As we wrap up our first semester at the new campus this week, we are grateful for themany blessings we have received since we have moved into this space. Today, I want to focus on one specific blessing: Common Grounds. There are many people to thank for the success of Common Grounds, but I will highlight a few. First, thank you to theCommon Grounds committee, including co-chairs, Janna VanEssen and Natasha Corcoran, Anita Beezhold and Gina Gaich. Their leadership and vision has taken
an idea and made it into a reality that services hundreds of kids each day. Thank you to Carol VanDrunen, our very own Common Grounds barista. Every weekday morning, she is up before anyone else making coffee, preparing the baked goods, and putting thefinishing touches on the menu for the day. She greets every student with a smile and a kind word. Carol has brought so much joy to this building and we appreciate her so much. Finally, thank you to all of the volunteers who come each and every day to spend time with our students. The students love seeing their parents and grandparents
come to school and then make them a mean hot chocolate. On behalf of the kids and Illiana, thank you.
Common Grounds has helped to continue building a culture focused on community in this new campus. It is so cool to see kids sitting down and drinking an iced coffee or hot chocolate and talking with each other. When a student is having a bad day, a friend will buy them something from Common Grounds. When a student has a birthday, someone will buy them something at Common Grounds. When they just feel like being generous, a student will buy a friend something from Common Grounds. Kids hang out
before and after school just to get a taste of our famous hot chocolate (move over Starbucks!). Kids interact with volunteers and workers, demonstrating how this entire community has a role in Christian Education.
As we move forward into a new semester, we are introducing a new ministry called “TheGrounds.” This is an attempt to continue to build community while simultaneously providing a place to talk about the gospel in small group settings. A couple of days each month, students will have the opportunity to sign up to be in a small group where we drink coffee or hot chocolate, eat a muffin and discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ. Students will be able to choose a time before school, during their study hall or after school. We will have themes each time, but this will also be a time for students to ask questions and wrestle with the topics that are on their hearts and minds. I will be running these groups, but I will also bring other people in from time to time, especially when we have a topic that might be above my paygrade. We are stronger together and these times will provide the opportunity to meet new people, strengthen old relationships, walk through the Bible, and engage in questions about life and the Gospel. We will be
introducing this concept to the student body next week, but we are excited about this new way to build community and the faith of our students. Because we have some amazing donors in our community who share our vision of growing the hearts and minds of our students for Jesus Christ, this will be free to students. Please pray that this will impact many of our kids and that a small cup of coffee will spur conversation that strengthens their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Lance Davids, Director of Advancement, Vision and Development