A Family Calling
Rev. Aaron Slack
Anyone can find a job. Most people have many jobs as they go through life. A job is good, but what a Christian needs to find is a calling. People flit from workplace to workplace and field to field like a butterfly, working and working at many different things but never really finding their calling.
A calling is essential. To put it simply, a calling is what God has put you on earth to do. It is more than a job, it is a holy endeavor. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:” (Psalm 127:1) Work done outside a calling is vain labor! It is a symptom of the watering down of Christianity that we limit the term “calling” to mean full-time Christian ministry. When we do this, we are relinquishing one of the great victories of the Reformation: the doctrine that every legitimate occupation is a holy calling. Most people never discover their calling, or if they do they flee from it.
Any lawful occupation can be a calling. If you are called to be an electrician, then be the best electrician you can be to the glory of God! This does not mean, however, that all callings are created equal. Some are more worthy of reward than others. If you are reading this, you may have decided that perhaps your calling lies somewhere in the domain of Christian education; this is a broad field.
While some practitioners of Christian education work in colleges, high schools, and elementary schools, what could be more rewarding than doing what Grace Community School does: teaching reading and the Word of God to young children, being a blessing to the youngest and most neglected members of society (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) and their families? The target of our ministry is not the only thing that sets Grace Community School apart. Many ministries serve primarily a particular church, denomination, or other organization – in other words, God’s Kingdom is not the focus. This includes Christian schools. If the school is controlled by a church, be sure that the school will serve the church’s interest. For this reason, a Christian ministry needs to be independent of church control, as well as donor control; it needs to be financially independent. The Grace Community School Apprenticeship Program, along with our Manual and Curriculum, gives you the tools to set up and operate such a self-supporting and hence independent ministry.
It is a great challenge raising a family in today’s society. How do you keep your family faithful, avoiding the pitfalls of the world, while at the same time following Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations? It is an accomplishment today if a family manages to stay together, supports itself, and keeps itself holy. It is more than most can manage. What if you could do more? This is what Grace Community School does. God has not called us to withdraw from the world, but to change it. Be as this may, many Christian families have decided the only way to raise their children up in the nurture and admonition of the world is to separate themselves from it. There are other challenges.
Today’s families are fragmented. Even in families with a mother and father living together (no longer something to be taken for granted), the parents have separate callings. Usually the father works in one place at one occupation while the mother works in a different one or (in the case of homeschooling families) stays at home and is almost solely responsible for the care and education of the children. Families working together in a joint calling are a rarity, a thing almost unheard of. The closest thing we have to this ideal today is the family farm, one of the last great family callings in which each member of the family, youngest to oldest, must contribute for the success of the family.
It has not always been this way. A more biblical model is for all parts of the family unit to work together doing God’s work and helping others, not just supporting family members, although of course this must also be done. Families are the building blocks of Godly society – they must come first. You do not sacrifice your family in a Grace Community School apprenticeship. Many young men and women have been able to find a spouse during their time with us as apprentices, finding a partner who shares the same calling: ministering to preschool children. Most of the people who come to apprentice with Grace Community School are single people looking for both spouses and a means to support their spouse when they find one. It is never too early to start preparing. Those who work here as apprentices or managers at Grace Community School have something most families can only dream about: the opportunity to work at a calling side-by-side, educate their children themselves in a Christian school environment controlled by themselves, and evangelize to those outside their family. It’s the Dominion Mandate and the Great Commission rolled into one!
The ministry we do, and you will apprentice to do, is a ministry best done by a family together. The everyday things a family does take on a special meaning when they are done as part of a larger whole. It’s homeschooling, but better! There is something else: the biblical family is a productive one. This includes fiscal productivity. Taking dominion requires capital. God does not intend for His families to be poor. While of course there are exceptions, Scripture teaches that “the laborer is worthy of his hire” and also that His blessings include wealth to believers in this life as well as the life to come. The industrious family working together creates wealth. The best way to do this is the family business. When this business is also a ministry, such as is Grace Community School, so much the better!
The Grace Community School system, which you will be taught as an apprentice, enables you to take care of your family, work with your spouse, educate your children, and at the same time reach out to others with the Gospel and the gift of literacy. We do this as families, not by sending our children out to be missionaries in the public school, but by bringing children to us. We act as surrogate families for the children in our care, working together building God’s kingdom. The GCS Apprenticeship Program is preparation for a calling that encompasses the entire family. If you want to both support your future family and earn a reward in Christian ministry, one where a family is a blessing not a hindrance, this is the place.
Rev. Aaron M. Slack is the manager of a family-run Christian school in Fort Myers, Florida, along with his wife, Amy, and five children. He is the son of a pastor, and has lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. He moved to Florida in 1994 and has worked for Grace Community School since 2001. He has a Masters degree in Christian Education from Patriot Bible University. He enjoys computers, science fiction, reading, and coffee. Find out more about the Grace Community School Apprenticeship Program at www.gcsapprenticeship.com