Thursday, August 20, 2015
It doesn't seem possible that I graduated 22 years ago from high school. I can't even believe I just typed that. The Lord has sure been good to me and has taught me so much. As I look forward to teaching again this year, I have been thinking about the history of our school.
This year the Cozaddale Baptist Academy will begin its 19th year. I can't believe I just typed that as well. It all began with a phone call in 1996. I was in college at Fairhaven Baptist College and my dad called me. He told me that he really felt of the Lord to start a Christian school at our church the following year. He then told me that upon graduating college, he would like for me to come home and lead in establishing this ministry at Cozaddale Baptist Temple.
I was thrilled, then scared to death. My senior year at college, one class I had to take was School Administration. I never paid so much attention in any class like I did that one that year. To graduate that class, we had to start a fictional school and organize everything from teachers to class schedules to restroom breaks and everything in between. The difference between my project and everyone else's was that mine was not fictional.
I called my project "The ABC's of CBA." That project is still the parent/student handbook we use today (though edited quite a bit). You will be glad to know that I received an "A" in school administration.
The next fall we began the Cozaddale Baptist Academy. That first year we had 23 students. (I remember because that was Michael Jordan's number). We all met in one room with each student a desk attached to the wall in our learning center. The year went well with my dad overseeing the year very closely.
As the years went on, the school grew and with every year, my dad gave me the reins more and more. We took the school from a learning center to a traditional class room school. By the year 2003, the school had 120 students. While I like to believe we made a lot of positive influence on a lot of children, I also know that I made many mistakes I would love to go back and change. I began to see that some of my philosophies, while the student's were happy, wasn't the best philosophies. There was a lot going on behind the scenes that I was too young and ignorant to see. I guess, my head was in the sand some what.
Most everyone from those days can tell you about the long recesses, sports programs, and such. Again, much good can be related and there are young people still faithfully serving the Lord, but I began to notice a trend that the majority of our graduates were not staying faithful to church. I, as there youth pastor, principal, and teacher, take a lot of that blame. The Lord began to stir my heart and I began to search the Scriptures more about this ministry. I studied every aspect from "Is it even Biblical to have a Christian School" to "Why a Sports Program?"
Then, in 2004, my dad was moved of the Lord to Kansas to pastor a church there. Soon, I was the pastor at Cozaddale Baptist Temple. I turned over the job of CBA administrator to my good friend Bro. Carr. We had many talks about philosophy and the direction of our school. I thank Bro. Carr for years of faithfulness in leading the school and implementing positive changes as we were led of the Lord.
We limited who was able to enroll their children into our school, we removed all the "dating spirit" out of our academy, we began to focus more on academics and less on entertaining. We desired for our students to learn what a walk with God is. Our school schedule was so full, that we eliminated all sports programs, for it had become too much of a priority. There were many changes, and the school began to shrink. By 2010, the school had 30 students, but the Lord was blessing.
We began to see changes in the young people. We had a different spirit amongst students and teachers. Our graduates are still faithful to church. To God be the glory. In the last few years, we have brought back again a limited sports program, but now the priority is not a sport and practices are very limited. Will we be a powerhouse in volleyball or boys basketball? No, but if our young people are still in church serving God years after graduating, I'm fine with it all.
Some of our earlier graduates from the early days would never consider sending their children to our academy. Some because they don't care for the spiritual as they should, others because they know some of the foolishness that went on that I wish I could change. But regardless, what everyone will find is a different school than what it was.
I am thankful for the 58 students planning to attend Cozaddale Baptist Academy this year. I am thankful for their spirit, their love for the Lord, their walk with God, their sweetness. I am thankful that we do not have to focus on disciplinary actions, but on maturity. I am looking forward to this year and am thankful for every parent who has entrusted us with the opportunity to be of a help to them in rearing their kids. You see, this is the greatest difference the Lord has led me in.
The Lord had to show my that it is not my responsibility to rear other people's children, but can be used of the parents in helping them. I do see the mandate in the great commission to teach others to "observe all things." I do see in Psalm 1 the necessity of not sitting our children under the counsel of the ungodly. Thus I am convicted that parents must lead in the training of their children via home schooling them or the church being a help to them in this way.
So, we begin the 2015/2016 school year. I am thankful for every student and every graduate that has ever come to CBA and I do not think that any would doubt that I truly loved them. I pray the Lord continues to lead and guide in the upcoming year and years ahead. Praise the Lord for His blessings and leadership at the Cozaddale Baptist Academy.