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The power of purpose

| June 28, 2017 | 0 Comments


The world we live in is transforming rapidly.

Around the world, both the business and political environments are in a state of disruption. Companies, thought leaders, academics, global executives and even governments have realised that there is a new leading edge: purpose. Individuals, entrepreneurs and companies who are able to harness a clear sense of purpose will be far more effective in their ability to grow, innovate and achieve their goals.1 In addition, our world is crying out for principled leaders: men and women of integrity. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that we’re experiencing a global leadership crisis. We’re experiencing first-hand what happens when we mistake style for substance, charisma for character, personality for principle.

One of the most influential books of recent times, True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership, by Bill George and Peter Sims’, 2 proposes that the key to finding fulfilment, and finding your own unique power to lead in this new era, lies in finding your “True North”. This is your orienting point in a rapidly changing world that helps you stay on track as a leader. It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, values, and the principles you live by – and lead by. It is your internal compass.

Teaching Jesus Christ as the ‘True North’

The King’s School has its origins in 1986 when Rigby Wallace, lead elder of Waverly New Covenant Church, who was searching for a suitable school for his young children, felt a calling from God to start a multiracial school that offered a Christ-centred worldview.

Today, the King’s School is located in the north-eastern suburbs of Johannesburg and offers preschool through to Grade 12. We are now well established and have recently received a seven-year accreditation from the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi).3 The community surrounding the school is one characterised by a high degree of diversity. This has contributed to a rich cultural mix within the school. The knowledge gained from working within this cultural mix, and our history of having been a multiracial school since before 1994, helps us offer our leaners the opportunity to develop social skills that will prove vital in their future roles in South African society. Furthermore, our community is also experiencing rapid growth. New residential and industrial development in the area has contributed to a steady growth in the number of pupils attending the school. We anticipate that this growth trend will continue well into the future.

We teach Jesus Christ as the True North: the purpose and substance of our existence, and the source of all our gifts and abilities. We believe that God has a purpose for everyone, and that a personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to find and live that purpose. Our vision is, “To provide a Christ-centred environment that enables every child to access their full potential.” Why do we believe children need a Christ-centred environment to reach their full potential? Because Jesus Christ is the one who put the potential inside those children in the first place, so there is no one better to release it.

The Daniel Awards

One of the most vivid ways in which we strive to bring our vision to life is through our internal recognition system, the Daniel Awards, in which we honour students who live out their faith in Christ the way that the biblical Daniel did.4 The philosophy behind the Daniel Awards is best described in the words of one of our lead elders, Alan Frow:

There are times when it would seem simpler just to settle for outward signs of achievement – great academic results, victorious sporting results and social success. (But) the pressure to achieve good results can so easily erode our values, which are far more Christ-centred and people-orientated than achievement-based. Daniel had a wisdom and prophetic ability that gave him favour with kings (Daniel 2:48).5 Christian education should aim to raise up young men and women to become leaders in their respective fields, and to ultimately have favour with those in high places for the sake of the King and His kingdom.

Secondly, Daniel used his favour for God’s glory, not his own. His position did not go to his head.

Thirdly, he was uncompromising. Daniel would not bow to worship the King even though his life was under serious threat. This was probably his most admirable quality. We don’t just want to raise up leaders. We want to raise up leaders who fear God and obey Him no matter what the cost. There are always temptations to compromise God’s word in order to get ahead. But doing it God’s way is always better in the end because obedience brings His pleasure. We want to raise up men and women with backbone!

Fourthly, he was an influencer. Leadership at its heart is the ability to influence others rather than be influenced. We want to raise up young men and women who will speak God’s truth into this nation and the nations of the world.

Every member of our staff holds to this vision deeply, and we employ intense rigour in seeking to bring it to life in the daily life of the school: in our speech, our routines, the things we value and honour. This makes us, we believe, unique among all other schools in South Africa. We believe every single child matters, and we endeavour to equip children to increase in wisdom (academic), stature (sport), favour with man (discipline) and favour with God.

Pastoral care important

Part of the vision for the school was to be an extension of the Christian home – and to this end, we treat each child as a unique individual worthy of love. Many children have come to The King’s School Linbro Park and found a safe haven. We provide pastoral care to troubled learners and have small classes, to ensure a greater degree of one-on-one teaching. Some learners who were mainstreamed with us in Grade 8 managed to pass in Grade 12 with diploma and degree passes: this was after a lot of time and effort on the part of the teachers. Although we want our learners to achieve high marks, we do not give up on the learners who struggle academically and we do everything we can to help them pass.

We encourage achievement in academics and sport, but always set it within the framework of honouring God in what we do, so that we do not elevate high achievers to hero status. Instead, we celebrate every success, knowing that for one child achieving 50% would be as much of a meaningful victory as achieving 80% would be for another. We encourage interest in the arts and have a dynamic drama department that regularly stages productions, written and directed internally.

Education for life

Finally, our school’s motto is “Education for Life”. We have chosen that motto for three reasons:

1. Our most basic goal is to prepare children with skills they need for life after their final examinations.

2. We are trusting, however, that the education the children receive at our school will last a lifetime.

3. To this end, and most importantly, we point children to Jesus Christ, who holds the key to eternal life.


1. See:$ FILE/ey-the-business-case-for-purpose.pdf.

2. George, B. and Sims, P. (2007) True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership. New York: Jossey-Bass.

3. See:

4. See: daniel-the-prophet/. 5. See: 49&version=NIV.

Category: Winter 2017

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