Ike Klavenga was an avid gardener who loved to plant and nurture. Late in life, he saw the value of a good Christian education and through a gift that he gave to Unity Christian School, Ike still is planting seeds to this day. He was blessed to the point where he was able to plant a seed financially — so others could benefit from a Christian education.

I graduated from Unity Christian School in 1988 after receiving 11 great years of Christian education. My children now attend Unity and are reaping the benefits of that education as well. I’ve recently joined the Board of Directors at Unity and currently am assistant pastor at Church of the Open Door, in Clinton. Working with teenagers and youth ministry for the last 10 years, if there is anything I see that is beneficial to a young person, it is in knowing who they are and why they are here.

At Unity Christian School, there is the benefit of receiving not only a top quality education, but a Christ-centered education. Though there are many things that I could say, I would like to share three things that can be received by taking advantage of the seed that Ike has planted.

If you’ve ever been involved with gardening or planting, the way Ike was, you know that in order for a plant to blossom, it requires light. That’s exactly what Jesus is. The Bible says, in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

At Unity, students receive the benefit of Christian education from instructors who teach them in the light of God’s word. Children from adolescents to teenagers are hungry to know who they are and why they exist, and it is hard to see clearly unless there is light. With a Christian education, that light so shines for all to see that everyone may see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

The second thing that you receive is life. Many of us enjoy the life that we have and the air that we breathe, but there’s more to life than just breathing. When seeds are planted there is a watering process that needs to take place. And as that watering comes forth, life begins to happen.

When children are placed in a Christian environment, there’s a watering that takes place and life begins to happen. We all want the fullness of life; we just have a hard time finding it. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Many times I’ve said to teens, “There’s the world’s way and there’s God’s way… the choice is yours.” But if they don’t know the difference, then how will they be able to choose wisely? Having a Christian education allows them to have the ammunition to be able to choose wisely.

Lastly, there is a nurturing that takes place. In a greenhouse a plant is nurtured and taken care of until it is able to be transplanted in the ground. Christian education is like the greenhouse where nurturing takes place in the lives of our youth until the day where they can and will be transplanted into the world — able to stand strong, make right choices and even weather storms that come into their lives.

So parents, take advantage of the opportunity Ike Klavenga’s gift presents to your family. Start nurturing your children’s heart and mind in God’s Word when they are young.

If you already are doing this in your home and in your church, then you now have the opportunity to provide them with a solid Christian education during the school week. Then as your children become teenagers and young adults, they’ll have the full range of knowledge to make the right decisions in life.

Unity Christian School is having an open house on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the elementary building (1000 11th Ave. in Fulton, Ill). The purpose of this gathering is for potential new families to start the application process, tour the facilities, meet the teachers and principal and to celebrate Ike’s gift that makes all this possible.

For more information on the scholarship opportunity, go to www.unitychristian.com. I hope you’ll take advantage of this great opportunity this coming Saturday.

Jim Machen Jr. is assistant pastor of Church of the Open Door and a Unity Christian School Board. He has two children enrolled in the Unity school system.

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