Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Our Pastors and Schools Make a Great Team

Over the past few years, I’ve had a few opportunities to participate in committees tasked with hatching ideas that breathe new life into our education system in North America. Invariably the conversation turns to the pastor/school relationship.

Editorial by Darren Wilkins, principal of Spring Valley Academy

Centerville church pastor Bill Hrovat baptizes Noah Hahn, a fourth-grade student.  Centerville church pastor Bill Hrovat baptizes Noah Hahn, a fourth-grade student.

Too often these conversations focus on negative examples: A teacher feels the pastor doesn’t see her work with students as an integral part of the church’s mission. A pastor feels hamstrung by the church’s heavy financial commitment to the school. Each feels unsupported by the other.

Sometimes I want to stand up and shout, “Not at my school! Not at my church!” For a great example of the wonderful things that can happen when this relationship is healthy, I give you Spring Valley Academy (SVA).

On any given day, I can’t walk our halls without bumping into a pastor from one of our four constituent Ohio Conference churches. You might see Elliot Smith, pastor for young adults/college ministries at the Kettering church, giving guitar and ukulele lessons to young students. Jeremy Wong, youth pastor at the Centerville church, could be giving baptismal studies to middle school students. Kasper Haughton Jr., technical director and youth pastor for the Kettering church, might be rehearsing with the high school praise team for Wednesday morning chapel. Karl Haffner, Kettering’s senior pastor, meets with a group of students in the cafeteria every Thursday morning. Bill Hrovat, pastor of evangelism at the Centerville church, could be conducting a lunchtime Bible study with third-graders. Winston Baldwin, Centerville’s senior pastor, even gave up a recent Sunday morning to help me interview a potential new teacher. Roy Nelson, pastor of the Beavercreek church, chairs an important committee. And, I’m just scratching the surface.

Darren Wilkins Darren Wilkins

When it comes to pastoral support, nobody has it better than SVA. What a difference these leaders make in the lives of our kids. And, their congregations follow their lead in supporting the school, teachers and students. Their efforts yielded eternal benefits with 12 students choosing to be baptized just this school year. Kudos to our pastors! We make a great team.

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