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Presentation of VCCA to Parents, Church Leaders and Our Community

I recently listened to a sermon by an older minister who preached to a group of young people and pleaded with them to take their faith seriously. He looked at them and said, “May God give you a passion, young people, to make your lives count for the glory of God — and to do it soon, while you are young. Because you may never be old. Don’t waist it on video games and all kinds of crazy insanity that your peers are doing. Life is so precious.1

The exhortation to cultivate a passion for these things while these students are still young comes with a great incentive. He says, “Do it soon...because you may never be old.’ He also pleaded with them by saying, “Don’t waist it on video games and all kinds of crazy insanity that your peers are doing.

This minister’s exhortation means something because he knows that there is a pathway that these kids have which will make their lives count for something eternal. There is a path that they can walk which will equip them so that their lives will glorify God. The man who spoke these words started a Classical College, Bethlehem College and Seminary, to help these kids accomplish these very things. It was established to help them live lives that count for eternal things which will bring glory to God.

What good would it be for those kids if this minister were to give this exhortation and then not have a pathway to accomplish it? How frustrating this would be for these young people and their families.

Up until this last year our community lacked this type of option for our families. We did not have a classical school to send our kids too. We could say to our kids, ‘Live lives to the glory of God’, but we were limited when it came to equipping them for this task. We could say to them, ‘Make your lives count’, but we lacked a vital resource for them to accomplish this. But now, praise the Lord, we do have such a school. And I am grateful for the opportunity to get to speak to you about this.

This year we started Veritas Christi Christian Academy. We are truly blessed to have this academy right here in Stevens Point, WI. This academy has been established and given the mission to ‘train students to become discerning thinkers, eloquent communicators, and virtuous ambassadors of Christ, who love the True, Good, and Beautiful, and live joyful lives of true worship of God.

Recently I was watching a video about the growth of classical schools since the 1980’s. At one point they put a map of America on the screen and then they began to place all of the locations of classical schools across the map. They started on the West Coast and it worked its way all the way to the West Coast. When this process was done I was amazed at how many states did not have any Classical Schools at all that were associated with the Association of Classical Christian Schools. I looked to see how many dots were seen over the state of Wisconsin and sadly there were only a couple locations that had a classical school pinned on the screen.

By God’s gracious will there are more Classical Schools than this currently operating in our state but it did show me that we should be very grateful for the opportunity that we have right here in our own community to give our kids a great Classical education. However, there are still so many communities who not only don’t have a Classical school. And there are still so many areas who don’t even have an Evangelical Christian School as an option where they can send their kids. In those communities we could say, ‘‘Live lives to the glory of God’ and ‘Make your lives count’, but they are missing a tremendous resource to accomplish these things.

My friends, picture in your mind your kids, your grand-kids, and the kids in your community as you consider that mission statement of Veritas Christi. It is the mission of VCCA to ‘train students to become discerning thinkers, eloquent communicators, and virtuous ambassadors of Christ, who love the True, Good, and Beautiful, and live joyful lives of true worship of God.’

So many kids in our communities, and even in our churches, are not living joyful lives of true worship of God. It is our obligation and our mandate to change this (Matthew 28:19-20).

I am a pastor and as such I see the battles that our families are facing when it comes to their kids education and to the discipleship that has been entrusted to them. As a Sunday School teacher I have also seen the need for the church to have high expectations concerning our role in helping parents to pass on the Christian faith to our kids. All of us, the parents, the churches, and the Christian schools have an amazing opportunity to partner together to see that we are successful at passing down the Christian faith. There is a system that has been proven throughout the centuries to work.

Yet, it seems as though there is a bit of skepticism regarding these things. It seems that we have become accustomed to where things are at with our kids. It seems that we have accepted a fairly low expectation as to what our kids can learn and where their discipleship should be even when they are young.

I will admit that there are times when a partnership between parents, the church and academic institutions seems to be too hard to achieve; however, this has happened before and it can happen again! There have been generations of believers who enjoyed this advantage. There was a time when parents, local communities, churches, schools and universities partnered together to pass on the Christian faith and culture to the next generation. This can happen again and it would be to the benefit of our kids, our grand-kids, and our communities if this were to happen again.

It was during these times, when there existed such priorities and partnerships, that people flourished, families were blessed, communities were enriched, and mankind benefited in countless ways. There was a time, about 150 years ago, when the majority of people were trained classically with the goal of becoming lifelong learners who knew and practiced the virtues of the Christian faith. There was a time when the goal of education was to produce wise and virtuous students who knew the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

That is not the way that it is now. Recently someone asked, “When did we loose our soul as a community and as a nation?

This has happened over the last three generations. This has happened over the last 150 years and we must be determined to recapture what has been lost. If we will commit to this with our time, our investment and our determination we will recapture the soul of our children and our nation and once again live lives that count to the glory of God.

Did you know that typically every spiritual revival that has ever happened has come upon the heals, or in conjunction with, the renewal of discipleship and learning within the church?

Did you know that our kids will spend 20,000 hours of their young lives being trained by someone from kindergarten through twelfth grade years? It has been said that we have often given over our kids to some stranger to teach them and then they are given back to us as strangers!

20,000 hours is a huge investment of our children’s lives while they are young. That is a great deal of discipleship that is going on from morning to afternoon five days a week. And if those hours are not centered upon a Christian worldview then our kids will be conformed to this world and the way it thinks (Romans 12:1-2).

You may be asking if you can afford the investment of sending your kids to a Classical School? It costs 5000.00 a year to send a child to our school. Over 13 years, K-12, this comes to $65,000.00. Can you afford this cost? It seems like too much money for so many people but think of it this way. If your child will spend 20,000 hours at school, K-12, then you are only paying $3.21 hour for their Christian education.

When you consider that these kids are achieving much higher ACT and SAT scores, more qualify for scholarships to Universities, and more are grounded in the Christian faith than any other method, this is really affordable and worthwhile. Classical education is a great investment for parents, grand—parents, churches, and fellow Christians to give too for the benefit of others who may need some help with tuition. At Veritas Christi Classical Academy we have made the decision NOT to accept any government assistance so we would truly appreciate your consideration for support.

During those 20,000 hours of education our children’s souls are being formed. During this time they ought to be learning to glorify God with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength. They are to be learning to love God, to love God’s wisdom and truth, to love His church, and to love this world that God has created. During these 20,000 hours our kids should be having their cravings shaped in such a way that they will live a satisfying and joyful life to the glory of God.

Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing; while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Currently in American educational systems all of the attention is put upon the mind but the soul of a person is largely ignored. Proverbs 13:4 reminds us that our creator God has given to every person a soul that has cravings. So many young people today are educated in such a way that their cravings will never be satisfied. In fact, they can spend 20,000 hours in our educational system and quite literally ‘get nothing’ out of it. But there are some whose cravings will be richly supplied for a lifetime.

Again, this is the goal of VCCS. It is our goal to partner with parents and churches to ‘train students to become discerning thinkers, eloquent communicators, and virtuous ambassadors of Christ, who love the True, Good, and Beautiful, and live joyful lives of true worship of God.

We desire to cultivate within our students a craving and a love for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. The fruit of this will be seen in the fact that these students will live joyful lives of true worship of God. What a gift that we can give to this young generation! We can give them a lifetime of joy and a life of faith which results in the true worship of God!

This love for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful shows us the difference between modern education and traditional classical education. The ancients believed that education was fundamentally about shaping the loves that a person had. There are True, Good and Beautiful things that we are to love which will promote joy and happiness. And there are things that are not True, Good and Beautiful and if we love them we will not experience joy and happiness. Do we see the fruit of love and joy being produced from modern education today?

The word ‘education’ comes from the Latin but the original Greek work used in the New Testament was ‘paideia’. This speaks of more than just passing along ideas. It speaks of passing along enculturation: passing along an entire culture. What culture are we to be passing along? Our Christian faith. We are to pass along the culture of the Church which seeks to cultivate piety, virtue and wisdom as the students grow in the grace of Christ.

As you can see, to pass along the Christian culture is no easy thing and most of all it takes the grace of God working throughout. To do this important task we have been given up to 20,000 hours to do this at school and we have been blessed with even more time through the partnership of the home and church to disciple our kids in the faith.

Some of you may be asking, ‘What is Classical education?

Classical education is built upon a long tradition of great literature which helps to teach the students to know how to learn it and to love it. It sees education more like a web of learning than modern education which compartmentalizes subjects into separate categories. In classical education every subject interacts with the all of the others.

One of the exciting characteristics about Classical education is what is known as the ‘Trivium’. The three aspects of the trivium are grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The other special aspect of this training is that each aspect of the Trivium are taught to the kids at specific stages of their development when they are specially suited to learn these things. Classical education also combines the Trivium with the Quadrivium: geometry, astronomy, music and arithmetic.

The kinds concentrate upon the Grammar stage through the sixth grade when they love to learn facts through repetition, singing and song, and poetry, etc. During this stage the kids memorize easily and they begin early on to learn Latin which helps them to learn their first language and how language works. Once they master this language learning others comes much easier for them. Much like when a person learns one musical instrument they can pick up the next much quicker.

As the child enters the seventh grade they begin to like to formulate their own ideas and synthesize together all the things that they are learning. This is when they move into the dialectic stage. In this stage they learn to argue, discuss and debate various topics. They learn to compare/contrast and what to praise or to not praise.

As the child enters into the ninth grade they begin to want to argue and debate so they are taught how to communicate their thoughts and win arguments. In this stage they discuss, give speeches, imitate and practice their Christian Worldview. They become more persuasive, poetic and creative at communicating with others. Unlike the foolish person in Proverbs who is loud and abusive, these students will be able to think deeply, biblically, and defend their faith with a polite, persuasive and loving disposition

At each of these stages they are learning all sorts of subject matter: math, history, english, music, fine arts, bible, etc. Every class is infused with a Biblical Worldview and the kids are shown how their biblical worldview always points them to the True, the Good and the Beautiful. Even as the children move up through their development they continue to some degree in their learning in all three of these stages. By the time that they graduate they will be well rounded and grounded in the Christian faith and practice.

Let us end our time together by considering 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 as I believe that it pertains to our discussion. It says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

These two verses seem to sum up the mind and the heart of what we have been speaking of today. As parents, churchmen, and teachers we are tasked with giving and equipping the kids four imperatives to obey: be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

There are so many thing that could be said about these imperatives. Be watchful! Stand on the wall and look for the enemy. Stand on the wall and protect the people around you. Stand on the wall and be watchful and discerning about right and wrong; good and bad; beautiful and evil; truth and falsehood.

Stand firm in the faith. Don’t be moved. Don’t be persuaded to leave and abandon the faith once and for all entrusted to us. Don’t loose your footing. Don’t take a step back from what is right.

Act like men: don’t be a coward, don’t be weak, grow up into full manhood, guard the weak, the poor, the afflicted. Be chivalrous, noble, kind, and trustworthy.

Be strong in the face of danger, threat, temptation and exhaustion. Be strong in the faith and in the truth. Be strong till the end and till you breath your last breath.

These are four commands that will test our heart, our resolve, our courage, and our will to remain faithful to the True, the Good and the Beautiful.

As difficult as these things may be, verse 14 seems even harder, “Let all that you do be done in love”. In the battle they are to love. Through the process they are to love. At the end of life they are to love. To love is to put the grace of God on full display before friend and foe. Love is to endure all things good and bad; easy and difficult; success and failure; in every season; at every stage; in every expression of the heart through our speech and our actions to the glory of God.

Classical education seeks to effect the heart and the mind of our precious students. It is a noble task that is set before each of us. Together (every family, every church, and every Christian academy) can achieve this love and joy by the grace of God. Our efforts today can change the course of each child and the very civilization that we now find ourselves a part of. It has happened before and it can happen again. It has been said, “The Romans conquered the Greeks militarily; but the Greeks conquered the Roman culture”. If we will set out to honor God and His Word we can help to train a generation who will not be conquered by this culture, but we will raise kids who will conquer the culture that they are in no matter how strong and ungodly that culture is.



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