Focusing on 'the main thing'

My last e-newsletter contained three reflections of the 2014-15 school year and took a glimpse at the 2015-16 school year. For this e-newsletter, I asked our principals for their reflections on the 2014-15 school year. Here are some of the responses: We're blessed by the atmosphere of a close Christian family of folks who love each other and take care of each other. We had seven baptisms this past year (school children and families), continued growing enrollment, the blessings of new staff, and enjoy a talented and caring pastoral leadership. Growing "team." Experienced the richness of forgiveness as we continue to learn to live with each other coming from our diverse backgrounds as sinners and saints, baptisms taking place because children and their families hear the Good News of this forgiveness, and the forgiveness we share as staff with each other as we serve together to bless families by being and becoming the best school we can be for our families. Blessings of growth-we've increased by just over 100 students in the last eight years. The blessings of almost $500,000 raised in pledges for our building expansion, our school auction raising $40,000 for technology (more than double last year's return), and the joy that with enrollment growth comes more students and families to share Christ with. Wonderful, dedicated, and caring teachers and great students who, combined, make the school a special place to be. We're young and growing, the experience of chapel four days a week, "Learn by Heart" memory program, and a faculty that works as a team and understands ministry. The students and the partnership with the parents.Why share this? Why should the 1,200 people on our email list, our friends on Facebook, our Twitter followers, and visitors to our website be witness to this list?TLSP has thrown a lot at our schools in the past six years. Advancement issues, curriculum mapping, social media presence, and so much more have been shared as initiatives and best practices for schools to adopt. On more than one occasion, frustration has been shared. And when there's so much to consider and it seems burdensome, it's easy to be stuck in the trap of inadequacy and failure.What's quite striking about this list is the emphasis on ministry. Our connection with state accreditation and state accountability may so overcome our concerns that in the day-to-day efforts of school ministry, we forget to remember our uniqueness-sharing the Gospel with our students, families, church, and community.Our principals rightly list baptisms, forgiveness, and "blessings" as the key celebrations of the year. The uniqueness of our schools is sharing faith in Jesus. With eyes focused on mission, sharing that message of a loving God who died for all our failures is the motivator for our schools, the message that we share, and the healing power for kids and families in our care.2015-16 is going to be a challenging year. But with eyes focused on the cross, we'll keep the main thing the main thing, and at year's end, we'll celebrate all of God's blessings again.