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The Comenius School for Creative Leadership: A Model for Training Tomorrow’s Leaders

By Sandy Woods and Sarah Godwin

From the outside, it seems like any other school. The sun has been up less than an hour, and the students have been up even less than that. Cars circle a well-worn parking lot, dropping off students at the front door where smiling teachers stand welcoming each child. A few students muster a “good morning” reply, but most are the typical sleepy-headed bunch—still waking up. As they enter, the Comenius School for Creative Leadership (CSCL) students start the morning, not in separate rooms, but gathered together in the main auditorium. Like most other schools, the morning begins with announcements: a bake sale on Thursday, a home basketball game on Friday night, the winter dance is in two weeks. 

However, unlike most other schools, when announcements end, classes do not start quite yet. Before heading off to class, we prioritize time seeking the Lord and inviting His presence. Overhead lights are turned off. The room is gently lit by rays of sunlight beaming through the glass doors. A student walks to the front of the room, picks up a guitar, and requests, “Everyone find a place to be still before the Lord this morning and just listen and connect to Him.” 

While there are several principles and unique class structures that differentiate CSCL from other schools, this daily gathering, this morning chapel, dedicated to meeting with the King of Kings, is primarily what sets us apart. It is also where CSCL initiates the growth of creative leaders. We believe students can learn both how to hear from God for each other and how to lead others through the Holy Spirit. Although teachers and administrators are there for support, it’s the students who lead as we worship, pray, and grow in knowledge, setting the atmosphere before the school day, and we hope, setting the atmosphere for their lives. 

In these morning chapels, we have no agenda for the students other than to be together before the Lord. After worship and prayer, the students head out to their morning classes, encouraged to continue in the presence of the Lord throughout the day. Any student from grade six through grade twelve may be the worship leader during morning chapel, and chapel times reflect the various personalities and gifts of these student leaders. We encourage students to step up and lead in any way they feel the Lord is leading them. Therefore, worship is different every morning. Through these experiences, trial and error, these young leaders begin discovering who God has created them to be by stepping out of their comfort zones, bringing their gifts before the Lord, as well as learning to follow their peers into the Presence. Although we have no agenda, this is our highest goal. 

Another unique attribute found at CSCL is the teachers and administrators intentionally build healthy relationships with the students, so the youth feel comfortable sharing and even confronting authority when appropriate in an honorable manner. The rare relationships our staff and students have originates in our foundational relationships with the Lord. It is from building these life-giving relationships that CSCL students thrive academically.  Academic subjects are important. We guide students through each grade and subject, encouraging each individual to find the path for which they were created, cultivating their connection with Jesus as they go.

Though our highest goal is the Lord’s presence, our mandate is to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NASB 1995). At CSCL, we cherish each child, partnering with parents and the Lord to see the individual purposes for which each student was designed realized. Our students are encouraged to look and think outside of the box, following the Holy Spirit, not current cultural norms, in order to live their lives so that the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.