview and saturated with the purpose of developing young men and women who know God and are equipped to serve Him with excellence in the capacity of His calling. Our programs develop leaders. Beyond the classroom, the court, the stage and the studio, we have also developed a number of programs that specifically foster leadership. In many cases, the emphasis is on the “Jesus” kind of leadership – servant leadership. This is certainly true of our CSLC in the Lower School and our Key Club and Ambassadors in the Upper School. Our Student Council, both in the middle and high schools, positions students to take the lead in planning and executing major events. Student Leadership Institute (SLi), in our high school, is an innovative program allowing students to participate in personal leadership development. It is unlike any other leadership program. SLi’s mission is to assist young people in the development of their leadership philosophy and skills by exposing them to a Biblically-based, practical, multifaceted, year-long program. This is far from an exhaustive list, and it will continue to develop, as we remain committed to developing Christian leaders.
Pray for our country, and pray for CCS as we seek to develop Christian leaders who are emboldened in their faith and determined to lead with Christ-like character.
3. Kinnaman, David, and Aly Hawkins. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich: BakerBooks, 2011. Print.