November Blog

November Blog

Welcome to the 2022-23 Head of School Blog. I publish these the last Saturday of every month on topics that relate to our mission, our culture, and the specific things we do to give your children the best possible education here at NCS. I hope you will be encouraged by them. If you ever have questions or requests related to this blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I love hearing from our families and would be delighted to discuss past, current or future topics. Thanks for reading!


November 2022


As we collectively enter this season of Thanksgiving, wherein we point our gratitude toward our Maker, I would encourage you to consider a few things: ‘enoughness,’ source-thinking, and action. 

Enoughness is the concept of identifying exactly what is enough for you. What is it that truly satisfies? Name it, identify the relationship that enlivens the experience on this earth, and firmly commit to that relationship. Prioritize it above all else, not to the exclusion of everything else, but so that everything else might have its proper place in life. 

Source-thinking is the concept of looking behind the curtain. At my house, we usually go around the table and people say what they’re thankful for. It is, understandably, fairly surface because we’re usually very ready to eat at that point! Family, friends, food. All of this is true. However, true gratitude comes to our heart when we get beneath the surface and ask, “Why?” Why is this person, relationship, or material blessing something for which I am grateful? When we begin to answer the “why” question, we see our motives and the true blessings we experience.

Action. Once we’ve identified the relationships that mean the most, this knowledge should lead to action. Express gratitude to that person. Specifically and in detail. This exercise will actually benefit you more than that person, but that’s not the point. This one action can lead to others, like a spark can start a brush fire of gratitude and lift up the whole community. 

These are some simple things we can do this Thanksgiving that will brighten our hearts and the hearts of those around us, all in service to the King of Kings, as we seek to glorify Him with our every thought and deed. We don’t do these actions to make our lives easier, but to make Him known. These demonstrations of love are the way in which the world will know we are His disciples (John 13:35). 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break and may we all experience the joy that this holiday is intended to bring.

On the Beaten Path

On the Beaten Path

October 2022


We did an interesting activity in parent meetings this week, where each person was asked to choose a picture that described what Norfolk Christian meant to them from a group of random objects. The stories were sometimes amusing but often quite powerful. One parent chose a key, to show the confidence her child’s teachers have unlocked by encouraging his ideas. Another chose a carabiner, because no matter where her children go, they are attached to and supported by the loving NCS community. One mom selected a card with multiple objects, in appreciation of the ways her four children, all with very different personalities and learning styles, have been uniquely loved, cared for and challenged.  

In choosing my own card, I was immediately drawn to the picture of train tracks, for two reasons. First, Proverbs 22:6 has been a foundational verse in my life, as both a parent and a Christian educator: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is one of the promises we stand on as we partner with you to nurture Christ-centered children and young adults. 

The second reason I chose train tracks recalls my youth growing up in the farmland of Western Pennsylvania. Dirt lanes were common, so I grew up driving to locations with no lane markings. The only things drivers had to guide them were the tracks created by other cars that had traveled the road before them. Those well-worn ruts were what kept cars and people safe on bumpy, unpredictable ground. Of course, every teenage boy had the same idea at some point, of blazing his own trail outside of the smooth path created by other cars. It didn’t take long for most of us to learn that venturing over the sides of those tracks was not easy or pleasant, (especially for the undercarriage!); the steep boundaries worn into the path would quickly jar you right back to the smooth terrain you were hoping to leave.

This is really what we do here at Norfolk Christian. In training our students to understand God’s Word and how He wants us to live, we are creating that well-worn path that will guide them as they travel through the uncertain terrain of life. Countless teachers, coaches, mentors, and parents have driven the path ahead of them, etching those boundaries into an otherwise turbulent landscape. And while some of our Ambassadors will faithfully stick to the smooth tracks, others will want to experience life outside of them. When they start to veer away from the straight and narrow, our prayer is that the ruts we’ve built into their lives will push them back to the safety of God’s Truth. 

During the picture activity I spoke of earlier, one of our directors chose the photo of a plastic monkey from a Barrel of Monkeys game. He explained that, to him, Norfolk Christian is a place where our community – from students to staff to alumni to parents and families – is linked arm and arm, held together by Jesus Christ, and all striving for the common purpose of molding young Ambassadors who will serve Him as they go into the world.

This is why we exist–to equip Ambassadors for Christ, by laying the groundwork within community that will guide them as they face unseen and unexpected challenges. Thank you for your partnership in this mission!

Welcome to the 2022-23 Head of School Blog. I publish these the last Saturday of every month on topics that relate to our mission, our culture, and the specific things we do to give your children the best possible education here at NCS. I hope you will be encouraged by them. If you ever have questions or requests related to this blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I love hearing from our families and would be delighted to discuss past, current or future topics. Thanks for reading!

August 2022 Blog

August 2022 Blog

Welcome to the 2022-23 Head of School Blog. I publish these the last Saturday of every month on topics that relate to our mission, our culture, and the specific things we do to give your children the best possible education here at NCS. I hope you will be encouraged by them. If you ever have questions or requests related to this blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I love hearing from our families and would be delighted to discuss past, current or future topics. Thanks for reading!


August 2022

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2


In his book All In, Mark Batterson talks about “The Inverted Gospel.” He contends that many Christians believe they’re following Christ, they want and mean to be following Jesus, but in reality, they have invited Jesus to follow them. They may have invited Him to be their Savior, but they haven’t allowed Him to be the Lord of their lives. 

This year, our school-wide theme is “Transformed.” In digging into it over the past two months, I’ve realized why Christians struggle with big concepts like this one, myself included. Our nature is to look for the formula. We want the Bible to give us the x + y so we can do those, get to z, and check that spiritual maturity item off our lists. Don’t do this, check. Do this, check. And the longer our list gets, the more accomplished we feel. 

Transformation, however, doesn’t fit that mold. In fact, the more we study the Biblical idea of transformation, the more helpless we tend to feel. Paul gives us two ‘action items’ for being transformed and not conforming to the patterns of this world.  One, renew our minds. The word here for renew actually means a complete change for the better. A total renovation of our old minds. That’s intimidating. We can work toward it, but how will we know when we’ve achieved it? Is it even possible?

The second is in our companion verse for this theme, II Corinthians 3:18:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

So Paul is saying all we have to do is, uh, what? And suddenly, we are faced with the main tension of the Christian life: the more we seek to make ourselves better Christians, the more we wander from what God is actually asking of us. As we try to be obedient and plot this path to transformation, we become increasingly uncomfortable. Because the truth of being transformed is this: we can’t make it happen. We can’t renew our own minds. We can’t transform our own lives. There’s no simple x + y that will take us to a tidy checkmark.

Thankfully, this is where the incredible grace of our Heavenly Father comes in – He’s not asking us to do it. In fact, the only way transformation will happen is when we realize this: Christ does all the work. Let me say it again. Christ. Does. All. The. Work. The veil reference in the verse above is to Moses, coming down from Mount Sinai. As he descended from being in the presence of our Holy God, his own face was so blindingly radiant that he had to cover it for the Israelites to even be around him. Yet this verse makes the sharp contrast between what Moses experienced and what we have available to us as New Testament Christians. Through Christ’s incomprehensible sacrifice for us on the cross, the veil that separated us from God’s glory is now removed. Christ Himself removed it, once and for all, and He is inviting us to gaze at His Glory. He is inviting us to allow the work that only “…comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” to happen in our lives.

This is how we are transformed.

In the next weeks and months, we will be unpacking what we can do to allow the Lord’s Glory to transform us; it’s still an active process that we choose to engage in. We can seek Him; we can immerse ourselves in His Word; we can take every matter to Him in prayer and ask His will in every situation, instead of deciding what He thinks is best and dragging Him along with us. We will be intentionally developing the spiritual disciplines that allow God to renew our minds and transform our hearts with your children of all ages in the coming year.  

As we do, my prayer is that our students will be awe-struck by a God Who loves them beyond understanding, a God Who has so much more for them than they could ever attain by ‘conforming to this world.’ I pray that, as Christians young and old, we will surrender to Christ’s work in our lives and stop trying to create the appearance of that work on our own. And I pray that as a community, we will shine so brightly from being in the presence of our Savior that all who look on us will know we belong to Him.

March 2022 Blog

March 2022 Blog

We have much conversation here about what it means to equip Ambassadors. Carrying out that mission is the cornerstone of all we do, but what does it look like from day to day? I recently gave this encouragement to our staff, as they work daily to arm our students with all the weapons of faith God has given them. Through God’s grace, this is how we equip students to be Christ’s Ambassadors in the world.

When I think of an Ambassador, I don’t normally think of a warrior. However, this analogy is apt. Sometimes, it takes all that we have merely to stand, and not run away or surrender in fear. An “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20) is a warrior who will, after everything is said and done, stand (vs. 9). This is our charge as Christian educators: to train children with the skills they need to succeed on the world’s stage, while we also equip them to stand firm and experience all that God has designed for them in the spiritual world.

Let’s take a moment to look at the pieces of equipment we must train them in:

Helmet of Salvation

We begin with the helmet. This is the most important piece of armor we can put into place. If the head is damaged, none of the rest of the armor will matter. Many years ago, my father hit a deer while riding his motorcycle on a paved road. The momentum flung him off his bike and he skidded down the macadam on his helmet. If he had not had that helmet to protect his head, I would not be alive today because he would have been with Jesus before I was even born. The helmet is our most critical piece of protection.

In our Christian life, we see those who don’t understand the importance of their own salvation and are stuck, as if immobilized at square one. Others think salvation is merely a bauble that can be worn or discarded when the mood strikes. Such flippant Christians misunderstand the vital nature of this piece of equipment and, when doubts assail, will be double-minded and unstable in their ways (James 1:8). But the believers who don the helmet regularly have an eternal perspective, allowing them to see beyond the present circumstances to that promised day of salvation. This is the maturity we strive to develop as students grow in their faith.

Body Armor of Righteousness

Body armor is made of strong fibers that work together to dissipate the force of a life-threatening blow and render it ineffective. In warriors, this armor is worn on the chest, protecting the vital organs from attack. When the helmet of salvation is issued to Christians, the body armor is also issued to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Attempting to equip ourselves with our own righteousness would be akin to wearing a T-shirt into battle. We equip this armor by seeking God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), which will protect our hearts and souls from evil.

Belt of Truth

The body armor needs to be secured by the belt of truth; without it, our armor can become insecure and unable to protect us. When we aren’t grounded in truth, it’s easy to convince ourselves that the righteousness we are wearing is our own–a result of our ability to follow the rules. Or we might decide that we don’t deserve to wear such armor because we are not good enough. Unless we are firmly established in truth, the body armor meant to protect our hearts and souls becomes insufficient. We will either fail to put it on through pride in our own accomplishments or discard it because of self-loathing.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

With the proper footgear, the Christian is always ready. When I was in high school, I would always wear high-tops to school. The reason? I wanted to be able to play a game of basketball at a moment’s notice, and one could not reasonably expect to play a decent game in dress shoes!

The readiness that comes with the knowledge of the peace Christ has given allows the Christian to stand, prepared for what may be coming. When one is at peace, all other distractions fade, the chattering voices calm, and the Christian stands to face down the enemy without fear (John 14:27).

Shield of Faith

Faith is often seen as something “less than” rational thinking. It’s that thing we rely on only when everything else has failed. In reality, this is our main defense against spiritual attacks. We recognize that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) and that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (vs. 6). Faith allows us to take God at His word, refusing to allow the enemy’s attacks of doubt, fear and dismay to penetrate our defenses. It is by faith that we can be assured of victory that has overcome the world (I John 5:4).

Sword of the Spirit

The only offensive weapon in our arsenal, the Word of God is “living and powerful.”  It enables us to divide “soul and spirit” and the “thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), for this battle is not against flesh and blood but against “spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).

Just as a soldier would not charge into battle without his weapon, we should go through this life ready to wield the power of God’s Word in every situation. 


As we walk through the days with those we are blessed to teach, they learn academic skills, performance skills, and life skills. But our greater goal is to methodically lay out the pieces of armor that God has gifted us, reminding them of each item’s purpose, and how to secure and use it in their lives. At the end of the day, our earnest desire is that students grow in maturity, understanding the deeper truths of God’s Word so that they may “by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).

And so we equip ambassadors. Not only as messengers of Christ’s Good News, but also as warriors, prepared for the spiritual warfare they will encounter, equipped to stand firm. And after they have done everything, to stand.


“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Ephesians 6: 10 – 13

February 2022 Blog

February 2022 Blog

A few weeks ago, I invited my friend and brother in Christ Kevin Vaughan to write this month’s blog post. Kevin is one of my oldest friends, a man who has committed his life to impacting the lives of others. He teaches Middle School Bible, coaches basketball, and helps lead NCS in conversations surrounding the importance of a Revelation 7:9 community. As you will see, a healthy Revelation 7:9 community doesn’t happen by accident, but through intentionality in relationships.

I am honored to share his thoughts with you below. I’m also grateful that our students are mentored by Mr. Vaughan and other NCS teachers who equip them to be Ambassadors for Christ!

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A Diverse Community Starts with Relationships

by Kevin Vaughan


This year marks 31 years since I graduated college.  Back then, I was a relatively new believer, raw with enthusiasm and passionate about the Lord and the Bible.  It explains why I forsook my career path in engineering to pursue my love for the Bible at a Bible college.  I remember those days of being blown away by the truths of Scripture and captivated by the wealth of knowledge that my professors possessed.  I thought, “Man, they’ve spent a lot of time with the Lord.”  One professor never came to class with notes.  He would show up and just start oozing Old Testament theology and pontificating words in Hebrew.  I felt like a ground-level apprentice.  

What I didn’t anticipate was the different cultural context in which the Bible was taught and my everyday life experiences played out.  I mean, I knew I was going to be attending a predominantly white college but it was just a factual reality.  That is until I had to live in the dorms and sit at desks alongside people who didn’t look like me. My city, Plainfield, New Jersey, was predominantly black. Aside from the teachers (and one friend and a crossing guard), my world was saturated with a multiplicity of shades of brown, even albino.  My religious context was no different. There was a particular sound for worship. There was a particular style of preaching.  

This was a dramatic change in college. Being a minority was a distant truth that never intruded home but quickly it became a close and personal, lived experience. Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum’s best-seller  Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (2017) was a reality for which I could’ve provided commentary. The black table in the cafeteria was a mini oasis for me. Though no one was from Plainfield, everybody was from Plainfield. There was an instant connection of sorts centered around the obvious racial identity and shared experiences of life in a white space.  

The “black table” wasn’t exclusive.  Others were welcome to sit and dine but it was according to our cultural terms. There were occasional “others” who would dine with us.  One, in particular, made me suspicious. She seemed a bit too comfortable, like she was used to being around people who looked different than her. Come to find out she was indeed comfortable. She was from Philadelphia. She attended The Philadelphia School of Creative and Performing Arts which was very diverse. The awkward conversations didn’t happen with her. The curiosity over hairstyles, do-rags, Ebonics, and the like wasn’t there.  At this point in her life, she had had a myriad of experiences that afforded her the confidence to be herself and appreciate others.  

Over the course of a few years, we developed a pretty good friendship. That’s an understatement. Actually, our seven years of friendship culminated in marriage in 1998! This August 15th, Heidi and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage. Whether directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, we have had to confront ideologies regarding race.  This season of life has brought us to a renewed desire to see our “mixed marriage” as an asset and testimony of God’s power to unite two people from two different cultures and ethnicities and create a family that seeks to put the Lord first.  

As one who has spent over 30 years in white spaces, I am convinced that the Church can be a lighthouse for how to live, function, and thrive in relationships with those who are different from us. Here are some helpful suggestions for developing those relationships.  

  1. Recognize that we have the power and love to engage in relationships that span differences. One of the lies that our enemy perpetuates is, “I can’t speak on race because I don’t want to say the wrong thing.”  This is a real concern.  We must examine the number of experiences we have had with people who are not like us.  If our world – work, social life, church – is filled with people who look and think like us, it will be a challenge.  Our first responsibility in these relationships is to be quick to listen [James 1:19]. However, as we intentionally and persistently engage in relationships, we have the opportunity to develop deeper levels of trust.  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” [2 Timothy 1:7]
  2. Rely on the Spirit of God to guide us in these relationships.  Spirit-led relationships are genuine, pure, and holy.  However, they are not void of conflict and misunderstandings.  We must come to a place of desperation. Jesus stated in John 15:5 “apart from Me, you can do nothing.”  The posture of our hearts and our prayers must be “apart from you, Jesus, we can’t develop genuine, pure, and holy relationships with those who are different from us.”  “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” [Romans 8:10-11]
  3. Refuse to allow comfort to reign over our relationships.  We have to ask ourselves, “Are we willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters who are not like us?”  If the answer is yes, what would that look like?  I believe this requires relinquishing the unspoken standards of what we consider to be normal, the preferences that rule our ‘how-tos’: how we worship, how we speak to one another, how we show emotion, how we view time, how we view recreation, and so much more.  When we acknowledge that there are many ways to express our ‘how-tos’ then we can become curious about the ‘how-tos’ of others.   Are we willing to be uncomfortable in order to pursue these relationships? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” [1 John 3:16]
  4. Refuse to let fear sabotage the joys of having relationships with others who are not like us.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” [1 John 4:18]

The nationally recognized events of 2020 and 2021 revealed that our array of perspectives on race, specifically in the body of Christ, has been underdeveloped, often avoided, and/or rarely examined.  However, the hope of our glorious Gospel provides us with the desire, the power, and the means to reflect the heart of Christ to all tribes, nations, languages, and people.



January 2022 Blog

January 2022 Blog

One thing that has come to the forefront during this time of Covid is a second, quieter epidemic –loneliness. As an introvert, I enjoy being by myself to gain back energy spent interacting with others. But even for me, there are plenty of times when it is not good for me to be alone. I can dwell too much on problems to be solved and too little on the joys of daily life. It’s an easy place to find oneself. Even with our technological advancements in communication, our society is lonelier than ever. 


This “loneliness epidemic” seems to be affecting Millennials (defined by Pew Research as persons born between 1981 and 1996) significantly more than other generations, with 22% feeling lonely “all of the time” and 24% feeling lonely “for at least some of each day.” That’s almost half of America’s largest generation feeling lonely every day– 33.1 million people! And it doesn’t end with Millennials. According to Susan Mettes, an associate editor at Christianity Today and author of the book, The Loneliness Epidemic: Why So Many of Us Feel Alone and How Leaders Can Respond, one-third of all U.S. adults report feeling lonely for at least some of each day.


It seems impossible that the more connected we are, the more alienated we feel. It seems impossible, but it’s true. The important question is – what do we do about it? I believe the answer lies in having a true community. Because the remedy for loneliness isn’t just surrounding yourself with people; anyone who’s ever been afraid in a crowd can attest to that. The remedy for loneliness is knowing you belong


Erik Carter, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, defined this further through his Ten Dimensions of Belonging. His formula proposes that belonging goes far beyond being included in a group. Rather, individuals must feel needed, invited, welcomed, present, befriended, known, cared for, supported, accepted, and loved in order to develop a true sense of belonging. 


As educators and mentors, our staff is passionate about making every student feel a deep sense of belonging, one that will ultimately lead them to a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. We also want you to feel this belonging. It is a beautiful part of the Norfolk Christian experience. United around Jesus, our common object of love, let us strive continually for authentic community where everyone knows they belong. Let us break bread together in our homes. (Act 2:47) Let us bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2), stir one another to good works (Heb 10:24), and devote ourselves to prayer. (Acts 1:14) Let us celebrate the unique gifts God has given each of us for this very purpose. (I Cor 12)


You have a special role in this commUNITY and you belong here. We are thrilled that God placed each of you in the NCS family.

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