In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent, coming up in just a few Sundays, Jesus takes Peter, John and James up a mountain where he is transfigured
Notice the significance of the “three;” Three disciples; Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus; the two thieves crucified with Jesus; the three people in a marriage (husband, wife and God), and, of course, the Holy Trinity.
Today, in every situation, there are always “three” forces at work, and, since Jesus said “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there,” that’s empowering when you’re making an ask for a major gift…but more about that at another time.
Impetuously, Peter wants to build three booths so Moses, Elijah and Jesus could remain there. Right after that, however, is where Jesus says that he must suffer and die, and told the three of His companions not to say anything about the vision until Jesus rose from the dead.
Now how does that relate to your school?
The disciples (learners, if you will), were given a vision. Not only a vision in terms of what they saw, but they saw what could be! Not only could they see what could be, it was a compelling vision. Peter “got it” right away! He wanted Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay there, and probably wanted to stay there too!
So are you giving your school’s learners (both students and their parents) a compelling vision? Are you telling them not only what you’re about (mission), but where you want to be (vision) next year, three years, five years down the road? You certainly want your students to “stay” in your school until the graduate!
Parents today want to know why they should pay thousands of dollars for their children to be educated in faith-based schools. Academic excellence? They’ve come to expect that. Formation in the Faith? Indeed, another expectation. Especially today, after hearing recent news reports, a safe and caring environment? They expect that wherever their children are!
And they want…no, EXPECT, even MORE!
Today’s parents, members of Generation X and the Millennial generations, ALWAYS want more.
One of the problems, however, is they don’t always know exactly what they want. They know what they expect, though…and you can’t market your school on expectations. That’s like saying the new model year of a car you’ve had your eye on has some great features – like brakes, a steering wheel and a reverse gear so you can go backwards!
As followers of Jesus, we are called – compelled, if you will – to give more, and it’s something we MUST do! Isn’t it interesting that what parents of our students want is exactly what we’re supposed to do?
Recall the Gospel of Matthew, who was a tax collector. Also recall the even though he knew quite a bit about money, he wasn’t made the treasurer of the group. That was Judas’ role. In Matthew 5, Jesus says “You have heard that it was said….but I say to you…” and he said that a number of times! For instance, when Jesus says, “If someone sues you for your tunic, give him your cloak as well!” it proves that Jesus’ love goes beyond what the law says to do (what’s expected), and goes the extra mile giving more than what’s expected.
If you show people what can be, you give them hope. Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Since we can never fully know and understand God in our human existence, then God is there in the imagination – the “dream,” if you will. It’s probably one of the reasons why in Scripture, angels appear to people with great faith in their dreams. Why? Because God can speak to us only when we are silent and take the time to listen to Him.
And today, sometimes the only time we take not to be distracted by the news, the media, the mobile device and the arguments and getting the taxes done on time is when we’re sleeping, since God never sleeps.
Next week – a practical example.
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2023 (Original version publication date: 20080218)