A Snapshot of What's to Come at GCSLS

This February at the Global Christian School Leadership Summit (GCSLS) a diverse group of Christian educators will gather to discuss the future of Christian education. The facilitators—ACSI and seven other Christian school associations—plan to capitalize on the unity this gathering affords by intentionally gathering data during the event. The goal? To synthesize the learnings and help solidify the vision that is cast.

"The groundbreaking research efforts at the summit will be quite unique-unlike anything ever done in a setting like this with multiple Christian school associations and Christian universities," says Dr. Stephen Reel, senior director of ACSI's southern division and chairman of the event steering committee. "We'll do surveys after each session. The facilitator will invite participants to answer a question via the event app—over 500 attendees will be answering questions at the same time. When they answer the question, they'll be able to see the results of the previous session's question."  

Attendees will discuss key issues and opportunities facing the Christian school movement through engaging speakers, facilitated breakout sessions, and workshops in an atmosphere designed for dialogue and collaboration. Major strands of the summit will include spiritual leadership, legal and legislative issues, and board health.  

The data collection will also feature qualitative questions in which attendees will describe their answers. Data analysts will share those answers via the event app so that emerging themes will quickly become clear.  

"What will happen with this kind of data collection effort is, it will drive the conversation deeper," says Stephen. "Often we don't go deeper because we don't have or don't take the time to evaluate the research."  

Finally, 12 summit attendees will serve as participant observers: embedded investigative authors whose goal is to capture as much data as possible from the discussions and take it to the research team. Following the event, the team will publish an edited book containing the research-based themes and data that emerged at the summit. All participants will receive a complimentary copy of this piece, which will also be available to leadership teams, boards, and colleges for purchase. Geared for a wide audience of Christian school administrators and teachers, higher education faculty and students, and thought leaders in Christian education, this work will capture the essence of the summit and will shape the conversation on the future of Christian education for years to come.  

We look forward to seeing you February 1–3 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Cast Your Vision for the Future!

When was the last time you discussed with peers your vision for the future of Christian schooling? Opportunities like that don't happen often—especially when the conversation can lead to actual change. But that's the goal of the Global Christian School Leadership Summit, happening February 1–3, 2017, in Orlando.

"The distinctive of this event is the participation," says Dr. Stephen Reel, senior director of ACSI's southern division and chairman of the event steering committee. "You won't be saturated with content and asked to digest it later. You'll come to contribute to the conversation and the decision making."

Four plenary speakers, including Lee Strobel, were selected to speak because of their passion for Christian education. "Their content will drive a lot of the strategic conversation that will take place in other sessions," says Reel.

During breakout sessions, presenters will speak for 20 minutes or less during each 75-minute session, in keeping with the goal of generating conversation. On-site research is another feature of the summit: attendees will contribute responses to qualitative and quantitative questions, then see and reflect on the results during reflection times.

"We believe this will drive the discussion deeper," Reel says. "Often when research is conducted at an event, you wait weeks or months while the research is being analyzed; in this case, the results will be shared on-site so attendees can reflect on them. This will be something very unique."

Perhaps the most significant outcome of this summit will be the unity it enables and the resulting blessing of God and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Nine Christian school associations from a broad spectrum of denominations and age groups served are coming together to sponsor the summit, and all have invited their members.

"To see us lay aside our denominational differences and individual preferences to join together as one united team for this summit will be stunning," Reel says. "My goal for the summit is that we get on our knees and listen to the Lord telling us where He wants the movement to go."

Register today for the Global Christian School Leadership Summit! Groups of three or more from the same institution will receive a 10 percent discount. Register today!

Announcing the Global Christian School Leadership Summit

Encouraged in Heart—Strengthened in Unity—Equipped with Knowledge and Wisdom 

I beg you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree with each other and not be split into groups. I beg that you be completely joined together by having the same kind of thinking and the same purpose.
– 1 Corinthians 1:10 NCV

In keeping with the Apostle Paul’s admonition above, leaders from many Christian school associations and Christian universities have joined together to prayerfully consider hosting a global leadership summit. We believe the Lord is calling us to a greater spirit of unity and collaboration in order to more effectively equip the next generation of Christ followers to “be blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then [they] will shine among them like stars in the sky as [they] hold firmly to the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16 NIV).

The steering committee for this initiative currently includes representatives from the Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (ACTS), the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA), Christian Schools International (CSI), the International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA), the National Christian School Association (NCSA), Christian Schools Australia (CSA), and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). A subcommittee including representatives from Christian higher education institutions and associations has also been formed.

We believe this will be the first of many such events that could eventually become an international Christian education leadership conference to be held in key cities around the nation and potentially in other countries. In addition to providing inspiring keynote speakers with challenging and visionary presentations for all attendees, we are also planning innovative and relevant breakout workshops and facilitated roundtable discussions for veteran and emerging Christian school leaders.

Colossians 2:2-3 says, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” We believe the Global Christian School Leadership Summit will provide an opportunity for Christian school leaders to come together to be encouraged in heart, strengthened in unity, and equipped with the knowledge and wisdom needed to prepare the next generation to stand firm in the truth. Given the cultural and societal challenges that potentially endanger the mission of Christian schools and universities, we believe this summit is being orchestrated by God to bring us together to stand as one for such a time as this.

Joel Westa, President, Christian Schools International (CSI)
Dan Egeler, President, Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
Brian Kennerly, Executive Director, Council on Education Standards & Accountability (CESA)
Jay Nelson, President, Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (ACTS)
Stephen O’Doherty, CEO, Christian Schools Australia (CSA)
Philip Patterson, President, National Christian School Association (NCSA)
Donnie Peal, President, International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA)