This month I attended Seattle Urban Academy’s (SUA) “Miracle Event.” This is the annual dinner celebrating God’s work at SUA while raising support to keep it thriving. You might think it is hard to schedule a miracle. Yet every year I walk away feeling like I just experienced more than one.
Seattle Urban Academy is a positive, educational community where students at risk develop academic, social, and spiritual maturity to graduate from high school and transition to higher education and sustained employment. Do you want to hear some incredible statistics? Take this:
Nationally, an average of 10% of at-risk students complete a post-graduate program. But at Seattle Urban Academy, 80% of graduates who enter a four year college, junior college or an employment training program complete their endeavor. Now that is a miracle.
The school is small by design. Average attendance is 35 students. This year nine students will graduate. Two have received a full ride scholarship to Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., and six others are going to accredited universities and community colleges this coming fall. Again, more miracles.
Some other miracles we have seen at SUA:
96% of SUA seniors graduate
91% of SUA graduates go on to higher education or sustained employment within a year of graduation.
65% of SUA graduates are employed vs. 25% of Washington-state youth
New enrollees earn an average of 278% more credit their first quarter at SUA than the average credit earned per quarter at their previous schools.
God is at work, and it is such a privilege to be part of the miracle story he is writing through SUA.
President & CEO of CRISTA Ministries
2 Corinthians 2:12 – 6:13 is the apostle Paul’s summary of Christ’s work on earth. This is a significant passage that goes deep. It is a section referred to as “The New Covenant.” Paul calls us ambassadors, fellow workers with God, servants of God. Ambassadors speak with the full authority of the Head of State (Jesus for us) but they do so under his direct guidance. Ambassadors do not wander off on their own and then ask for him to ‘ok’ their decisions.
God has a purpose not just in the big sense but in our everyday lives. We are not on a mission for God, we are on a mission with God, directed by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. We are empowered when we welcome His Spirit into everything we do, looking to Him for direction and understanding. We do not get our joy primarily from what He accomplishes through us, but in experiencing a deepening relationship with Him.
Our annual Prayer Week at CRISTA is coming up February 2nd–6th, 2015. At CRISTA, we firmly believe that God wants to align our vision with His calling through prayer. The purpose of Prayer Week is to collectively lift up and entrust CRISTA Ministries at the beginning of the year and pray boldly and specifically about how God will use us through our ministries to bring glory and honor to Him.
I invite you to join me in the events and programs during Prayer Week in February, praying on your own or as a group during the week and then continuing throughout the year.
How will you join Prayer Week this year? See the schedule below and mark your schedule!
Each year we have held an annual week of prayer at CRISTA. CRISTA was founded on prayer and has a long history of inviting God into our conversations on a daily basis. We hold various prayer times throughout the year but we always begin the new year with a week of focus on prayer. We are serious about prayer. The purpose is to both align the mission with His will and to ask for His blessings on our mission. We gather in various venues throughout this special week, sponsoring prayer walks to focus on each ministry and ending the week with a four hour corporate prayer and fasting session Friday afternoon on January 10. This is very important as we look back and reflect on God’s blessings and rededicate ourselves to the mission of loving God by serving people.
Our theme verse this year is (John 15:4) “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Although this is a pretty clear admonition from the lips of Jesus Himself, it does not seem to me to be an easy thing to pull off. The idea of remaining in Him is far more than a tip of the hat to God in our morning devotions. It is an all encompassing, personally transforming, minute by minute experience of putting out trust in God and living like we have done so 24/7. Religious activity does not have the aroma of abundant life. Only the Spirit of God, as He works through those who are “all in” will quench the inner vacancy that God but in every persons heart. At CRISTA we are trying our best to create a corporate culture that fans the flames of the work of Christ among us and through us.
It is nice to finally have the weather catching up with the calendar here in Seattle. Late is better than never though, and I praise God for the beauty of His creation that is so evident to us here in the Northwest. I feel blessed daily, and certainly for more than just the weather and beauty of creation—the privilege of leading CRISTA Ministries is a blessing that I do not take for granted. The work of CRISTA is unique and inspiring and we aren’t slowing down.
Just last week in Austin, Texas, CRISTA Broadcasting officially opened the headquarters for our recently launched fourth station, SPIRIT 105.9—the SPIRIT of Austin. SPIRIT 105.9 began encouraging the people of Austin in September of 2010, and has rapidly climbed the charts becoming one of Austin’s most listened to broadcasts.
We saw great support from all seven of our ministries in presence and participation during the fourth annual World Concern Free Them 5K on May 7, which raised over $100,000. At Camps, we continue to promote an active campaign to send deserving children of military families to summer camp—even if they cannot afford it. And finally, we saw incredible success at our Miracle Event for Seattle Urban Academy, where over $167,000 was raised to transform lives through educating the youth at-risk in our community.
Stay tuned for my regular updates on how CRISTA Ministries continues to maintain a pace that efficiently and powerfully Loves God by Serving People in the realms of Media, International Relief and Development, Education, and Senior Living. For the latest news from CRISTA Ministries you might also take time to explore the fresh look of crista.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.