Just prior to heading into the summer vacation, the secondary staff gathered together to have their final meeting of the year. At the tail end of the meeting, one of the staff members, Gary Verbeek—in typical Gary fashion—took over the meeting and announced that the staff needed to listen to a praise song by a new band that nobody had heard of. He also suggested we use it as the theme song for the next school year (since Gerry Goertzen had announced that we were looking for one).
I happened to be in this meeting and at the time was distracted by the fact that Gary could just take over the meeting and insist the whole staff stay and listen to the song. However, by the end of the song, (because of both the catchy tune and the lyrics) I decided to research the song further and look into the band—The Rend Collective Experiment.
Here is a paraphrased version of what I found:
The Rend Collective Experiment is a collection of young 20-year-olds from Northern Ireland who decided to play worship songs together around a campfire while camping. Each evening around the campfire, more and more people would show up with their instruments and worship together. The core group decided to write a few songs and take their show on the road…and the band became a hit.
I tried booking them for our 60th anniversary—they cost $10,000 for a 3 hour concert! Needless to say, we went in a different direction.
A key secret to their success is their focus on staying true to who they are and how they started.
Compare that to ACS’ story:
In the early 50’s, a small group of European immigrants decided they wanted to start a school that reflected their values at home and at church. They wanted to teach their children this whole world belongs to God. They were defined by a close community of people united by a common vision, an entrepreneurial spirit that led them to make bold decisions, and a desire to come alongside their Lord in the redemption process. Fast forward to 2014, and we can still lay claim to what defined us when we started. We have grown, evolved and become a very different school than when we started; but at our core, we are still a school that desires to come alongside God in the redemptive process. It is in part because of our founders back in the early 50’s that we can sing with gusto a line from our theme song:
“Increase in us we pray, unveil why we’re made.”
We are God’s image bearers who are busy unveiling the truth of God faithfulness in our world. We are doing this in the context of Christian education. And we have been doing it for 60 years.
“Come set our hearts ablaze with hope,
Like wildfire in our very souls.
Holy Spirit come invade us now.
We are your church,
we need your power in us.
BUILD YOUR KINGDOM HERE …” (You know the rest.)