Post Tenebras Lux

Illuminating the Future of Coram Deo Academy

DAVID SEIBEL

The late Peter Drucker famously wrote, “Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”

Even schools such as Coram Deo Academy must battle these three tendencies. This begs the question: How does the leadership at the Academy fight against organizational friction, confusion, and apathy? Our theme for 2019-2020, Post Tenebras Lux, answers this question by offering four perspectives or “lenses” of thought: historical, biblical, cultural, and strategic. The historical lens provides the contextual meaning of the theme, the biblical lens gives the theological significance, the cultural lens highlights the shared values, and the strategic lens illuminates future targets. Viewed together, these four lenses present a much clearer picture of Post Tenebras Lux and the fight of leadership for the growth of Coram Deo.

THE HISTORICAL LENS

Post Tenebras Lux, meaning “after darkness, light,” is a motto from the past that Coram Deo leadership has pulled into the present to better illuminate the future. 16th-century reformer John Calvin popularized this motto. For him, it meant that after centuries of graceless church life, the glorious light of the Gospel had finally broken through. The phrase Post Tenebras Lux declared that Gospel light would no longer stay locked away in the clerical priesthood or the Latin Bible but rather would shine throughout the world. Calvin passionately spread this light by preaching the word at St. Peters, where his expositional sermons numbered in the thousands.

          For Calvin, the darkness represented 16th-century Catholic church, as it hid the Gospel, whereas the light represented biblical preaching. For Coram Deo Academy, the darkness represents the 21st-century schools’ hiding of the Gospel and the light represents academic discipleship. The 12,000 hours spent in grades K-12 have systematically hidden the light of the glory of God. This simply not part of Coram Deo’s mission. Post Tenebras Lux, a motto from the past, teaches us about the present and guides our Academy into the future.

THE BIBLICAL LENS

Post Tenebras Lux connects directly with Matthew 5:14-16, which declares, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” This verse calls the disciples not to hide their spiritual transformation but to let it shine in the darkness of worldly unbelief.

          To understand how this applies to education, we should consider Matthew 5:19, 18:6, and 19:14. Just two verses after the section on light in Matthew 5, Jesus states that “anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Anyone who teaches others to neglect biblical commandments will be humbled. Similarly, in Matthew 18:6, Jesus says “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Adults who cause little ones to stumble in their faith have a severe consequence coming to them. “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus finally says in Matthew 19:14, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

          According to Scripture, we should abhor neglecting to teach obedience (5:19), causing little ones to stumble (18:6), and guarding little ones from coming to Jesus (19:14). Unfortunately, traditional schools break all three of these guidelines. They neglect to teach Scripture, silence the authoritative voices of Christian teachers, and prevent opportunities for children to come to Jesus by maintaining the facade of institutional neutrality. For Coram Deo Academy, Post Tenebras Lux is a decisive stand against this so-called neutrality and in favor of shining Christ’s light before students.

A motto from the past, Post Tenebras Lux teaches us about the present & guides our Academy into the future.

THE CULTURAL LENS

A healthy and growth-focused school is the key to transforming the next generation. Post Tenebras Lux is an instructive motto for our overall culture because it reminds the faculty, families, administration, and Board to act as light. This identity determines our activities. As such, Coram Deo leadership aims to live by the following illuminating values:

1. Clarity: Setting clear targets to cast out vagueness
2. Direction: Intentionally planning to progress toward targets
3. Distinctive DNA: Pursuing operational excellence as driven by identity
4. Great Commission Growth: Growing as a healthy body
5. Passion: Unwavering in our commitment to endure trials for the good of others

These five values describe the functions of light. Living in the light of these values will cause the overall culture to become even more healthy and growth-focused, fighting friction, confusion, and apathy while bearing fruit.

THE STRATEGIC LENS

To move from values to action, the leaders at Coram Deo have committed to a unified leadership team, lasting partnership, durable discipleship, and serious scholarship. 

          Unified Leadership: For 2019-2020, Coram Deo has adopted a team leadership model. After spending untold hours together over the summer, our Faculty and Staff started the year with a great sense of intention, purpose, and skill.

          Lasting Partnership: Coram Deo exists to assist parents in their duty of biblically training their children. We have taken intentional steps to implement this mission by setting aside time on the calendar. Consider Dad’s Day, the morning of which all Coram Deo fathers can share breakfast with their students and enjoy a conversation about blessing their families.

          Durable Discipleship: Coram Deo has instituted the Guilds system to place all K-8 students in a group that will each lunch together and compete in monthly contests. Grace grows within the context of relationships, so the guilds will help students grasp our mission. Likewise, grade levels integrate during lunch and chapel to encourage big to take care of little.

          Serious Scholarship: The quality of the teacher is the primary factor that affects student achievement. Through classroom observations, intentional training in Classical pedagogy, and a growth-focused faculty culture, we believe that student achievement will continue to increase.

          In the end, Coram Deo Academy sits under God’s leadership because we live before Him. When Drucker says “everything else requires leadership,” we take that to mean everything we do requires God’s presence and power. Unless God builds the house, the Coram Deo Academy leadership team labors in vain. So as we seek to live out this theme of Post Tenebras Lux, we trust that God has already gone before us.

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