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More Than a Feeling

More Than a Feeling 

"Something feels different on campus." 

Over the past couple of years, I have considered these words the highest compliment someone can share with me. After COVID, we knew there was a need for rebuilding, and we went “all in,” focusing on culture and connection as we cultivated the Way of the Warrior (wisdom, honor, courage, and sacrifice).

We took a risk to experiment with more community events and chapel experiences. We created opportunities to hear from our community of students, faculty/staff, and alumni. In our High School Spiritual Formation Survey, we saw the needle moving in a good direction and I see God moving in the lives of our community. Over the past year, we prayed for parents as they stepped into a relationship with Jesus for the first time. Our community came together at Convocation for a night of worship and prayer as we began our 2023 school year. Our elementary, junior high, and high school students passionately worship God in our chapels. Our faculty, staff, and administration are uniting under the vision of God’s missional work through Christian education in the Bay Area and beyond.

At this year’s Convocation service, a dad introduced himself to me and said, “I’m not a Christian, but my daughter is experiencing something here on this campus, and I came tonight to see what it is.”

God moves beyond our campus, as we now have over forty-eight Alumni Ambassadors nationwide and even in Paris, France. Our Alumni Ambassadors are creating networks to continue the ministry of VCS beyond the hill. This fall, Mark Lodewyk, Vice President of Ministry Relations, and I will set off across the country again to continue our school’s commitment to pray for and encourage our alums no matter where God leads.

Bottom line: I believe it is more than a feeling. We are seeing more collaboration, more students buying in, more alums amplifying our mission, and a genuine desire to grow in their relationship with God throughout our community, from students to parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and our partnerships worldwide.

New for this year is a comprehensive vision for Spiritual Formation with the addition of Biblical Unity and Wellness. We are cultivating an authentic community and crafting a clear pathway to help our community grow in relationship with God. Our Spiritual Formation Team is focusing on three initiatives this year:

• Nurture the whole person and the entire community, looking at how our social, emotional, and spiritual well-being shapes relationships, thoughts, attitudes, and actions (Mark 12:29-31). For all of our campuses, we will continue to enculturate the Way of the Warrior (wisdom, honor, courage, and sacrifice), emphasizing becoming people who honor others above themselves (Romans 12:10).

• Recognize and respond to the varied faith development needs of our community. Just as plants thrive or wither based on their exposure to sunlight, soil, and water, our community’s spiritual growth depends on a supportive environment. Our community’s spiritual formation plan needs diverse strategies to be effective. We will craft age-appropriate and distinct ministries for all three campuses with developmentally appropriate strategies to help them grow in their faith. To help us develop our plan, we are building a team of chaplains to give pastoral and spiritual support to all of our campuses and in each of our A3 programs.

• Care for our people who take care of our people. Our faculty and staff are not just educators. They are missionaries who see education as a missional tool for the kingdom of God. Our faculty and staff believe the power of education can impact individuals and transform whole communities because education is about far more than academic achievement. The care for students goes far beyond lesson plans but includes frontline ministry in individuals’ social, emotional, and spiritual needs. The role of educator-counselor-chaplain-mental health worker takes a toll, and our desire as the Spiritual Formation team is to provide pastoral care for all our faculty and staff, including access to the Christian Counseling Center and our on-campus therapists. It also includes opportunities for investment through professional development in September, our Spiritual Staff Retreat in October, and direct support through our Spiritual Formation team throughout the year.

I believe those “feelings” and that “something” is God’s Spirit moving in our community as we pray with expectant hearts to see God do more this year. You can join us on our spiritual journey on campus by following us on Instagram @vcs_faith and checking out our Spiritual Formation webpage at to learn more.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Steve Dang (’02), MDiv

Chief Ministry Officer and Campus Pastor Director of Alumni