The ‘unfortunate separation’ between public and Christian schools
Sadly, many of us view Christian and public schools as…
Clarksville Christian School in Tennessee intends to build a second campus, expanding its capacity from around 500 pre-K through 12th grade students to more than 2,000, the school has announced.
The new campus will encompass more than 100 acres, CCS President Brad Moser told The Christian Chronicle, and will be part of a new Killebrew mixed-use development on Rossview Road that will include commercial, residential, parks and recreation spaces.
“In the midst of that, we truly believe that the mission and the purpose of Christian education fills a need and is greatly sought after,” Moser said.
The school’s existing 5-acre campus sits adjacent to the Hilldale Church of Christ. CCS was founded as a ministry of Hilldale in 2007 with fewer than 50 K-6 students based in its Sunday school wing. It was the culmination of a two-year study that included polling in the community and area congregations.
By 2010, CCS had grown large enough to need its own building. It now functions independently of Hilldale but continues to receive financial and spiritual support from it and other area churches, Moser said. The school also still uses Hilldale classrooms and holds chapel in the church building.
Though CCS has added more modular buildings to its campus over the years to accommodate its growth, with an enrollment of more than 450 this year, it was reaching the limits of its space, Moser said:
“We could’ve chosen, ‘Hey, we’re closing the doors to the outside. We’re going to focus on our little group here.’ Or, ‘We really think that our message and our mission — we believe that’s worth sharing.’”
One of the CCS board members, Ronnie Moore, is also the owner of Rossview Farms, a local developer. Rossview had purchased a large plot of farmland in Montgomery that it intended to build a residential neighborhood.
But as CCS was looking for new property of its own, Moore had an idea for something more.
“We very soon began to realize that this particular piece of property could be something very special,” Moser recalled, “as opposed to simply becoming another neighborhood that was accessible only to a … limited number of people; that we could truly build an asset to the community, for the community; that we could do something special that has not been done in this area.”
In this new public town center, restaurants, shops and amenities will be “intricately woven with education,” Moser added. For example, CCS will emphasize child care and early childhood learning at the new campus.
The school also intends to expand its arts and athletic programs and implement new programs, including a University Partnership Center that will be able to host students for the completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees on-site, in cooperation with colleges nationwide.
And CCS students will have access to a public nature center, parks, athletic facilities — the area is already being used by CCS’ cross-country and sporting clays teams — and more than 75 acres of nature preserve, with walking and biking trails, camp sites and outdoor classrooms.
Steve Kirby, the pulpit minister for Hilldale and a member of CCS’ board of directors, told the Chronicle he’s excited and thankful for the school’s growth.
“We feel humbly, to God be the glory in all things,” he said. “God has worked in this ministry because God’s people have worked — but God has led the way and guided and opened doors. And we’ve prayed and try to be true to His will, try to be true to our mission statement.”
Kirby recited that mission by heart: “To foster and maintain an educational and Christian environment wherein God is glorified in every respect academically, socially and morally, according to the teachings of the Bible.
“A whole lot of thought and prayer went into formulating that mission statement over 15 years ago,” he added. “And we’ve tried to be true to that in every respect.”
And despite CCS’ continued expansion, Kirby expects that commitment to remain the same.
“Every work for God is always ongoing, and God’s work never ceases,” he said. “And we try very hard to make Clarksville Christian School truly God-honoring. … That has been a major focus of this board from Day 1 and remains that way.”
As part of that focus, Moser believes CCS is — and will continue to be — an important evangelism tool, especially for students who do not come from Church of Christ backgrounds. He estimates they make up around 75 percent of the current student body.
“We see this is a mission field, so we welcome students from all backgrounds to Clarksville Christian School and embrace the opportunity to be influential in their lives,” Moser said. “Even if a student has no faith background … we want them to be here and again do all that we can to be light in their lives and help connect them with Jesus.”
The Killebrew development has been recommended by the Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission and will be voted on by the Montgomery County Commission on May 9. If approved by the county commission, Moser said construction could begin as soon as May 10. He expects the first set of school buildings to be completed for the 2023-2024 school year.
Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.
Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.