Thank You Lord

banffRecently I was at the Christian School’s Canada conference in Banff, Alberta with nearly 250 Christian School leaders and administrators from across the country. It was an absolute delight to be surrounded by these leaders and by the Canadian Rockies. To wake up and see the mountains (the picture to your left was the sight outside of the conference doors), to take a deep breath of the cool fall air, even to see some snow was amazing. The natural beauty around us was awe-inspiring, and I haven’t even mentioned the conference yet — which in and of itself was amazing.

As a group, we were blessed by Andy Crouch, the author of Culture Making, Playing God and Strong and Weak. And for those of you who don’t know of Andy Crouch, he is also the editor of Christianity Today, a teacher, a scholar and a musician. He led us for nearly three full days.

During the conference, Andy asked us to think about the institutions that we are leading, and to think about how our institutions thrive for our children’s children. He challenged us to make decisions today, not for our own gain, but rather for future generations. He implored us to pursue excellence, to care for the most vulnerable, to seek justice and to work at something that is for the common good. And so, as I left that conference, I left with the conviction that the leadership of Hamilton District Christian High (HDCH) must conserve the rich and worthy traditions of our school, while at the same time re-imagining and innovating a new way for this school to be relevant, authentic and integrated into the very fabric of our wider community. This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for this clarity, for a vision of what is to come for Hamilton District Christian High and for Christian Schools across the nation.

What is amazing about our community and the responsibility of leading HDCH into a future for our children’s children is that we never feel like we are doing this alone. It takes a village to run this school and we witness this every day. What a blessing it is to have so many people supporting HDCH in a way that allows for any family, regardless of finances, who desires Christian Education to access it. This isn’t done through one person, this is done by a whole community stepping up and sharing in time, energy and cost of this enterprise. As the Principal, I am blessed to know the stories of support that happen around here, and in turn we get to watch many of our students get blessed because they get to access this Exceptional Christian Education. It is an inspiring vision that we get to work towards. It isn’t always easy, but easy isn’t what we were promised. Rather, we are and were asked to be faithful, to give God the glory, and do the best with the resources that we have. Through it all, we seek to cultivate the character of our students, daily, for a life of service to our God. And for this I am inspired and thankful.

At the beginning of the conference, Andy asked the group: “How do you not smile till it hurts, with the staggering views we are blessed with here in Banff?” And then he broke us into a song called, “Thank you Lord.” He is a very talented man; when he is behind the piano and singing is where, in my opinion, he is at his best. And so, with a smile on his face, and the mountains surrounding us from all sides, we sang, “Thank you Lord.” We would sing this short song two or three times and then we would recite a Psalm in unison, and then back to the song. It was a song to remind us of God’s abundance and our place in stewarding it. And so, as I walked back up HDCH’s walkway for the first time after the conference, “Thank you Lord” was the song in my heart.

Thank you, Lord
Thank you, Lord
Thank you, Lord
I just want to Thank you, Lord!

Nathan Siebenga