In May of 1988, God gave a local Christian businessman, Joe Gregory, a great desire to see an accredited Christian school established in St. Joseph. Joe wasn’t sure how to go about making it happen, but one day he found himself (literally) on his face before God in a hotel room in Texas. “God, please tell me if You want me to do something about a Christian school in St. Joe.”
The Lord gave Joe a vision. Joe saw the Lord standing on an incline, in front of two doors of a school building. His arms were open wide, and children by the score were running toward the Lord and into the school. The Holy Spirit impressed upon Joe, “Let the children come to me and don’t hinder them.”
When Joe returned to St. Joseph, Pastor Ron Nichols, who served on the board of Area Ministers for Christ with Joe, showed him an ad in the St. Joseph newspaper, listing the old Everett school building for sale. Joe grabbed the paper out of Ron’s hands and ran immediately to the school district office. He found he had only two to three days to offer a sealed bid for the building.
Joe secured a loan for $40,000 and placed a bid of $30,000 for the property, keeping back $10,000 for expenses such as painting, purchasing desks, etc. The St. Joseph School District accepted Joe’s bid, and the building became the property of Area Ministers for Christ, which soon became the parent corporation to St. Joseph Christian School.
Area Ministers for Christ established a committee to identify a school board to hire a principal. Now the board wondered, Where do you go to find a Christian school principal? One day Joe happened to be speaking to another local pastor who told him about the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). The board then arranged to interview several candidates for principal.
Mr. David Berry was hired as St. Joseph Christian School’s first principal in July 1988. At that time, there was not a desk, chair, or telephone in the building! Within two months, however, through miraculous acts of God and by the work of His servants, the school was ready, and SJCS opened on September 12, 1988, with 135 students and ten teachers!
Throughout the years God’s hand moved in more miraculous ways. In October 1990, the school held its first fundraising dinner campaign, “Invest in a Child.” In 1991, the school held its first Grandparents’ Day.
During the school year 1993/1994, SJCS undertook the hard work to become accredited with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Committee for Accredited Schools Non-public, through the University of Missouri at Columbia. Our students were then eligible to participate in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), giving them the opportunity to compete against public school counterparts in athletics, fine arts, and other competitions. Since then, students have also become eligible to receive the State of Missouri’s Bright Flight Scholarship and participate in the National Merit Program.
When Mr. Berry left SJCS in 1998 to take a position as principal of a Christian school in the Cayman Islands, he wrote these words: “Throughout the (past) decade much has been accomplished at SJCS because of the work and prayers of countless, faithful friends. The Lord has done much. . . .”
Mr. Rich Fox became the new administrator of SJCS in the fall of 1998. Due to the school’s incredible growth, Mr. Fox, at the direction of the school board, began to pursue a building program, which became known as the Nehemiah Project. Also during his first year at SJCS, the school became accredited by North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. The brand new 8-man football team practiced on the school’s asphalt playground and held games on a baseball field at Hyde Park that was adapted for the purpose!
God’s faithfulness through the Nehemiah Project soon enabled the school to implement plans for the new facility. A prayer meeting was held to dedicate the new property, gift of an anonymous donor, at the corner of Gene Field and Bishop Roads. Imagine the surprise when construction began down the hill, at the corner of Gene Field and Riverside Roads! The One for certain, who was not surprised was the Lord Himself, who knew that all that “prayed for” dirt would need to be moved down the hill to provide solid footing for the new school building. Once again, His hand was in the details! [READ MORE]