A few years ago, I started giving an address to our school family in the spring semester, a kind of “year in review” thing.  Several of my friends who are heads of school around the country gave similar addresses at their schools, and I thought it might be helpful and informative to give one here.  I called it “State of the School” because, well we talk about the state of the school, and that’s what the other heads called it. I’m beginning to not really like that title (sounds too presumptuous and presidential), so I’ll probably change it to something else next year.

What I do like, though, is making sure you know what’s going on in your kids’ school. After all, you chose us to be your partners all these years, to walk with you and provide an education for your kids that would provide all you would provide yourself, if you had the time or the expertise in this busy and highly-specialized world.  You may have chosen Grace for lots of reasons: you wanted a better education for your kids than you might have found elsewhere, your kids really like their teachers and peers, or they enjoy playing a particular sport or instrument. But, either immediately or over time, one reason rose above all: you wanted a place, rare in this world, where you could count on the name of Jesus Christ to always be proclaimed. A place where you could be assured that your children were learning not only to think well, but to think Christianly– to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, because you know deep in your heart that would change everything for them.

You realized that, at the end of the day, the greatest gifts you have to offer the world are young men and women who love the Lord, and who are committed to serving Him faithfully and well.  That’s the only thing that can change this world, the only thing that ever could. God designed it that way. And, so you invest your money, and your time, and your energy, and your passion into that great endeavor, and you ask us to help you.

So, you need to know how we’re doing in that. You need to be assured whether we’re doing our jobs. We owe you accountability and transparency, because brothers and sisters who love each other with the bonds of Jesus Christ do that for each other.  Those bonds are more powerful than any business transaction. This isn’t really a contract; it’s more of a covenant. It’s a deep, relational thing. You need assurance that we’re doing what we say we’ll do.

That’s why State of School, or whatever we decide to call it in the future, exists.  To report on our past year, and to share the vision of the future. This year, we’ve shared our school’s new strategic plan, a plan you helped create through your participation in surveys and focus groups. So you can see a roadmap for where we’re going as a community, this exciting new journey God is taking us on together. Because we want you to see how He is at work among us all, and the way He is going to use all of us to do something transformational and amazing for His Kingdom in Tyler and throughout the world.

I know you’ve got lots of things to do with an hour. You can watch a rerun (now that football season is over), surf social media, or actually do something really valuable. But, if you’ll give us an hour to watch what God is doing through your child and so many others at Grace, through teachers, students, parents, and administrators, you will walk away encouraged and edified, affirmed in your decision to partner with Grace in teaching Jesus to your kids, and excited for what God will do through them to transform Tyler and the world.

Pretty good use of an hour, huh?  Click here to watch.

Jay Ferguson, PhD, writes regularly on his blog, The Head and The Heart.