In 1977, a group of men began meeting on a regular basis to pray and discuss the possibility of a Christian school in Willmar. After a number of meetings, it became clear that the Holy Spirit was leading them to start a school. As expected, there were many details to be worked out—one of them was in the area of philosophy. It was agreed that the school would be an inter-denominational learning center. The school would not promote any one particular set of doctrines, but would provide a Christ-centered education that would help lay a solid foundation for the families attending the different Christian churches in the community. The job of teaching doctrine would be left up to the individual families and their churches.
Community Christian School became a reality in the fall of 1978. The vision, sacrifice, and dedication of the original prayer group gradually expanded as more and more caught the vision. When the ministry of CCS opened the doors of the first pod, there were a total of 35 students from kindergarten through grade 3. There were three teachers that led the way on the opening day. Each year since, more students, teachers, grades, administration, and buildings have been added.
CCS has had a total of eight administrators since 1978. Dick VanAalsburg, who was the first Administrator of the school, was followed by Jim VanZyl, Tim Stafford, Al Koning, Del Brouwer, Carl McCrory, John Chapin, and our current administrator, Steve Masseth. The leadership stability of CCS is also evident in our school’s office and teaching staff with a number of these valuable people ministering here for over 15 years.
Through the years, as the leadership has been passed on, the vision for the ministry of Christ-centered education has been passed on as well. Today, 25 different churches are represented in the school. Graduates have spread out across the country suggesting that the effects of their Christian education have gone far beyond the city of Willmar.
As we look to the future, we can draw from our past, working with such valuable resources as the grandparents, relatives, alumni, and churches—as well as the local Christian business leaders—to fulfill the call that God has given. It is a thrill to think that CCS can be a part of what God is doing to further His Kingdom both here in Willmar and in the whole world!