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Helping Children Reach Their God-given Potential

posted on June 30, 2015, under Conference, Education by

Frank Runnelsby Frank Runnels, Vice President
Florida Conference Office of Education

I once attended a lecture highlighting the life of Thomas Edison and his most successful invention, the light bulb. The speaker stressed the value of learning to embrace failures as opportunities and developing perseverance as a talent for success. Also of note, Edison conducted more than 10,000 failed experiments before he achieved his ultimate success.

In reality, Edison never set out to create a light bulb. His purpose was to help people see in the dark, and I ultimately came to view Edison’s success in that purpose as the real triumph. Likewise, the staff of Florida Conference’s Office of Education believes its purpose goes far beyond the oversight and management of an education system. Instead, it is grounded in a belief that “every child has the right to reach their God-given potential,” which has become our department’s motto. This conviction fuels our passion, drives our mission, and motivates us to be and to do. It is best realized in our commitment to grow teachers, nurture students, support educators, and live Christ’s love.

Jeremy Davis, literacy teacher at Sawgrass Adventist School in Plantation, participated in this summer’s Reader’s Workshop. The training event incorporated student volunteers including Maggie Dehlinger, a third-grader from Forest Lake Education Center in Longwood. (Photo: Luke Evans)

Jeremy Davis, literacy teacher at Sawgrass Adventist School in Plantation, participated in this summer’s Reader’s Workshop. The training event incorporated student volunteers including Maggie Dehlinger, a third-grader from Forest Lake Education Center in Longwood. (Photo: Luke Evans)

We intentionally trust God to create a climate where Excellence in Education is again defined by the greatness of the One who is with us, in us, and for us. The outgrowths of this paradigm challenges students through a wealth of talented teachers, cutting-edge strategies, and meaningful content. We strive to produce learners who have truly been with and experienced Jesus (Acts 4:13). This, in turn, will produce an enduring culture where Christ is vividly portrayed as the Master Teacher and the One who is ever lovely, powerful, and present.

As a result, our moral imperative is to “value others the way our Heavenly Father values us.” A value not only grasped through curriculum, professional development, and initiatives, but that which also must be lived daily within the context of purposeful interactions and interpersonal relationships.

First seen within our education system, this value must then be extended into the communities where our schools exist. While we are grateful for the unparalleled support we receive from our Conference leadership, pastors, churches, hospitals, and constituents, we rejoice and praise God all the more for what He is doing through the lives of our colleagues who are helping students make decisions to follow Jesus. They tirelessly guide future leaders to understand and accept the sufferings with Christ to be of greater value than anything this world can offer (Hebrews 11:24-25).

That, to me, is the Gospel in education, and that purpose will invigorate and sustain us. The good news is that Christ is all, and He is with us! He is seen throughout our system—specifically in our students who will take His message to the world through academic prowess and purpose-driven careers.

I encourage your support, prayer, and commitment of your lives to these children who God will bless and use to light up this world with His glory. Please covenant with us in this journey to create a culture of innovation, character development, collaboration, civic mindedness, and academic, spiritual, and social excellence. This will uplift Christ while exposing the enemy for who he really is in this world—a liar and the defeated one!

The current issue of Florida Focus contains incredible stories occurring within our education system. These stories will also be available through the Florida Conference news feed. While I trust you will be inspired by new buildings, projects, committed leaders, and possibilities for the future, I hope most of all you see the imprints of our Savior Jesus Christ, our founder, foundation, and our all and all.


1 Comment for this entry

  • Glenn Timmons

    I was touched by your words. I am seeking by God’s Grace to allow Christ to be my all in all. Pray for me that truly I will Follow His Greatness. This is my theme for West Palm Beach Jr. Academy. May God continue to Lead You as you serve Him.

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