An organization’s culture is not something that can be imposed or something that is born from a strategic plan. It comes from within and is as natural as breathing. For GAC, an innate part of its culture is the spiritual community that has defined it from the very beginning when a visionary group of men and women gathered together to pray over the undeveloped land. Today’s grassroots efforts among faculty, staff, and students to meet, pray, and meditate on God’s Word demonstrates that this commitment to spiritual community goes beyond Bible class and chapel.
“Through faithfully meeting each week, we uncover the resources we need to empower each other to more fully serve our students,” says Richard Burnett who, together with Brandon Johnson, leads a faculty and staff Bible study that meets before school each Thursday at the Starbucks across the street. Drop in at 6:30 and you’ll encounter many familiar faces. These individuals seek authentic fellowship, cover their students in prayer, and ask God for wisdom for how they can seize more opportunities to disciple their students. Rich shares: “With GAC’s standard of excellence, it’s easy to get wrapped up and consumed by performing at the highest level. This Bible study helps us refocus on the most important thing. To us, it’s a pretty sacred thing. We pour into each other and love on each other.”
But there is more that happens on campus each week. Middle School Dean of Students Dana Davis leads a group that meets regularly on Friday mornings to pray. Says Mr. Davis, “While we pray about all kinds of things, our goal is to always pray for GAC mission teams serving in our city, our country, and abroad. It is God’s favor that has allowed so many students and teachers to go out with the intent to love as Jesus does. We know we fall short, but He has protected us and enabled us to participate with Him in His work all over the world.” This group, with representatives from each school level, has been meeting for over four years and it has been grounded in the promise that where even two or three gather, God is right there with them.
The desire for fellowship has extended from faculty to students, and Brandon Johnson has watched as a group he started with three students over hash browns and grits at Waffle House has grown over the years. “When I started at GAC, I felt like God was pushing me to walk deeper in my faith. I wrestled with the verse, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to you. Go and make disciples’”. “The Waffle House group is not a Bible class,” Mr. Johnson shares. “It’s living life alongside each other. There’s no bad question. It’s a safe environment to proclaim Christ.” The fruit of this group has been that now these same students lead a student group that meets at the Cross Tower each Wednesday. Mr. Johnson has witnessed the verse that first prompted his quest come to life with students “going and multiplying”. There is nothing more fulfilling for Mr. Johnson than to hear a student say, “Coach, I’m ready”. When he hears that, Mr. Johnson knows what they mean--they’re ready for a full life in Christ. The ethos that defines our school starts with students, faculty, and staff such as these.