Over a year ago, Eastern Christian High School teachers, Mr. James Uitermarkt and Mrs. Leah Genuario were on a field trip. During that trip, they both shared ideas on how to get students in leadership, and have a deeper relationship with God. During that same time, ECHS teachers Mr. Stephen Bailey and Mrs. Carrie Johnson were holding their own Worship SOAR, and praying about revival for our school. With all their ideas before them, they all came together, and decided to start up Project Focus.
Project Focus is a new group starting at ECHS that meets every Tuesday and Thursday during SOAR, with the purpose of raising and mentoring student spiritual leaders. It started with other teachers nominating students who had spiritual leadership abilities, and then moved to an application process for students. The application was more of a chance to see the person as a whole, and what they desire. Every applicant who applied this year made it in.
Over the past two years, Mrs. Genuario and Mrs. Johnson started to pray for revival in our school. Then, a year later, Mr. Uitermarkt and Mrs. Genuario were on that very field trip that sparked this idea. It all fell into place in the Spring of 2019, where all three teachers and Mr. Bailey decided to start Project Focus.
With a new school year starting, new ideas and goals have been set for those teachers and students. With their thoughts still ironing out, the teachers are still very excited for this upcoming year. Mrs. Johnson explained that one of her most important goals this year is to listen to the students, and let them do their thing, but still be there to help and encourage them.
“It’s okay to take risks and try new things, and if it doesn’t work, we can just rethink it,” Mrs. Johnson said when asked about future events.
Eastern Christian School’s new theme is opening up new discussions amongst students, parents, and teachers. That discussion is about Revival. Project Focus is starting to reach for that goal now. Junior, Carrington Brookes expressed that she feels like revival is on the move, and she wants to see it happen in this school. “With a revival, the school could seem like a much safer place to worship freely, and pray”. Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Uitermarkt both said that with revival, healing can come from those who are broken or in pain.
Project Focus will allow the chance for students to grow spiritually and get involved in our community. It’s another way to address some real needs for the students and anyone else to really grow in their walk with Christ. Project Focus also allows a safe environment for questions to be asked about God and for moments of wrestling with thoughts and problems. In addition to intentional spiritual discipleship within the group. Project Focus is also seeking to transform the spiritual climate of the entire school community by planning events, such as the See You At The Pole in September.
A common misconception about Project Focus is that the students and teachers are more spiritually mature and connected with God. Mr. Uitermarkt would like people to know that this group is not more spiritual, but is dedicated to offering opportunities for discipleship and spiritual growth for anyone. It’s not an exclusive group, but it’s a great opportunity for anyone to participate and join.
All of the Project Focus teachers and students want people to know that God is on the move, and He’s pouring out His spirit on all of us, so take advantage of this group. It’s not forced, because in EC, there is no such thing as forced religion.
Mr. Uitermarkt explained, “We don’t have all the answers. Just because we are teachers, it doesn't mean we have firm ideas about how to do this. We are relying on the Lord to work in us. This is a project that the Lord is guiding.”