ALCS: A Great Refreshing

When I was a kid growing up, we would play outside (a LOT!), which in the summer usually meant staying out until the street lights came on. And especially in the middle of those hot days, any of three things would bring my friends and I great and immediate joy: (1) The ice cream man turning on to our street with his familiar ice cream truck jingle; (2) My mom surprising us with cold drinks and a snack; (3) And failing those, getting water from the hose in the front yard. Yes, we had to let it run a little until the water got cold, but when you’re in the middle of a game and you’re all dirty and sweaty and you don’t want to take the time to go inside the house (or go all the way down the block to your own house), the cold water from that front yard hose tasted pretty good. And you were thankful for it, because, it was so, well…
Refreshing! (Ahhhh!)

Now, we’re not drinking out of the garden hose here at ALCS, although ice cream, cold drinks, and snacks all
sound really good!

But there is definitely something that’s happening, something way better than drinking out of a hose. Something that God is initiating and doing. Something that He has determined to partner with us to accomplish. And, as He has been raising us up with His Spirit and revealing this newness to us, there is this uncanny feeling, this  undeniable sense, this wonderful assurance and certainty that He is doing something new and exciting and powerful.
I call it The Great Refreshing.
the great refreshingPart of it has to do with many campus and classroom improvements, inside and out, that can be seen and are already helping elevate our students’ educational experience. Part of it has to do with additional staff members, including classroom aides and support staff, that are already making a difference. Part of it has to do with the numerous safety and security enhancements that have been installed, as well as training that started this summer and continues to be implemented, making our campus an ever-safer environment for learning. In fact, just about everywhere you look, there’s something new to be seen.
But, if we look carefully, there’s even more going on than meets the eye.
Something has shifted.
These wonderful projects around campus and within our educational program are all physical manifestations and outpourings of even greater things that God is doing and wants to do. This is because God is in the  transformation business. Transforming hearts, transforming families, transforming organizations; it’s all part of how He redeems and restores…and refreshes.

And His refreshing at ALCS—The Great Refreshing—has shifted something over the summer. An awakening. A blessing. An excitement. His presence of joy and peace. The freshness of a new thing that God is doing. All of it is being felt. The staff is talking about it. Parents are talking about it.

And clearly, the Holy Spirit is leading it.
the great refreshing
The Bible points out that times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord, when His people turn to Him and He sends showers of blessing to refresh (see Acts 3:19-21). He also refreshes tired bodies (Jeremiah 31:25) and gives us words to refresh and nourish our souls (Joel 2:23).
Being refreshed is an energizing experience. It helps a person feel alive. It motivates and makes it possible to keep going, to excel, and to be ready and willing to continue the journey and take the next leap of faith, and to be unified together to fulfill God’s vision for the future.
On the first day of school, the entire staff wore an originally-designed tee shirt. It read, “One Heart. One Mind. One Mission.” I believe that this unifying belief and commitment is a direct result of The Great Refreshing. God is refreshing us to be a single, supernaturally effective instrument in His hands, to bring Him glory and to ensure that our students—all of our children and grandchildren at ALCS—receive a remarkable, innovative, character-building, wisdom inducing, care-creating, future-looking, student-focused, Christ-centered Christian school education that is so unique and exemplary and loving that it is like no other.
the great refreshing
So, on this second day of the school year, let me encourage all of us to accept and feel the refreshing that
God brings, The Great Refreshing that He has chosen to pour out on us at ALCS. Because when we allow His
refreshing to wash over us and fill us, there’s nothing that compares to it.
Not even the garden hose in the front yard.
Blessings to you, welcome to this wonderful and refreshing new school year together, and we’ll see you
around campus!

For the Glory of Christ and the Good of Our Kids,
Dr. Vance Nichols, EdD
Head of School
Alta Loma Christian School
Dr. Nichols (BS, MSEd, EdD) also serves as an adjunct professor of organizational leadership and subject matter expert at Los Angeles Pacific University. He is a commissioner on the ACSI national and international Commission on Accreditation, and commissioner and chair of the ACSI Western Division Accreditation Commission (South). He was an educational researcher, organizational leadership theorist, and 2015 Innovation Scholar at the University of Southern California. His groundbreaking published research— “Schools At Risk: An Analysis of Factors Endangering the Evangelical Christian School Movement in  America”—can be accessed via the USC Digital Library at: His articles on the necessity for innovation in Christian schools can be retrieved from and His invited peer-reviewed “Evangelical Christian School Movement” article published by Oxford University Press may be found at