Over the course of the past year, we have all learned a great deal about the value of collaboration. Christian schools have led the way in learning from one another to ensure our schools open safely and provide the best possible education to our students. What we have accomplished by the seemingly endless Zoom calls and webinars, by the corporate prayer with peers across the country, and the dedication to the families we serve was possible because we did it together. It was synergy. That synergy is what we have experienced, too, as we—along with many other Christian education leaders from across the world—have come together regularly over the past two years to envision an event that brings Christian schools worldwide together for a few days at Converge 2022.
We are both science aficionados, so a good technical definition is admittedly more exciting for us than for most; at the risk of boring you so early in this post, we wanted to bring you the definition of synergy: “The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” There are some important aspects of for us to digest here.
First, we wanted to highlight the importance of the word “cooperation.” While we each lead an organization with a purposeful mission, our missions are distinctive from one another. Any organization ought to have their own flavor, their own strategic plan, their own rhythm, and their own priorities—the things that set them apart from others in their market. That doesn’t change when organizations cooperate, and increasingly, we see the benefits of synergy across industries.
We also wanted to highlight the last clause in the definition of synergy: “produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” This is an important idea for us to recognize; by cooperating in the planning of Converge, we are multiplying—not adding—the effects of our separate organizations. As CESA and ACSI come together with ten other organizations across the world to bring Converge to life, we hope to witness the multiplication of the outcomes because we are together. Our hope and prayer are that the synergy of this event will allow for us to experience something that we could not experience on our own. We are not aiming to add the CESA Symposium to the ACSI Roundtables to all of the other incredible gatherings that are a part of the fabric of our host organizations, but to do something more than the sum of our parts. Converge is just that—an opportunity to experience the larger story of what the Lord is doing in Christian schools across the world, and to think together about how our schools can serve the Lord as we look to the future.
In Hebrews 10:24–25, we hear the following, “And let us consider how we may spur one another ontoward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging oneanother—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” In this verse we learn that there is something vitally important about meeting together for the sake the spiritual health of the body of believers. As we come together in San Diego in March of 2022, we have the opportunity to do just that—to encourage one another in the work we are doing in every part of the world.
Lastly, when we come together, we prioritize our mutual interests rather than our differences, seeking to strengthen our relationships for our common purpose. In doing so, we deepen our relationships through sharing our challenges, celebrating one another’s successes, through knowing one another more deeply. It is the kind of humility that Paul describes in Philippians 2:3–4 and as the correct posture of believers: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
We hope this kind of synergy is an encouragement for our schools across the world, and perhaps more importantly a city on a hill that can be compelling for our larger communities and cultures. We hope that you can experience this synergy that has brought us together with so many other incredible leaders of those who care deeply about Christian schools at Converge 2022.
About the Authors
Dr. Kathryn Wiens is the Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability and a Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Along with her teaching at Kennesaw State University, Gordon College, and Cairn University, she has done extensive research and writing on independent and faith-based schools as well as single-gender education. She holds a doctorate in education from Boston University. Having worked in both public and independent schools, Wiens has served as Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Admissions, Science Department Chair, and has taught chemistry and biology. Her publications include a book on single-gender education, multiple journal articles, co-editor of a book on school leadership.
Dr. Larry Taylor is the president of ACSI. He previously spent 20 years as the head of school at Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) in Plano, Texas, during which time Dr. Taylor co-launched a national training institute for schools, “Becoming a Kingdom School Institute,” and developed a training program for parents titled, “Becoming a Kingdom Family.” Dr. Taylor authored the book Running with the Horses, which helps parents raise children to be servant-leaders for Christ and helps to build a family plan.