It is difficult to find an organization today that doesn’t have a mission statement. A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing. It is the “beating heart” for that entity that helps it function in a focused, efficient way. It can also be a kind of a road map to help the organization remember why it was started and which direction it is supposed to be headed. A mission statement drives everything an organization does; vision, policy-making, planning and operations are all extensions of a mission. The mission gives the all of the members of an organization a foundation from which they can strategize.
The mission of Indian Rocks Christian School is to lead every student to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ while providing the highest quality Christian education in an environment of genuine love and concern for each student and parent.
There are some key components to break down from this statement. The first is obvious, we want every student to have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His birth, life, death, and resurrection are the cornerstone to the Christian faith. We feel it is critical that this is taught in a way that every student can understand it and claim it for his or her own. It is an eternal benefit.
After the previous statement it goes on to say “while providing the highest quality Christian education”. The key here is that it is truly Christian education. Many schools offer a quality education, but without the Christian part it is an incomplete education. Our students are very successful academically. If you look at the universities our students have attended, the list is impressive. Ninety-seven percent of our graduates go on to college after graduation. This year, we have six of our seniors that have been accepted to the University of Florida (not an easy task). That is out of a senior class of 61. So 10% of this year’s senior class has already been accepted to UF. We have alumni that are now doctors, lawyers, and other professional occupations. The academics are here and students are getting a quality education. But what about the Christian part you may ask?
We have a goal that 25% of our graduates would go on to Christian college after high school. We have only hit that goal twice in the last twelve years, but it is still a goal. I just wonder sometimes if we are doing all that we can do. This past week I had three separate events give me a little glimpse into what is happening in the area of Christian education. First, Mikaela Bennett, last year’s Salutatorian (also at UF), emailed me and asked for a letter of reference as she was applying to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic over the summer. A day later, I received an email from Katie Renshaw. Katie is an MSN, FNP-C (that means Masters of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner - Certified) at Johns Hopkins in Washington DC. She was applying for a position on one of the Mercy Ships and asked for a reference. Finally, last night at the Global Impact Celebration banquet Robert Burrows, an IRCS alum, who is presently a missionary to Honduras shared his testimony and how he got there. It all started as an 8th grade student here. During the missions conference he was drawn to a booth of a missionary from South America. At a church service that week, he dedicated his life to go wherever Christ wanted him to go. That event started him down the path of full time missions.
So in the span of one week, I have encountered three graduates that are striving to continue to give back in the name of the Lord. What an encouragement! Not just for me, but for our staff as well. Our teachers pour their lives into their students. They get paid less than their public school counterparts yet continue to serve with all their heart. They are trying to not only fulfill the Great Commission, but the mission statement of Indian Rocks Christian School.
In a little over a week and a half, Indian Rocks Christian will be sending 185 of our high school students and 32 adults on ten different overnight mission trips. That is 76% of our high school. These trips are led by teachers going above and beyond to ensure that the students are truly getting a quality Christian education. But I’ll write more about that later.