November 11, 2019
In the most recent Gallup polls Americans are increasingly concerned about a variety of things in the United States today. According to Gallup, Americans cite the greatest problems in the country as the government, immigration, and healthcare. In another study pollster George Barna says that young adults, (ages 18 – 35) believe that there is a leadership crisis for dealing with the problems that we face and they are uneasy about the future and are skeptical of the kind of leaders that could make a difference.
Someone once said that for most of us, the easiest way to think about making a difference in this world is to inspire one person first. Everyone can inspire at least one person, to begin with. It’s a simple, measurable and an achievable goal that will show you what’s possible. There’s no need to aim for millions of people when one person can be the catalyst for everything you do going forward.
For those of us in Christian educators the issue is really who matters, and who is really making a difference in the world today. I personally believe that some of the people who are making a difference in our world are right here on the FCS faculty. As I hear of how our teachers have shared words of encouragement to their students, and how they are challenging them to become leaders and change makers in the world, my heart is filled with gratitude. I am encouraged with the impact our teachers have on the lives of the students who walk our hallways each day.
Paul talked to the Corinthian church about how what really makes a difference for the believer is receiving the praise of God. In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, he said, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judges me is the Lord. Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
Here at FCS we have many great examples of faithful servants who have made a difference over the years and have been found faithful. One of them is our high school principal, Mr. Jim Arnold, who has made a difference in the lives of many students. Mr. Arnold came to Florida Christian in 1976 and has been at FCS ever since. He embodies the idea of servant leadership, which is such a vital part of Christian education and is a foundational tenant of Florida Christian School.
Mr. Arnold started his educational career at Temple Heights Christian School in Tampa, Florida where he taught Bible and math and coached football. During his years at FCS he has truly done a little bit of everything. He has taught Bible and math and coached several sports, including varsity football and baseball. He has served as FCS’s athletic director, dean, and for the past 27 years as the high school principal. The number of students lives he has impacted in all of these endeavors will only be known in eternity. When alumni come back to campus, they always find their way into Mr. Arnold’s office to recall the days of getting their schedule right, memories of a particular baseball or football game, or just high fiving at the cafeteria door every day. He indeed has made a difference for the Lord here at FCS.
A wise man once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” At FCS, our teachers and administrators do just that. Even though national polls may discourage us, and a generation questions the leadership of the older generation, the example of faithful leadership is still evident. As parents and faculty here at FCS, the time we pour into our students, and ultimately our graduates, does really matter. And that’s why we can truthfully say, “The world needs more graduates from Florida Christian School who have been impacted by faithful faculty like Mr. Arnold.” The legacy inspired by faithful parents and teachers will be with all of the young people who have been impacted by their lives forever. We also know that if we are faithful, when we stand before God, we will receive the “praise of God” for our faithful service and will be found faithful as stewards of God’s work in our homes and at FCS.