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2022 Bid for Cause: Joy at Every Level! Pt. 2

April 08, 2022
By Advancement Director, Kristen Lihos

Generosity isn’t a natural thing, is it? If you have a secularized worldview, it really makes no sense to give away what is yours. That is what makes last Saturday so other-worldly. We have this concept of giving, because God gives us everything. We only have this ability to let go of our resources because we know that we are stewards. Christ Jesus owns everything, and He changed everything when He gave Himself. As His stewards, we give, because that’s who He is and that’s what He taught us to do.

The body of Grace Christian School currently represents over 65 churches in our area. I don’t know how many churches were represented at the auction, but dozens at least. All breaking bread together for one mission: the life-altering, biblical-worldview education of our children. The kind of worldview that tells you to your core not to put your hope in the things of this world.

The hearts of our staff are for our students to know the joy of the Lord. I see firsthand how they operate daily in that other-worldly realm—the unnatural one that is not running after money, status, or ease. That’s what I experienced Saturday. Hundreds of believers, from dozens of churches, living out a life that helps others to know joy.

We had 98 bids for the 2022 Bid for Cause. An over 30% increase from last year! Our in-house bid counters scrambled to keep up with overwhelming response, but the great news is that we smashed our Bid for Cause goals, achieving all three levels with extra for funding field trips! And, after a smooth and successful check out, our final auction total including silent and live is $132,634!

Thank you to all of you who gave. You gave from what you know was given to you. Your generosity is creating an other-worldly education for our children. I am so excited to see what the next few years will bring. With this generosity mindset, there is really no God-given goal that we cannot achieve.

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Christian Community (And Why I'm Thankful for George McNair!)

March 31, 2022
By Brian Fitzgerald, Discipleship Director

Wow. I wish our entire school community could have been in chapel this week at the high school to receive George McNair’s message about Christian community and unity in the body of Christ. He did a great job diagnosing the problem that so many today face: isolation leading to anger, anxiety, and depression. And he nailed the biblical solution of Christian community. I'm praying the students took his message to heart and that they intentionally incorporate some of the things that he suggested. He blessed and encouraged me, and he also gave me a platform for encouraging my students toward being engaged in a healthy community.

We are in difficult times culturally, and our kids and students will drown in a sea of isolation if they are not encouraged, propped up, equipped, and pointed toward the truth. I think George’s theme of Christian community is essential for the times in which we're living, but I also think it's essential for us now as a school. There's a phrase in Isaiah 54:2 that's been on my mind for a couple of months, and it simply says, "lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes." I think that phrase applies to Grace and sends us the message to buckle down and keep first things first. Let's buckle down and hammer home the biblical worldview integration that we've worked so hard to ensure is part of our program and our curriculum. Let's pass that view on to the next generation so that they will live—that they'll live vibrant and flourishing lives because they are connected to the life-giving Vine. Let's be connected to that Vine ourselves. And let's not forget that we're not in this alone. God gave us each other to reflect His love in and toward each other. As a school community, I think we have a beautiful opportunity to demonstrate what a healthy, loving community looks like by the way that we interact with and love each other and work from the same centerpoint: Jesus. I’d like for our kids and students to see and experience for themselves how wonderful being in community can be by being part of GCS.

I believe that all of us need to hear what George shared with our high school students. In the long run, I really think his message should enhance our school and contribute positively to our community. I would encourage all of us to keep our students in prayer, and we can pray specifically that this theme of Christian community will hit home with them and that they will experience the goodness of that here at Grace. George said it's messy, and he's right. But it's completely worth it, and I hope these students get a taste of that here.

I appreciate the GCS community, and I hope that being part of it is a blessing to each of you and represents a loving community that encourages you. It's a joy to work alongside the GCS staff and to be engaged with the students. May the Lord bless this school and use all that takes place here to advance His kingdom and bless His people. 

We have a wonderful opportunity to experience this community reality at the GCS Auction this Saturday. This has long been one of my favorite GCS events, going back to my days as a GCS high school student. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but it was the community dynamic that I found so special. Being part of something bigger than yourself but having a role to play (even as a student) is a gift, and I think it’s that dynamic that makes the auction and our school so special.

2022 Bid for Cause: Joy at Every Level! Pt. 1

March 24, 2022
By Kristen Lihos, Advancement Director

Monday was World Down Syndrome Day, and that gave me a second to pause, smile, and reflect on a gift to my life that has brought me such unimaginable joy: Isaiah Martin. Isaiah, little brother to Zack (K) and Declan (PreK), was given a devastating prenatal diagnosis incompatible with a normal life. He surprised everyone and came into this world crying and thriving. We first bonded in the NICU where I realized that my heart was all-in for him. Isaiah's life is not without challenges or even heartbreak, but it comes with a deep-seated delight in the knowledge that he is a precious gift of joy to everyone who knows him. It doesn’t matter how cloudy the day is, seeing Isaiah makes me smile.

Giving the gift of joy and smiles is the focus of this year’s Bid for Cause. We strategically looked at the needs of our school and then focused on the ones that directly impacted the experiences our students most love. Our children only have one childhood, and to the ends that we can control, we want it to be a delightful one! Let’s bring those smiles!

2022 Bid For Cause: Joy at Every Level! will be live auction package #18. That will be your chance to give a gift of joy directly to our students, from the youngest to the oldest. We are aiming to reach $55,000 over three levels. Whatever level we reach will be what we directly purchase for the students. Any money raised over the third level will be applied to bringing joy to students through funding field trips. Check out each level below: We have playhouses, outdoor games, better student outdoor seating, risers and mics for our fine arts, and a new scoreboard for our athletes and fans!

For Live Package #18, the auctioneer will start high and see if there are any large, generous bids in the room. He will work his way down to $10,000, $5,000, $2,000…the bottom bid will be $100. As many bidders who want to join in at each level will be able to do so. We will calculate our total on the spot and see where we land. Celebration will happen at whatever level we arrive. Jubilation will happen if we blow it out of the park!

Be in prayer about what kind of gift you want to give to help create joy at every level of the school. We want to meet our students where they are right now and cultivate some happiness. Children like Isaiah make us smile every day. Let’s come together and make April 2nd about making our children smile!

 

Swimming Against the Tide

March 17, 2022
By Kristen Lihos, Advancement Director

I care so much about this school, and I try hard not to take it for granted. When it has literally been around my entire life, I can easily lose the perspective that it is not a given that it will be here as an option for my 10-year-old to graduate from, much less my future grandchildren. Institutions like ours take hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and most importantly the favor of God. We have all seen businesses and churches disappear during the pandemic or childhood staples (Sears or Kmart, anyone?) that we thought would be around forever. The tide will always be against a private Christian school thriving, which is why intention swimming in the right direction matters so much. 

Sometimes our arms are tired, and we feel like we are swimming alone. But other times, in God’s great grace to us, we spot a friend swimming with us, and we see a beautiful sunrise on the horizon. Our hope and faith in the One that sustains us is refreshed!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

If you are looking around for school encouragement, or if you have some encouragement to share, I have two practical suggestions for you:

First, take a minute to complete the ACSI Flourishing Schools Survey that was emailed out on Tuesday. There is a separate survey for parents / teachers / support staff  /alumni. A student survey will come soon and be completed in class. These kinds of 360 anonymous surveys help us gain a better understanding of where we are and help us plan where we are going. We want your voices to be heard, and we want to make the best decisions possible for our students to thrive.

Second, come to the auction! We have been separated for far too long, and it is long overdue for us to be refreshed! With a goal of energizing and encouraging our school family, we are excited to announce that this year’s Bid for Cause is JOY AT EVERY LEVEL!  We are taking time to focus on knocking off student and staff wish list items that help build community and encouragement! Outdoor games, equipment, and seating for students to use in building relationships, over-the-ear mics and risers for our performances to instill joy, and a new Warrior scoreboard for our Activities Center to show our school pride in our athletes! We feel that these improvements will touch and benefit  the youngest Warrior to the oldest. Come check it out on April 2!

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b

To close, I want to remind you that you are not swimming alone. I regularly remind people that no one enters (much less stays) in Christian education for anything but a deep conviction in the mission. You are surrounded by a sea of believers! When you get a small glimpse of the greater Church that God has brought together here at Grace, you are left in awe of how He is always faithful to sanctify and grow His body to His own glory! I for one have great excitement in our front-row seats to watch God’s plan for this school.

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