When I first arrived at Concordia Lutheran High School in the summer of 2012, my family and I were so touched by the wonderfully supportive welcome we received.
I remember thinking that just about everyone I talked to either graduated from CLHS, sent someone to CLHS, or knew someone who went to CLHS! The reputation of the school community was as positive as it was far reaching.
For an out-of-towner, that presented a great welcome, and also a huge challenge. How do you take something that is already really good and strive to make it better? What was God’s plan in bringing us from Michigan, to Texas and now to Indiana? How would my, then, two boys feel about starting a new school? Life certainly had more questions than answers for us, but I knew for certain that the school I had been called to had a firm focus and intent on keeping Christ at the Center.
As I learned more about the school and began to develop relationships among the students, faculty and staff, I was enamored with the history of the school and the Christ-centered environment that it displayed.
Around each corner was someone willing to share his or her faith, either in word or action, with someone else. I also began to learn of some significant pending changes, such as laws regarding SGO grants, School Choice vouchers, and the retirement plans of the executive director. I remember trying hard to listen to folks and gain an understanding of what the solid, non-negotiable elements of the school were, and what things were open to change.
Through it all, the message of Christ at the Center continued to ring true. I saw it in the hallways, heard it at concerts and saw it demonstrated in our students over and over again.
Over time, I began to get into the flow of Concordia. The ebb and flow of the school year and summer began to feel more natural, and I could feel God tugging on my heart as the opportunity presented itself to move into the role that would soon be vacated by Mr. Terry Breininger.
Sure, there were plenty of questions, but I felt strongly that God was setting the stage through the service of so many people to keep CLHS on the path of its mission, “To pursue Christ-centered educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
I could sense that there was more change on the horizon as I had conversations with veteran teachers, staff members and those that felt God pulling them in a different direction.
We were experiencing a time of growth in enrollment and enjoying many successes in many programs around the school. Many times I sought to step back and see the whole picture, and just enjoy God’s hand working in our school.
There were challenges, to be sure. Often times when a ministry is going strong, gaining momentum and touching lives, the devil tries to gain a foothold and disrupt from the inside out. Perhaps in the challenges and tragedies that we’ve faced, we have grown that much stronger in our resolve to unabashedly keep Christ at the Center of CLHS!
One of the defining moments for me in my tenure thus far at CLHS has been the Portrait of a Graduate statements and Characteristics of Professional Excellence that were developed and agreed upon by the faculty. To have a set of specific statements that accurately define what we are striving to do with our students is quite powerful. Also, to define the characteristics that we are willing to develop and display as a way to pursue these portrait statements is quite motivating!
I read these statements almost every day, and see them posted in my office every time I walk in. As I have moved into the Head of School role, I am reminded of the responsibility I have to do everything I possible can to serve CLHS with these in mind. What a great opportunity!
Now, as we have experienced the blessings of God in successes and growth, we seek his wisdom and knowledge as we experience change.
New positions, new faculty members, new staff members, new students! Certainly, change brings many opportunities, and also many different reactions. After all, we are all unique and specially made by God, therefore, we all experience and react to change in different ways.
Here is my ultimate comfort through it all: Even though faces and names change, procedures, curriculums and perhaps even schedules may change; CLHS has always been and will always be centered on Christ. His presence will be in and through the school, no matter what physical things may change around us.
Hebrews 13:8 constantly comes to mind, “… Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” With that confidence, I have much excitement and courage as we look ahead to how God will work through CLHS to bring about his message of salvation to those in Fort Wayne and beyond!
May God bless all of us as we serve and support CLHS in many different ways, and may he grant us his peace that passes all understanding through whatever lies ahead!
Head of School