Editor’s Note: Dr. Brian Guenther gave the following address at the 2018 Convocation/Consecration on August 6, issuing a challenge to our faculty and staff and posing the question, “Are you called?”
At the start of this academic year, I will have begun my fifteenth year in my educational career. In the beginning, it was working with Mrs. Beasley at an elementary school in Killeen ISD, then Killeen HS, and then Ellison HS, finishing my time in KISD. This journey led me through two different church staff appointments and then being given the opportunity to develop an outdoor education curriculum for Eanes ISD, which has now served every fifth-grade student in that district since the year 2000. Eighteen years later my former supervisor and camp director wrote to inform me that the curriculum is still in use and that the fifth graders are still benefiting from that program each and every year. Little did know then that the Lord would have my family and I relocate to San Marcos to be a part of a church plant and then ten wonderful years at The Master’s School of San Marcos.
On June the 1st, 2015, I began my time here at SMA. In comparison to my short time in education, there are many in this room that have served students, families, districts, and SMA for decades more. As I look around this room I see those who have served as teachers, coaches, administrators, the staff of various departments and categories from food service, maintenance, custodial, health services, development, advancement, and central office. Unique to this family are those who have served students in residential life and activities. If we were to add all of these years of experience together, we will have served millions of hours and thousands of years. Imagine with me the thousands of students that we, collectively, have had the chance to impact. It’s mind-blowing! Buried within this group of people, there are years of collective professional knowledge and know-how unequaled to any other K-12 school in our area. You all have become the experts in the fields of education and educational services, and you all are what make this school great.
Together, we answer a call sent to us by the King of Kings. It takes every single of us, our departments, and our gifts and talents to accomplish this great and mighty task. The Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Ephesus, “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope at your calling – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Colleagues and co-workers, this is all of us! We are called to serve this student body, we are called to serve these families, and we are called to remember those who have blazed the trail before us . . . dating all of the way back to 1907.
After addressing the specific gifts within the body of Christ, Paul finishes by saying, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head – Christ. From him, the whole body, fitted together and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.” He goes on to say, “Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry, but do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity . . . No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger, and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ Jesus.” This, my friends, is the great task that we have set before us. Not only to the students and families that we serve but also one to another. The greatest leaders do not consider themselves leaders but rather, consider themselves servants. Let us then consider one another as we choose every day to serve each other, as we together accomplish the call, the great commission found in Matthew 28, given to the disciples and to us by Jesus before he ascended into heaven.
As I step into the role as the president of this historic institution, I step into the shoes of so many that have gone before me. As your fifteenth president, it is my desire never to lose the legacy and history that God has woven into the tapestry of this place. He began this mission over one hundred and eleven years ago, and those marching orders still remain. When Dr. Carroll and the residents of San Marcos got together to create the space for the San Marcos Baptist Academy, they saw the need to begin a legacy of Christian education in the Southwest Region of Texas. It is, therefore, my desire to continue the legacy of excellence and Christian values that have long been established for this place and these students. I believe that over the next five years, we will see enrollment grow as we become The Private School of Choice in the Southwest Region.
Again, my friends, this vision takes all of us to fulfill. If we are to become The Private School of Choice in the Southwest Region, what part can you play to make this happen? What can you do differently? What can you imagine, outside of the box, that allows this school to grow and move, based on the foundation and legacy that has been left before us?
There will be times when you will not like me. There will be times when you will disagree with me. There will even be times when you think I’ve gone off my rocker! In those times, pray and seek the Lord. I will be wrong and won’t always get it right, but I hope and pray that in every decision I make, I do it all for the glory of the Lord, for the advancement of His Kingdom, and for the salvation of His children. We may move in new and uncomfortable directions, but know this, I will always seek to have the right people in the right places, exercising the gifts and talents that the Lord has provided each of you.
I end this time by asking if you will join me on this mission. There may be bumps in the road, but there will be glory days, as well. You’ve heard the scripture, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose.” As you join me on this mission, the last question I would put before you is, “Are you called?” If you are called, you will be equipped and we will see San Marcos Baptist Academy grow and be fruitful. If you are called, we will see San Marcos Baptist Academy become the Private School of Choice in the Southwest Region of not only Texas but the United States!
May God grant us his grace and his blessing as we march together, for the glory of His great name.
–Dr. Brian Guenther, President, San Marcos Baptist Academy, August 6, 2018