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Chapter 12: Grace Community School Testimonials and Conclusion

A Full Reward: Reformation Through Family-Run Christian Schools

Rev. Aaron Slack

Pastor, Author, Marketing Manager, Preschool Director

Chapter 12

Grace Community School Testimonials and Conclusion


Rebuilding is hard—to take the pieces of something big and complex, and put it back together the right way is a daunting task. This is the task Christians have been given. We at Grace Community School are in for the long haul, for a truly monumental reconstruction project: building God’s kingdom. We must rebuild our culture so that it serves God’s purposes. This is a project that will require generations of Christians working hard and following God’s commandments. For our efforts to be successful, we need people like you and me willing to labor for God’s kingdom in our holy callings. Finding one’s calling and doing it is what God wants us to do—doing anything else is wasting time, wasting work, and stealing from God and yourself. The man who labors at anything other than his calling is robbing himself of reward!

One of the great doctrines of the Reformation is that every legitimate vocation is holy. However, this does not mean that every calling will be equally rewarded. Can you think of a calling more rewardable, more far-reaching, than teaching hundreds of young, impressionable children the commandments of God each and every day? One in which you give children the wonderful gift of knowing how to read? A calling that allows you to provide valuable services (according to both God and the free market) to families who desperately need it? A calling that gives children the tools to raise themselves out of poverty and sin? I cannot. This is the calling that those of us at Grace Community School have been given. We have been called to rebuild, and to do it through the lives of young children.

Are you interested in joining the rebuilding effort? A Grace Community School apprenticeship may be right for you. I talked to members of the Grace Community School family—a community of grace made up of those who have gone through our apprenticeship program—for some insight into what they thought about our ministry and the program. Some of their comments are included in the following sections.

Our Mission

Godly change in our nation will come from the ground up, through Christian men and women working at their vocations. If you are tired of unproductive work, weary of waiting for politicians to save us, and willing to work hard, this may be for you. I will be honest: this ministry is hard work. The Peace Corps’ unofficial slogan is “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love.” This is definitely true for me and my job as a Christian school operator.

No classroom can really prepare you for life in the real world. In particular, a concrete trade such as Christian school teacher and Christian school manager requires “on the job” experience. Apprenticeship is ideal for learning this kind of vocation. A Grace Community School apprenticeship is preparation for the holy calling of running a Christian school. You have access to every advantage possible to help you succeed. You have an opportunity to be taught by people with a demonstrated ability to operate Christian schools, and to receive income at the same time. We literally pay you to learn our methods and business.

This is an apprenticeship program for people who want to change the way things are. Grace Community School is real evangelism. We minister to regular children and, through them, their parents. As I have said, the vast majority of these families are non-Christian, and indeed barely meet the definition of “family.” Rev. Moody says, “For the most part, the children who come through our doors have never been part of a real family. Their parents have always hated each other, and there has rarely been a time when they have seen their father and their mother together in the same place. In other words, the children who walk through our doors were the ones who were not aborted.” “The number of those families that are living godly lives is very minimal. The overwhelming majority live in sin and see no problem,” says Rev. Walker. In general, the parents who come through our doors are the walking dead—doomed people. However, there is hope for their children.

Grace Community School is a missionary operation, one that is self-supporting. People pay us for our product; we are not freeloaders, and neither will you be if you join us. As an apprentice, you will be making a difference in the lives of these children—providing valuable services. At the same time, you are learning a trade. It is the best of all worlds.

Many hundreds of children depend upon us daily for care, and we owe it to them to provide them a truly Christian education—for their sake, and for ours. A return to God’s law is our society’s only hope. Lest you think that Christian education consists of abstract theology and esoteric doctrines, allow me to share an anecdote. While driving around Fort Myers one day, I saw a man on the sidewalk bent over fixing a bicycle with his backside directed at passing traffic. It is not uncommon to see men, like this man, in their teens or twenty’s with their pants down around their ankles with up to a foot or more of underwear showing. This man, however, either had no underwear or had it pulled down along with his pants. He was displaying a good ninety percent of his buttocks bare to the world! Like staring at a car wreck, I had to consciously pull my gaze away from the spectacle. What came to mind was something my pastor has said about missionaries to primitive tribes. People of pagan tribes in warm countries traditionally wear few if any clothes. When missionaries come in and begin to convert the natives, one of the first things that changes is that the natives begin to put on clothing—even though the missionaries have not commanded them to. We need more missionaries in our communities! The Grace Community School apprenticeship program is an academy for self-supporting local missionaries, and we need all we can get.

We minister to these children day in and day out. They have been abandoned by their families and by the churches, but not by the Lord or by us. Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). This is our guiding principle. The ministry of Grace Community School is evangelism with teeth. Not only do these children get the Gospel, they receive training in God’s law and get to see it lived before them.

What We Do Every Day

Grace Community School is a place where the law of God is taught and respected, and where it is enforced (through our system of awards). Children learn self-discipline, self-government, and responsibility. Missionary Rachel Adams says, “When a child starts and they are so incorrigible that they tie their mother to a pole with a jump rope, then to contrast this with the child after hearing our daily Bible messages. He begins to want to dress up like the reverend. He reads his books at home. He loves to learn and study. Knowing that I am part of that is my greatest joy.” Time and time again, we have seen these changes in the children we teach. Missionary Abby Walker says, “Teaching the children to keep His commandments and to honor Him, this is what pleases God.” Teaching the Ten Commandments, and living them before our students is the heart of our ministry. Rev. Moody says “Grace Community School teaches God’s Law to children. It is the most important thing we do. In our day and age, when even Christians don’t know the Ten Commandments, moral rebellion has run rampant. The enforcing of God’s Law as children interact with their friends and their teachers at school is what develops the moral foundation for their lives.”

For many of our children, Grace Community School is the only place they will get to see people living in faithfulness to God’s covenant. “The children and families that come through our doors each day not only hear what we say, but they see what they do. A testimony of godliness lived before the eyes of each parent and child is the single most important thing I do,” says Rev. Jeremy. Missionary Amy Slack says that it is crucial to teach the the kids that, “It’s not enough to know God’s law, you must obey God’s law. Put God first and everything else falls into place.” We live in a world that has laws, physical and moral. Over and over again, I explain to my students, “When you keep God’s commandments, good things happen. When you break God’s commandments, bad things happen.” There is no greater falsehood than to give children the impression that they can live in a world that does not operate in every respect according to God’s commands.

Children at Grace Community School are taught responsibility and self-government. They learn to keep God’s commandments and to do the work God has for them. This is the foundation for a happy, successful life. The kids learn to work, and to understand that God will bless them for a job well done. We do our best to live this testimony in front of the children every day.

Along with a spiritual education, we also provide academic education. As the heirs of the Reformation and believers in the doctrine of Universal Education, our program is intensive. Children attending Grace Community School learn to read and read well at an age that experts claim is impossible. Even Christians, who should know better, have fallen behind in this battle. Rev. Moody: “It is sad to say that teaching reading in a Christian school is a revolutionary thing to do, but these days it is. Very few schools teach reading with the goal of their students knowing how to read fluently, and rarer still is the school that will teach a young child to read. A child who can read at a young age can learn much during his life. A child who cannot read until he is older will waste much of his life having to be spoon-fed topics. And, of course, the child who can read fluently at a young age turns into the man who reads well. And, a man who can read is feared in our world because the world fears that he will read the Bible. The goal of education is maturity in God’s Law, and reading is one of the first steps of that.”

A child who can read is far better prepared to discern truth from error, particularly the child who reads the Bible. This, after all, is the main reason for teaching reading. The teaching of literacy is a fundamentally religious task; is it any wonder the government opposes it? With a Grace Community School apprenticeship, you will receive the tools needed to teach children, even very young children, to read.

The Advantages of Apprenticeship

Grace Community School apprentices have come from many different places and walks of life. Apprentices often come to us with a specific goal in mind. Some, like Rev. Jeremy Walker, saw an apprenticeship as an alternative to college. “I saw it as an opportunity to get the training and degrees needed to return to my hometown and take up a teaching position in my Christian school,” he says. Rev. David Moody was intrigued by the concept of a Christian school as business. “When I saw that Dr. Ellsworth McIntyre had found a way to make a school profitable, I jumped at the idea and found out more information. If my goal of having a profitable business could be joined with my goal of getting children out of government schools, then I had found a fitting vocation.” Apprenticeship is the very best way to learn a trade.

It should also be noted that many of our apprentices have decided to stay on with us, sometimes (such as in my case) permanently. Running a Christian school is best accomplished by a married couple, with husband and wife working side by side. When God requires something, he provides a way to attain it. It may be that God will find you a mate here at Grace Community School. It happened for me!

On the Job Training and Practical Work

One of the great innovations of the Grace Community School apprenticeship program is that it more than replaces traditional college. The traditional college provides you with a degree and little else, and that at an enormous cost in both money and time. A Grace Community School apprenticeship program enriches you tremendously, provides you with credentials, and pays you for it.

You can work and earn a degree through correspondence classes with Patriot Bible University. Rev. Moody: “It enables people to get a Christian degree for a very low price.” There is no need to go off and spend time away from real life and real work just to earn a degree. Missionary Fawn Harrison says, “I like the fact that my children can do their courses while they are working and learning at Grace Community School, and that they can do them at their own pace.” For those who have already received their calling from God like my wife and I, traditional college is an unneeded detour from a vocation. My wife Amy Slack says, “Why stop your calling, doing the Lord’s work, if you don’t have to? College can’t give you the experience of teaching in an actual classroom, hence many come out of college and realize they have no gift for teaching at all. College can’t give you the gift of teaching—only God can. College just gives you a piece of paper. God rewards us for actual work.” Rev. Moody: “What one really needs is an education, not a degree.” The two are not synonymous!

A supervised apprenticeship also neatly sidesteps the moral dangers that are inherent in traditional college. “I believe that the traditional college does more harm than good,” say Rev. Moody. Amy Slack says, “Living in dorms away from parent supervision? It’s flirting with danger.” You do not need, and should not want, what traditional college offers. A three-year Grace Community School apprenticeship and correspondence college degree leaves you light years ahead of the competition in every area needed for real world work, and with your virtue intact. Not only all this, but with Bible classes at Nicene Covenant Church, you gain seminary credits as well as deep theological training—the mother of all true learning.

Perhaps the greatest advantage apprenticeship has over college is the real-life work experience it imparts. Rev. Jeremy Walker says, “Working as an apprentice at Grace Community School gives the day-to-day practical experience and skills that are required to run a Christian school.” You will leave our apprenticeship program knowing a trade—the complete set of skills needed to undertake the vocation of Christian school teacher and operator. In addition, those who complete their Grace Community School apprenticeship have the option of purchasing our Operations Manual and College Can Begin at Two Curriculum at a substantial discount. You will have all the tools as well as the know-how.

Our Children

If you have made it this far, I believe you to be a forward-looking person, a person who cares about the future. It is well said that children are the future. We are in the midst of a battle, and Scripture tells us that children are weapons in this battle. “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psa. 127:4–5). Those with children have a clear God-ordained duty to rear them in God’s way. Grace Community School is a great place to raise children! The children of apprentices have a truly unique experience, one I believe to be very much in line with what the Bible sets as an example of the ideal family experience.

I have told you that Grace Community School is a revolutionary program; the lives of the children who have grown up in it prove this beyond a doubt. It is the very antithesis of the public school. Grace Community School was founded in 1986. A number of children have by now grown up and become apprentices and successful managers of Grace Community School themselves. I talked to them as well as our many younger children as I prepared to write this chapter.

Speaking from my own personal experience, I can think of no better place to rear my children. The differences between my children and those kids we interact with on the outside are striking. “All of my kids were reading at the age of two,” says Rachel Adams. Few of the kids can even remember not being able to read. For many of them, the first thing they remember about school is learning something. They have fond memories of school activities. All I interviewed want to continue working in this ministry. Working at Grace Community School is fun! They learn so much here!

They understand the main difference between the public school and the education they are receiving: it’s the difference between God and no God. God’s law is not mentioned in the public school. Some mentioned our reading instruction, as well. One of the greatest differences between children raised in Grace Community School and those that are not is that Grace Community kids understand the importance of work. You can have fun without being idle! Children of Grace Community School apprenticeship and management families typically begin to help out around the school by the age of five or six, doing simple jobs and helping in the office. The older kids are already taking joy in helping out around the classrooms. “I love to see the smiles of the kids while they’re playing or answering a question correctly,” says Susanna Adams. Children, in the industrious Christian family, are important team members. Students benefit from seeing children behaving maturely and being productive. Amy Slack says, “I had more responsibility than the typical American child. Other kids in the neighborhood would be riding bikes and goofing off while I was cleaning windows, teaching kids reading, and so on. Responsibility made me see things differently. It gave a meaning to my life more than self-gratification. It builds character.”

The topic of so-called “socialization” is much-discussed and much-abused. Socialization as is found in public schools and typical Christian schools is really just debasement of morality. Children will sink to the lowest common denominator of morals and social interaction. The Grace Community School model does away with segregation of children by age—a hallmark of government schooling. Peers are not the best people from which to learn anything. Our kids interact with people of all ages and many different backgrounds under controlled circumstances. The combination of large families (with many siblings and cousins) and interaction with children from other families in the organized environment of the school makes for superior social skills. Rachel Adams relates, “My children socialize with all age groups—teachers, students, and parents who send their kids here. They have learned the correct ways to talk to people of all age groups. I recently had an uncomfortable meal with a high school senior in which she clearly was used to talking to only her peers. Her grammar was awful, and what’s more she seemed to be extremely naive about how the world actually works. I compare that with my middle daughter, Victoria, who went with her dance group to a retirement home. Whereas all the other children clung together in their own group, she went up to the residents and asked them questions. The social director was speechless.” “My children get lots of opportunities at school to interact with adults,” says Fawn Harrison.

Why Settle?

Are you interested in making a better future for yourself, your family, and society? Do you feel that God is leading you towards a ministry in Christian education? Why not learn how to do a ministry that maximizes returns—one that earns the fullest reward possible? You don’t have to choose between material and spiritual blessings. God does not want you to be a pauper for Jesus. Why not bypass all those things like traditional college and go straight to learning the trade of Christian school teacher and operator directly? Be a self-supporting missionary and make a difference in the world. This is what a Grace Community School apprenticeship can do for you. Those inspired to take action can find our contact information on the next page or go to www.gcsapprenticeship.com.