It was a privilege to be selected by Christian Schools Australia’s new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Daniel Pampuch, to participate in a study tour in the United States. A group of emerging leaders in Christian schools from across Australia were provided with an opportunity to attend the Global Leadership Summit in Chicago, which was held two weeks ago.
The whirlwind trip to the United States included visits to a range of Christian schools and higher education institutions including Wheaton College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Timothy Christian School and Wheaton Academy. The week concluded with the two-day Global Leadership Summit at the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.
The opportunity to visit Timothy Christian School and Wheaton Academy in Illinois provided a chance to compare and contrast Primary and Secondary Christian education between Australia and the United States. Furthermore, there was a chance to reflect on areas for growth and improvement in our delivery of Christian education in Australia. This was a timely opportunity as Northside Christian College has commenced planning in preparation for the development of the College’s 2018 Strategic Plan.
There are many Christian universities offering impressive Christian education programs throughout the United States. Many of these Colleges and Universities feature top level programs taught from a Christian worldview. Academically, Christian schools offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and adult degree-completion degrees. Our study tour included visits to Wheaton College and Indiana Wesleyan University. Both universities are highly ranked and respected in the United States as outstanding Christian education providers. I highly valued the opportunity to tour these organisations and witness examples of excellence in Christian education.
A special highlight of our trip was a visit to the Wade Centre at Wheaton College, which holds a number of artefact from a distinct group of writers. In one room sat two humble timber desks. They were quite small, donated by the families of C.S Lewis, the author of the Narnia Series and JR Tolkien the author of The Lord of the Rings. Both desks had plaques with text indicating that those books among other writings were penned on those unassuming pieces of furniture. In the corner of that same room stood a beautiful wardrobe with a plaque reading “The oak in this wardrobe was adzed, assembled and carved by Lewis’s grandfather. Even the hinges and nails were hand made.” According to Lewis’ brother, it was the inspiration for the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) was a world-class conference with 10,000 people attending on site at Willow Creek with participants travelling from all over the world. A total of 400,000 leaders participated in satellite centres in 128 countries and in 60 different languages. Among the outstanding line up of leadership experts speaking at the GLS were Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Laszlo Bock, Senior Advisor for Google, Andy Stanley, Pastor and Leadership Author, Angela Duckwork, Professor at the University of Pennsylvaia and best-selling author and Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The conference was highly engaging and offered significant input into my own personal leadership development, which will provide me with an opportunity to further contribute to the Northside Christian College school community. The presentations provided participants with a range of practical skills that can be put into practice straight away.
I am most grateful for the opportunity to participate in this study tour. I look forward to implementing a range of strategies to improve how we educate children and advance His kingdom.
Northside Christian College
31 McLeans Rd, Bundoora VIC 3083, Australia
Phone: 03 9467 2499