Monthly Archives: March 2016
For the past five years Robert Hunt has served on the Development Team of West Dallas Community School, first managing grants and for the last two years in the role of Director of Development, overseeing our fundraising efforts. He will be dearly missed, by the staff because of his boundless enthusiasm and gift of encouragement, and by the students whom Robert has gotten to know through his role as tutor/Bible teacher for Class 3 over the last few years. I am grateful for the way in which Robert dedicated himself to the ministry of West Dallas Community School and for opening my eyes to see fundraising as a form of discipleship in my own life and as ministry in the lives of others. As he bids us farewell, I have asked Robert to stand in for me and write the blog for this month’s newsletter.
Head of School
I have so enjoyed serving West Dallas Community School (WDCS) these past five years. The opportunity to work at this school has been life changing, resulting in innumerable blessings for me personally. One of those blessings is a different lens through which to see both West Dallas children and supporters of the school.
An idea that has been transformative for me in my time at the school is the belief that “children are born persons”. This is a statement made by 19th century British philosopher and educator Charlotte Mason, a woman whose ideas inspire and have helped shape West Dallas Community School’s philosophy of education. The statement’s power for me lies in its ability to slow down my plans for these children and recognize that each one is an image bearer of almighty God. They are not wax to be molded or widgets to be manufactured, but they are already endowed with much of what they need by their Creator. I have learned to slow down and appreciate each student for who God made them to be. This is harder than it seems, as it is tempting to appreciate a child only for the person they might become. This is not to say that I don’t desire transformation in the life of each child but this belief in the personhood of a child necessitates a slower, more respectful approach.
I have also found great use of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy in the area of fundraising, an application that I suspect she did not foresee, but that I believe she would have loved. I modified Charlotte’s quote about children by saying, “donors are born persons”. This means that a donor’s primary role is not to give money to the school, and that my primary role is not to convince them to give, but first that we are both image bearers of God. Out of that role a supporter might become involved in a number of ways, including giving a financial gift to the school, but they may not. Like our students, donors are not wax to be molded or widgets to be manufactured; they are not a financial means to a ministry end. Sometimes, the application of this belief may result in learning that a donor is in a difficult spot in life and encouraging them not to give. Treating donors with respect as image bearers of God results in excellent ‘kingdom’ outcomes in my experience and has given our development team a much broader, more exciting vision of our role.
It has been a true gift to experience first-hand all that West Dallas Community School has to offer. If you have not experienced this school first hand, I would like to invite you to take a tour of the school. Simply email Riley Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will set up a time for you to visit. Although my last day on staff was March 11th, I do not foresee a day that I am not an advocate of West Dallas Community School and Christ-centered education for all of God’s children.
– Robert Hunt –