Before I get started, I have to tell you what I heard last night. Now I know my kids are older and I may be out of the loop but I heard that Cookie Monster no longer eats cookies but vegetables. Dr Smith, you're not teaching that kind of heresy here are you? I should hope not!
I want you to know that I consider it an tremendous honor to be here this evening to speak to you briefly about the impact Mansfield Christian has had on our family. Thank you Dr. Smith for allowing me this privilege.
Christian education was not on our radar when our boys were younger. They were, in what we believed to be, a good public school system, getting good grades and pretty well adjusted. It really all started with our youngest son, Nick, prior to entering the 7th grade. Nick would come home from school very conflicted about some of the things he was being taught and things people were saying that didn't line up with what we were teaching him in our home.
Those of you who know Nick, especially those of you who have had him in your class, know that he is not one to just keep his mouth shut and go with the flow :) So, he came to us one day and asked us if he could go to Mansfield Christian. He already had some friends here from church and was determined that this was the right place for him.
Jenni and I spent some time praying over this decision and refiguring the budget and came back to him and told him he could go. One of our deciding factors was "If our child truly wants to go to a Christian school how can we say no." So we registered him the summer before his 7th grade year and that began a completely new path for him and for our family.
Our oldest son, Stephen, on the other hand, was not really interested. He had just finished his Freshman year in high school and had a group of friends he was pretty close with. So.....that same summer we picked him up at the church after he had spent a week long mission trip in Chicago with the youth group at Berean and left directly from the church for our summer vacation in Florida. It just so happened that many of the other students on that mission trip were Mansfield Christian students.
I think we were somewhere in Kentucky driving south on 75 when I heard the voice of Stephen coming from the back of the van and he asked "Mom, Dad, can we talk"? Those are the kind of questions that usually make parents stop in their tracks and brace for what's about to come next. He then said "I think I would like to go to Mansfield Christian too....."
Now I'm kind of in shock. I'm pretty sure my mouth fell open, I had trouble breathing, and I spent the next two hours in silence while Jenni talked through it with him. The flesh in me was saying "we just redid the budget so we could send Nick and now we have to refigure it again with double the tuition"!
Well to make a long story short, we did refigure the budget and that fall both our boys were enrolled at Mansfield Christian.
Stephen spent the next three years here and was a member of the class of 2008. Looking back at some of his friends and class mates from The public school, we truly believe God spared Him from having to make hard decisions about which path he would follow.
At MCS he quickly made great friends, and I will be forever thankful to the late Jon Pound for taking Stephen under his wing that first year. Jon introduced Stephen to everyone and made sure he was included in all the social things that are so important to high schoolers. The other thing Jon did was challenge Stephen to know what he believed and to make his faith his own. I think the two of them read just about every John Piper book ever written that year.
So Now where is Stephen and what is he doing? After high school he went to Indiana Wesleyan University where this past spring he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. In August he married a young lady he met at Indiana Wesleyan and three of his his high school friends were part of the wedding. He now lives in Nashville, TN where he is the Worship Pastor for the new Harvest Bible Chapel church plant that is launching this Sunday! He also is hoping to get into the Vanderbilt Medical Center residency program for Nursing.
Nick was a member of the class of 2011 and is currently a Junior at Indiana Wesleyan. Nick took full advantage of the PSO classes that were available to him here at Mansfield Christian and will therefore complete his bachelors degree in just three years. One year of tuition at Indiana Wesleyan is just over $31,000 so you can see the significance. Not only was Nick able to cut out a full year of college but due to his high school GPA combined with his ACT score he was able to get significant scholarship money. This is all a direct result of the quality of education he received here at Mansfield Christian.
Nick is majoring in Ministry at Indiana Wesleyan and plans on going to Southern Seminary in Louisville after graduating. It is his goal to be a Senior pastor and to preach the word and possibly write.
I truly believe that our boys wanting to be in vocational ministry is, in part, a reflection of their experience at this school. I need to take a minute or two to express my extreme gratitude and appreciation for the staff and administration here at MCS. Dr Smith and the board do wonderful job of hiring teachers who really care about their students and view this as the ministry it is.
Many of the teachers here invested in our boys in multiple ways. One teacher in particular went above an beyond with our boys and that is Ben Sauffer, or Coach as he is know by most. I think what I love most about coach as a teacher is that he makes the students think about the perceived status quo. He challenges them to view things from a different perspective and not just go with conventional wisdom.
I had the privilege of chaperoning a National Honor Society trip to Washington DC that Coach organized and lead and his enthusiasm made even me more excited to know more about our system of government and our founding fathers.
To this day our boys stay in touch with coach and in spite of his growing family, all his coaching responsibilities, and current students he is investing in, he always has time for a visit, text or phone call.
I have pointed out Coach but this is common for many other teachers as well. This institution is truly an extension of the Christian home, just as the church is an extension of the Christian home. Our children's education is our responsibility. Telling our children about Jesus is the responsibility of parents, not the school, not the church. The school and the church should be confirming what is being taught in the home not contradicting what is being taught in the home!
Everything being taught here, Math, Science, English, Bible, is all to be an extension of the Christian home.
As many of you know, my wife and I left the area last June as we went on staff with Life Action Ministries. I truly believe that being immersed in the culture here at Mansfield Christian was one of the factors the lead us into the mission field. The teachers and administration lead by example and that example not only flows to the students but throughout the family.
Finally, as we head to the polls in just a few weeks please know that what is going on in the White House is not what is going to change this country, it's what is going on in your house, and in my house. We need revival! When revival comes to the Christian home it spills over into the schools and churches, then it spills over into the community which spills over into the state and then the country. I truly believe that revival is not just an option, but it is absolutely essential for our country to survive.
11 Chronicles 7:14 is a very familiar verse to many and it says "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Lord, send revival and let it begin in me!
Life Action Ministries 567-241-6340