Dearest friends & family,
This sudden announcement may come as a bit of a shock to you…as it certainly did to us!
We have loved ministering at Jim Elliot Christian High School. From its exciting beginnings back in 1997 (which many of you were a part of and for that we will always be grateful), through all the challenges and bumps over the years, to watching it grow and prosper to what it is today, we have seen God move mightily in and through the school. Some of the best and most memorable years of our lives have been spent at JECHS and the blessings of deep friendships in students, staff and families have been abundant!
It is with both joy and sorrow that we announce that our season at Jim Elliot has come to an end. Sorrow as we will greatly miss ministering to students and their families who we love so dearly; but great joy as we watch God open up the door to new opportunities to use our gifts and talents to pursue our next dream. We know God is up to something really big and it is exciting to be part of His plan!
As we depart from our beloved school we are striving to walk in love, integrity and glory to God! We do earnestly pray that the Lord will continue to prosper and grow the school and bless the wonderful staff (whom we love dearly) as they touch and impact students for Christ!
Always in Jesus,
Dan & Beth Lambdin
As word has leaked out, we have found that we are being inundated with questions. Thank you to all of you who have been so loving, supportive and concerned. We thought it best to answer the most common ones with this announcement.
1. Was it your choice to leave Jim Elliot Christian High School at this time?
No. We had always thought that we would minister at Jim Elliot for life. Dan received notification on July 9, via certified letter, that his contract to teach for the 2013-14 school year was being rescinded. There was no reason given.
Despite Dan’s desire to stay and teach, disciple and mentor students, we believe that the Lord uses leadership to move us in the direction He wants us to go and we trust that the Lord has used the board and administration to accomplish His ultimate purpose in our lives. For that we are sincerely grateful to our Lord, as we know this will prove to be one of the greatest blessings of our lives!
2. What about Rebekah and Grace who are enrolled as students at JECHS?
Of course as parents, of utmost concern are our precious children, every one of them gifts from God.
Rebekah was to be a senior at JECHS this coming year and was very excited about her position as student chaplain, continuing to lead “The Movement Club” (a student advocate group for orphans); and of course her passion – playing soccer for her final year at Elliot. She has also developed strong friendships over the past three years and was looking forward to graduating with the JECHS class of 2014.
Grace was to enter Jim Elliot as a freshman this year and after nine years of homeschooling was so very excited to enter the world of JECHS: to take new and exciting classes, playing sports, making friends (in addition some of her closest friends who would also be starting as a freshman there) and just being immersed in the Christian high school experience. Of course getting to hang out with her Dad every day was going to be a bonus too!
The board and administration at JECHS recently decided that our children were welcome to attend Jim Elliot providing they met the qualifications and that we paid all the tuition and fees. (One of the benefits of staff members at Jim Elliot is free tuition so this would be a new expense in our lives)
While we would love to have our children sit under the godly mentorship of the teachers and staff at JECHS, be with their friends, as well as have the opportunity to attend a local Christian high school whose goal is to glorify God. First, let’s state the obvious…with Dan already sacrificing financially to work at a private Christian school where the teachers generally make 30-40% less than public school teachers, there was never any extra money to pay tuition, which is one of the reasons Christian schools often offer a tuition benefit to their staff. Now with no income at this time…it’s pretty easy to do the math…even if you aren’t great with numbers. (0 income minus $14,000 in tuition equals negative $14,000) That said, we know God’s math is very different than ours, and if the girls wanted to be there, we know the Lord would provide the finances to make that happen. Sadly, both girls already feel that “all eyes are upon them” and there is underlying awkwardness between them and the school. They have decided that at this time they do not want to be “under a microscope” at JECHS as well as deal with questions about their Dad. They have both grieved greatly over this ordeal and we are trying to help them walk through this major life change with the proper godly perspective and without allowing bitterness to get a hold of their hearts, as we know that could damage them for years if allowed to grow. It is a daily decision for them to walk in grace and forgiveness and yet we know that the Lord was not caught off guard by this and He will use it greatly in their lives!
Whew! That was a lot of background information to answer the question so many are asking about Rebekah & Grace: “Where will they be going to school?” There is no easy answer. As Grace said recently: “None of the options are good, Mom.” We have made a spread sheet, written out all the pros and cons, sought counsel and of course, prayed. At this point they are leaning towards attending Capital Christian High School in Sacramento (and yes, that is 52 miles from our doorstep…oh my!) There are so many details that would have to be worked out: tuition (again that would take a God kind of math!) , transportation, athletic eligibility and jumping through all the admissions hoops in record time, not to mention a huge challenging life change for us as a family, having kids creating a life in an entirely different city. We are confident that if it is the Lord’s will, He will work out all those details, even if it is hard, because God often calls us to do hard things!
Please pray for our girls as they navigate through all this in the upcoming weeks and throughout the year. They are pretty amazing young ladies but we know Satan would like nothing better than to use this to destroy their lives and have them question God.
3. What will Dan do now? Does he have a new job?
No, Dan does not have a job or any potential jobs at this point. This question is perhaps the hardest to answer because of the differences between a “job”, “career” or “profession” and a “ministry”, “calling” or “vocation”. But we will try.
First …our commitment to Christian education goes far beyond simply a job or profession. We realize perhaps for many Christian school teachers it is more of a career choice or job that pays the bills; which is perfectly acceptable, but for us that has never been the case. Christian school ministry and the discipleship of students is our passion and something the Lord called us to over 26 years ago. We believe it is a high ministry calling and our vocation.
Secondly…Dan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, an ACSI teaching credential and is a licensed minister. He has been a Bible teacher for 25 years. Prior to completing his degree he was a youth minister for two years. This is all that he has ever done.
With that said…it is obvious that his options within his calling, his training and experience are limited. He teaches Bible – not history or English or math. He has no public school options as many assume he might. (Unless we are unaware that our public schools are now offering Bible…would love to hear about that!) He also has no options in San Joaquin County to teach Bible at a Christian school. That leaves outside the area. But let’s be real here – it is July – there are literally no job openings for Bible teachers this close to the start of a new school year. Best case scenario IF he is to continue teaching (and that IF is there) is that he finds a Bible teaching position out of the area next (2014-15) school year.
Now all that could sound pretty depressing or discouraging right? Well sure maybe….if you don’t know that our God is bigger than any obstacle, that He has orchestrated all of this to complete His ultimate plan for our lives personally; that He is in complete control, has a wonderful plan for our future and that He is our provider as always! But we do know all of this about our awesome God and we put our full faith and confidence in Him. There is complete peace and freedom in knowing God!
Please pray for us as we seek Him for the answers to these questions:
- Lord, are you calling us out of Christian education at this time and leading us to a new ministry calling, or do we seek to find a new school to continue to minister to and disciple young people?
- If we are to stay in Christian education, Lord how do you want to provide our basic needs for the upcoming year until we can secure a Christian school job for the 2014-15 school year?
- If we are being called to a new ministry, what is it Lord? Pastoring? Missions? Christian Youth Camps? Some type of Chaplaincy? Going full time speaking and counseling with Inspire Ministries and raising monthly support? We want to use our unique gifts and talents for His glory!
- Lord, are you calling us out of full time paid ministry and into secular employment?
We know that the Lord promises generous wisdom to all who ask him and we certainly need wisdom! (“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5) We also know that the Lord will provide for all of our needs – financial, emotional and spiritual – according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19) We hope to be able to communicate with you all very soon what exactly the Lord has for us to do next.
4. Will there be any type of recognition or acknowledgement from the school for Dan’s part in founding the school and his subsequent 16 years of ministry there?
We have been told that the school officially has no plans at this time. We have no expectations or disappointment. In fact, we have always been so blessed to be showered with love and appreciation by those that we have ministered to over the years that our hearts are filled to overflowing! We could ask for no more than the amazing love and support we have had from all of you over the course of our ministry. We should be thanking you as it has strengthened, encouraged and kept us going for decades!
However, a group of friends have recently asked if they could do something special to give recognition and honor to Dan for his 25 years in Christian Education. That event will be held on Monday, September 2, 2013 which is exactly 15 years to the day that Jim Elliot Christian High School began their first day of school with a beautiful chapel service. What a perfect day to honor Dan. Everyone is invited! More details to come out soon. We hope that many of you will be able to join us in this special time together to thank the Lord for what He has done in and through Dan Lambdin, and to celebrate the great things he has in store for the future!
To God be the glory!