Strategic Plan 2016-2019
The 2016-19 VCS Strategic Plan comes with a story that I am privileged to tell. It is a story filled with awe and wonder watching God work out His sovereign plan for our school. It is a story in which the Board of Directors (and others from the community) have been honored to play a role. It is a story of difficulty, deliverance, and gratitude. Lastly, it is a story of active listening and discernment to determine God’s will.
On Thanksgiving 2013, Valley Christian was without a Superintendent. With three leaders in seven years, our school was thirsting for steady guidance. In December 2013, a Superintendent Search Committee was formed. The committee’s goal was to either: 1) Hire a full time Superintendent or 2) Recommend an interim for the 2014-15 school year. Because we only had two months to complete our task, the opinion of the Board was that we would most likely recommend hiring an interim Superintendent. Then, the Board prayed and gave it to God.
The Superintendent Search Committee was careful not to get ahead of God. We simply “threw out the net” to see who would be interested in the role at such a late stage of the search process (most Superintendent searches start in the summer). Our fall back position would be to hire an interim leader if there were no worthy candidates. Ron Taylor emerged, feeling God tugging at his heart to move while at Bellevue Christian Schools. If we had started the search process earlier, Ron would not have been interested. The Board of Directors was amazed that God blessed us with such an outstanding candidate at such a critical time for our school. Ron became our Superintendent in July 2014.
Ron showed tremendous leadership during the 2014-15 school year, including hiring VCHS Principal Troy Stahl. In the fall of 2015 we asked Ron to develop a draft of a new 2016-19 Strategic Plan. Ron presented his draft plan at the Board Retreat in January 2015. The plan included some “out of the box” ideas which confirmed why we hired Ron – to challenge us. However, as the Board reviewed the draft plan, we didn’t feel we were ready to discuss the ideas without the proper prayer, reflection, and discernment. We put the strategic plan on hold. Then, the Board prayed and gave it to God.
Over the summer of 2015, the Board read a book called “When the Soul Listens” by Jan Johnson. This book provided the proper training on the gift of active listening or discernment. The Board also engaged certain members of the VC community who have these spiritual gifts to join us on this journey. On September 19, 2015 the Board and these community members met for a retreat. The goal was to practice active listening such that “the right VC Board issues would emerge with the right spirit from the collective body.” The goal was not to SOLVE the issues, but to simply develop the list. After a wonderful time together of prayer, reflection, and discussion, a detailed list of Board issues was developed.
A Strategic Plan Task Force was formed to review the Board issues and sort them into common themes, and were presented at a second Board retreat on January 23, 2016 with the same group of people. After a time of prayer, reflection, and discernment, the group reviewed the themes and discussed tactics on how to address them. The result is the 2016-19 Strategic Plan.
I tell you this story to make you aware that this plan is part of a spiritual journey for the Valley Christian Board of Directors. It has been developed with God’s leading by remembering God’s faithfulness when we needed a Superintendent and a High School Principal. It has been developed by not moving forward without pausing to listen to God.
The overall theme of the plan is to consider who are we and where are we going. The Board is committed to answering these questions in the next three years. We plan to wrestle with some difficult issues that have not been addressed before. I believe the Board is well positioned to do this now. Why? Because of the story I just told. We are continuing to pray and give everything to God.
Jeff Westra, Board President