September School Board Update

Dear Parents & MCA Corporate Partners

How students meet Christ in chapel and prayer

With a scripture-first posture, armed with Biblical values, the thread of faith is woven throughout every aspect of Maranatha. Junior high and high school students have many opportunities to encounter Christ, including chapel services and Prayer Emphasis Weeks. “We’re trying to raise up Godly leaders who will impact their worlds,” says Duane Cilke, chair of the Bible Department at MCA. “Maranatha students are learning how to be influencers for Christ.”

An important part of the weekly rhythms at Maranatha is the chapel service. “We’re trying to give students the opportunity to grow in a Christian environment,” Mr. Cilke says. “We want them to love Jesus and live in obedience to God’s word, so we’re providing opportunities where this can happen.” Grades 7 through 12 participate in this service each Wednesday.

The service begins with pledges to the American Flag, the Christian Flag and the Bible, and continues with guided worship from the Worship Team. “The Worship Team is a group of student musicians who get together and lead worship time at the beginning of every chapel,” Mr. Cilke says. The group is composed of vocalists and instrumentalists, and the worship features the keyboard, guitar and drums or bongoes.

Next, a guest speaker shares a message with the students. This semester’s chapel theme is Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit. Speakers share about one of the Fruits of the Spirit, one of the principle aspects of Maranatha (Wisdom, Character or Service), or their own testimony. The speakers range from pastors to businesspeople.

Once a month, the chapel service concludes with a discipleship meeting. Junior and Senior students are selected to be leaders of these discipleship breakout groups, in which they discuss a topic and a verse of scripture. “After discussion, they focus on life application,” Mr. Cilke says. “It’s a focus on how they can live out that scripture in their everyday life.” The discipleship groups are designed to create connection and foster community throughout the junior high and high school students.

Once a semester, Maranatha students engage in a special FOCUS day — that’s Faithful, Obedient, Christlike, United and Serving. This day of intentionality has a special emphasis, like conversion stories or international testimonies. The first FOCUS day of the 2017-2018 school year took place on September 8. Students in grades 7 through 12 participate in this special day.

The September 8 FOCUS day, which included a special assembly, centered on a New Beginnings theme. “New beginnings aren’t always easy,” Mr. Cilke says. “This day is an opportunity for students to realize their heritage and explore the blessings they have.”

FOCUS days are part of a larger Prayer Emphasis Week each semester. “As a school, we spend time praying for specific subjects each day,” Mr. Cilke says. Subjects can include the school, the nation, churches, families and more. Every day during Prayer Emphasis Week, homeroom teachers lead their class in prayers.

“God changes us through spiritual disciplines, and during Prayer Emphasis Week, we’re trying to give our students the opportunity to grow in this way,” Mr. Cilke says. “Everything we do permeates from the preeminence of Christ.” Prayer Emphasis Week is another opportunity for students to engage with Christ.

Ultimately, all these activities combine to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to live lives of reckless abandon for Jesus, Mr. Cilke says. “Everything we do is about total commitment to the Lordship of Christ. It’s not just theoretical, but practical and intentional. Worship and prayer create an environment where students can be encountered by Jesus.

MCA Yard Signs-Get yours TODAY!

Yard Signs are available now!

The metal sign is 18” by 24” tall, has a special coating to make it more weather resistant, and comes with a 5’ metal post and hardware for mounting.  You can see one in person in the Secondary office.

Purchase your yard sign to post in your front yard for $100.  Come to the Secondary office.  Please make checks payable to MCA.  Cash or checks accepted.

We hope every Maranatha family will show their School Pride and proudly display one in their yard.   Go Eagles!

Twelve Words

Dear MCA Families,
September 12, 2017

It has been my pleasure to attend and share a message recently in Secondary Chapel and in both Elementary Chapels.  Joining the students and staff in worship is wonderful!  The Elementary students, led by Mrs. Linda Smith, Mrs. Kim Mills, and student worship teams, add enthusiasm and depth to the words of their worship songs by adding hand motions and even walking to the left and right as the song may dictate.   There is a purity of worship demonstrated when a youngster is so obviously connected to the heart of their Father.  In Secondary Chapel, the students are welcomed to come to the front of the sanctuary and worship together.  It’s a blessing too often taken for granted to see young adults worshiping and praising the Lord together corporately.  These young adults are our future and we are a blessed people!


During the school year 1958-1959, the three-star general who was the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, delivered a lecture to the Corps of Cadets on leadership.  He shared these 9 words: “Be Considerate, Lead by Example”, and “Make Quality a Habit.”  He spoke about how these principles were important to them as future military officers, as future husbands and fathers, and in general, as a life motto.  At the time, he told the cadets that there was one final portion that he would share with them in the future.  In the Spring of 1960, Lieutenant General Garrison Holt Davidson spoke again to the cadets of the Class of 1960, who were soon to graduate.  He added those final three words: “Continue to Grow.”  This last phrase was the culmination of what is now known as the Twelve Words.

Be Considerate
Lead by Example
Make Quality a Habit
Continue to Grow

My message to the students in all three Chapels has been centered on these Twelve Words.  As a very young child, I was taught these phrases as our family motto.  My father was one of those cadets who heard Lt. General Davidson’s teachings and he embraced these words as his own personal motto, passing them on to his children.  As situations arose and we faced life together as a family, the truths of God’s Word were amplified through those Twelve Words.  As we read Bible stories, we’d talk about which principles were evident in the actions of the Bible characters.   These twelve words became guiding principles for our lives.   The foundation of the Twelve words comes directly from Biblical examples and we talked about these in the Chapel messages.

  In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), we find several of these principles modeled.  The Good Samaritan showed consideration to stop and care for the wounded man he encountered in his travels.  He led by example in that he did what was needed to care for the person, instead of assuming someone else would or lecturing others to do so.  He even brought the man to an inn to take care of him.  Finally, the Good Samaritan made quality a habit.  After he had cared for the man who had been beaten, stripped, and robbed, he gave two denarii to the innkeeper to pay for the man’s expenses and promised to pay any additional expenses when he returned.  Jesus himself instructed his listeners to “Go and do likewise.” In Luke 10:37.

In the account of where Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding banquet (John 2:1-11), Jesus honored his mother’s request to help.  The host family would have been shamed to have run out of wine for the wedding feast.  Jesus not only miraculously saved the day, but He made wine that was superior to what had been served previously (vs. 11).  He made quality a habit.

Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17.  Jesus showed humility and consideration when he took off His outer garments, assumed the role of a servant, and one at a time washed the feet of His disciples.  He knew He would soon be betrayed and yet He even washed the feet of the man who was about to betray Him.  Jesus led by example.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (vs. 13-17)

In looking at these four phrases that encompass the Twelve Words, I asked the students to help identify Bible stories or Biblical characters which exemplify these principles for living.  Perhaps as a family you can follow-up on this exercise and brainstorm additional examples and discuss them together.

Be Considerate:

  • Matthew 7: 12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
  • Jesus heals the ear of the guard who is trying to arrest him. (John 18)
  • Jesus heals the woman with an issue of blood (Matthew 9:19-22)
  • Jesus heals two blind men (Matthew 9: 27-30) / Many healing miracles Jesus performed.
  • Jesus turning the water into wine to keep the host family from being embarrassed.
  • The Good Samaritan stopping and helping the man who was beaten up and left at the side of the road.
  • Jesus showing humility and care for His disciples and humbling Himself as a servant to wash the feet of the disciples.

Lead by Example:

  • Jesus fed the 5,000 men plus women and children / Jesus also fed 4,000 men plus women and children in a different situation.
  • Joshua – Battle of Jericho and marching around the wall
  • Mordaci – story of Ester – refused to bow down
  • Shadrach, Meshach; and Abednego (Daniel 1-3) – refused to bow down and worship the golden image
  • Moses – obeying God’s Word and leading the Israelites out of Egypt
  • Paul – 3 Missionary journeys
  • Mary (story of Mary and Martha) – time with Jesus
  • Noah – obedient and faithful to build the Ark

Make Quality a Habit:

  • Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
  • Woman used valuable perfume and her own hair to anoint Jesus’ feet (Sinful woman in Luke 7: 36-50 and Mary in John 12:1-11)
  • Ruth: Obed says of Ruth that she comes every day to care for the needs of her mother-in-law
  • David: Saul is trying to kill him and David could slay Saul but David recognizes that Saul is God’s anointed for that time so he only cuts of a piece of his robe.
  • David: Tending the sheep and the battle with the Philistines

Continue to Grow:

  • II Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
  • II Timothy 3: 14-17 “Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of…”
  • Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

How can we apply these principles in our lives?

  • Classroom rules for conduct
  • How we complete our homework/ project/ report in school
  • How we treat others
  • Our attitude regarding our chores
  • As we compete on our sports teams (preparation/training and game days)
  • As we are members of groups such as Choir, Band, Drama (preparation and performance days)
  • As we consider our interactions with our family and family relationships
  • Making decisions
  • Looking forward in life decisions

Military members are occasionally presented a special coin as a token of special thanks, for accomplishing a tough mission, or in recognition of their heroic or significant acts.  These coins are highly valued and displayed prominently or carried in their pockets.  I want to use the model of a military coin to have a way to give special honor and recognition to those who are exemplifying one or more of these principles found in the Twelve Words.  Positive reinforcement and a visual reminder are both highly beneficial.



In the Secondary Chapel, I awarded a newly minted Maranatha Christian Academy coin to the following people:

  • Ty Caffrey, Brin Eisele, Emma Prowell, Cooper Hartwick, Morgan Wilcox, Jack Porter, and Gabe Porter. These young adults are leaders on our student worship team this year and/or they came and led worship for our staff during staff orientation.  These wonderful young adults give of their time, are constantly perfecting their skills, and lead their classmates in worship around the throne.
  • Bryan Burdette Coach Burdette has a philosophy of coaching football that is inspiring.  He is constantly looking for ways to disciple the young men and women in his classes and on his team.  He’s a fabulous mentor.  Coach Burdette leads by example in each of these principles represented in the Twelve Words.

In the Elementary Chapels, we compared these Twelve Words to the SOAR words that Mrs. Howell has taught the students.  I was very impressed by the students’ knowledge of the principles of SOAR and their ability to draw the parallels with the Twelve Words and Scriptural examples.

In Upper Elementary Chapel, I awarded the following Maranatha coins:

  • Be Considerate: Aiden Emanuels
  • Lead by Example: Peter Heddings
  • Make Quality a Habit: Richard Enna
  • Continue to Grow: Nicholas Brownlee
  • Make Quality a Habit: Hughes
  • Lead by Example: Mills

In the Lower Elementary Chapel, I awarded the following Maranatha coins to the student leadership of the worship team and those who led in pledges, sign language, and prayer:

  • Emma Wykoff, Rose Baumler, Violet Porter, Isabella Dehn, and Eva Hugunin
  • Margo Garcia-Scutari, Jonah Knight, Ian Castro, and Johanna Ayana

In the future, the plan is to ask staff members to help me to identify others whose attitude, actions, and choices exemplify the principles of the Twelve Words, and they will be presented Maranatha coins as well.  It is my hope that this motto and the Biblical examples of these principles will become a personal motto for our students, staff, and the Maranatha family as a whole.

As a parent, my hope is that the principles of God’s Word permeate every area of my life including my parenting.  I am certain you have the same aspirations for your own life.  As I get older and am beginning to get those silver lines of distinguishment show up in my brown hair, I wonder what sort of legacy I’ll have as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, Head of School, Christian leader, friend, and neighbor.  I’d like it to be said of me when I’m enjoying the presence of the Lord Jesus, that I was follower of Jesus Christ, considerate, led by example, made quality a habit, and continued to grow.  May we all aspire to walk in such a way to honor Him!

Parents and Grandparents are always welcome to join us for Chapels.  Secondary Chapel is on Wednesdays in the sanctuary of Cross Points Christian Church at 10:30 am.  Upper Elementary Chapel is on Fridays in the Multi-Purpose room on the south campus at 12:30 pm.  Lower Elementary Chapel is on Fridays in the Multi-Purpose room on the north campus at 2:15 pm.

Janet E. H. Fogh


Meet Maranatha’s new teachers

At Maranatha, we’re family. Together, we educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform the world for Jesus Christ. Join us in welcoming Maranatha’s newest educators to our family!

Kirsten Abkes Maranatha TeacherName: Kjirsten Abkes
Teaches: 10th and 12th grade English and Yearbook
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mrs. Abkes: At home in Olathe with her family (and new baby!) doing plenty of home renovation projects. Or, you’ll find her outside enjoying the outdoors and running the trails.
Most excited for: “Getting to know my students and fellow faculty members,” she says.“I’m also really excited for the books we will be reading in class this year — they’re some of my favorites!”

Name: Whitney Chudy
Teaches: 7th through 12th grade Spanish and Bible
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mrs. Chudy: Church or home — with her husband working in their church plant in Olathe, or fixing up their house in Gardner, Kansas.
Most excited for: “I’m excited to see Maranatha students grow spiritually, personally and academically.”

Kenan - New MCA teacher - Maranatha Christian AcademyName: Kenan Brown
Teaches: 9th and 10th grade World History, Geography and Bible
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mr. Brown: In the Midtown neighborhood of Kansas City.
Most excited for: “I’m looking forward to helping the students learn and grow in both their Christian character and academic success.”

Get to know the rest of our Maranatha family by visiting our staff and teacher page. Curious about how your child can become part of the MCA family? We welcome new students throughout the year. Reach out to us to coordinate a visit >>

Academic excellence and the MCA college fair

Maranatha pairs Biblical standards with excellent academics, so students grow into people of character. We exist to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform their world for Jesus Christ — and college prep is a critical aspect of MCA education. We’re pleased to host the annual Kansas City Area Christian College fair on September 25, where students can connect with a wide variety of colleges.

Academic Excellence - Maranatha College Fair

At the secondary level, Maranatha students experience a college preparatory course of study, and they have the opportunity to earn college credit through one of several collaborating colleges. More than 95% of each graduating class enrolls in college.

The annual Christian College Fair will feature more than 30 religiously-affiliated colleges and universities. Students can meet representatives from the following schools:

  • Bob Jones University

  • Calvary University

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

  • Colorado Christian University

  • Concordia University, NE

  • Dallas Baptist University

  • Dordt College

  • Evangel University

  • Grace University

  • Hannibal-Lagrange University

  • Heartland Christian College

  • Hesston College

  • John Brown University

  • Manhattan Christian College

  • MidAmerica Nazarene University

  • Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Missouri Baptist University

  • North Park University

  • Northwestern College

  • Oklahoma Baptist University

  • Oklahoma Christian University

  • Olivet Nazarene University

  • Oral Roberts University

  • Point Loma Nazarene University

  • Southern Nazarene University

  • Sterling College

  • Tabor College

  • Trevecca Nazarene University

  • Trinity Western University

  • Union University

  • University of Northwestern – St. Paul

The fair will be held September 25, 2017, at the Maranatha Christian Academy/North Campus Gym (15000 West 63rd Street, Shawnee KS) from 6 – 8 pm.

How Student Council members serve MCA students

Christ is the focal point of everything we do at Maranatha, including our Student Council. From serving their peers through events to make sure every MCA student feels welcome, Student Council members are practicing servant leadership throughout the year. 

“The Student Council sets a spiritual tone for our school, and these students set the standard for leadership through service to their peers,” says Kevin Bergerhofer, Director of Facilities and MCA. He and his wife Cheryl, the kitchen coordinator at Maranatha, advise the Student Council students. Kevin and Cheryl have three children: one is a current MCA student and two are MCA graduates.

The Student Council, affectionately nicknamed “StuCo,” is composed of upperclassmen officers and grade representatives starting in seventh grade. The StuCo works on a number of events and activities each year, even before school officially starts. The students help at the Discover MCA event, meeting potential Maranatha families. They coordinated a high school ice cream social to kick off the school year, complete with swimming, volleyball and a worship service.

To facilitate the transition from elementary school to junior high, the StuCo members also help at seventh and eighth grade orientation. “It’s easy for students to be apprehensive going into the junior high years, and the StuCo members are able to help them,” Mr. Bergerhofer says.

On the first day of school, StuCo members personally welcomed every MCA student, greeting them warmly with songs and cheers. “The StuCo members make sure each student knows how happy we are to have them back!”

How Student Council members serve MCA students - Student Council - Maranatha Christian Academy - Christian school Kansas City

After the school year has launched, StuCo’s next activity is organizing the international student mixer. For some MCA international students, this is their first time to the United States; for many, it’s their first time in Kansas. The StuCo members accompany international students to an athletic activity (this year, it’s a volleyball game), and then on a tour around town afterwards.

Homecoming is also an exciting Student Council activity. From the spirit days to the Homecoming Pep Rally and Bonfire to the Homecoming Dance, the students organize every aspect. The students emphasize attendance, unity and faith throughout each event. “Some students say that they’re not going to the dance because they don’t have a date,” Mr. Bergerhofer says. “Last year, to emphasize unity, the StuCo had a ‘dynamic duo’ theme, so students could feel comfortable going with a buddy, downplaying the couples aspect so everyone feels welcome.”

Much of the Student Council work throughout the year is done behind the scenes, Mr. Bergerhofer says. “Much of their servant work is done where the rubber meets the road, setting up before and cleaning up after events. Lots of these things the other students may not see, and the StuCo is working in servanthood without a lot of fanfare.”

“Each and every year, I’m amazed by the talent God gives us in Student Council,” Mr. Bergerhofer says. “He provides the right students at the right place and at the right time to serve their peers. It’s a blessing for my wife and me to work with them!”

Welcome Emily Howell as the new Elementary Principal!

Join us in welcoming new Maranatha Elementary School principal Emily Howell! Mrs. Howell’s connection to Christian education dates back to her own schooling. “I attended St. Joseph Christian School in St. Joseph, Missouri, so Christian education has been part of my life from a very young age,” she says. “I remember coming to Maranatha as a student to compete against Maranatha in ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) competitions, so beginning this job feels a little bit like coming home to me.”

“When the principal position at Maranatha opened up, I was very excited about the opportunity to use the educational experiences I have been blessed with, as well as the opportunity to get back into Christian education,” Mrs. Howell says. “I know how important Christian education was to me growing up, so I jumped at the chance to join the MCA team.”

Emily Howell

Family is at the heart of everything in Maranatha, and Mrs. Howell loves the strong MCA community. “It’s definitely a family atmosphere, and I have felt very welcomed here. Maranatha has a lot of wonderful things that I have missed since being out of the Christian school environment, and I feel like I have some skills to bring to Maranatha as well.”

Mrs. Howell looks forward to many things in the year ahead, especially a new and consistent view of behavior expectations. “This is one of the things I am really excited about. We have developed a behavior expectation chart based on SOAR,” she says. SOAR is an acronym for Strive to do your best, Own your actions, Always work together and Respect others. “Collaborating with teachers on this has been great and I am excited to see what this looks like in the coming year as students learn that language of SOAR and having that consistency.”

“Another big dream for this year is to take Maranatha’s elementary to new heights academically,” she says. “I am eager to even further build up our instructional practices so we can continue to build an academic program that is not only excellent, but supports the needs of many kinds of learners.”

Mrs. Howell studied at Missouri Western State University, where she earned her degree in Music Education. She went on to earn her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University. Her first role was as a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom. “The experience broadened me educationally and was a wonderful experience for me,” she says. She also taught elementary music class in St. Joseph, as well as second and third grade.

Mrs. Howell moved with her family to the Kansas City area a few years ago and taught third grade in the Platte County school district, as well as held teacher leadership positions. Once in Kansas City, she completed her Educational Specialist degree from William Woods University — and Mrs. Howell is well on her way to becoming Dr. Howell, with coursework underway to receive her Doctorate.

Mrs. Howell enjoys spending time with her husband and two stepsons, as well as their dog and cats. They live in the Northland area of Kansas City. She and her husband both enjoy music and enjoy leading worship at their church, Fellowship of Grace in Parkville, Missouri.

As Mrs. Howell starts her first year as Maranatha principal, she looks forward to getting to know all the students and their families. “I am excited to get to know these families and serve these families!”

Welcome Back Eagles!


Building character in summer sports camps

This summer, about 160 students participated in a wide variety of camps and activities at Maranatha Christian Academy.

MCA cheerleading

Students enjoyed participating in camps highlighting soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, cheerleading and a conditioning camp called Sportsmetrics (a camp that deals with strengthening the core and muscle groups to help avoid injuries). “We had some dynamite coaches working with our kids from grades second through twelfth,” says Dave Keener, Athletic Director and Dean of Students.

MCA tennis

Maranatha fosters the development of Christian values in our students, raising them up into people of integrity. So many of the coaches used a daily theme for their campers to incorporate character qualities into their camps. “The enthusiasm of the eager learners was encouraging to see,” Mr. Keener says.

MCA basketball

This year, several guest instructors made special appearances during girls and boys basketball camps. “They were highly experienced players who had great testimonies of where God had taken them in the sport and how it changed their lives,” Mr. Keener says. “The kids enjoyed hearing those experiences.”

MCA volleyball

“I truly appreciate the coaches here at MCA, who are highly skilled in their sport and do an exceptional job at working to build their programs through the younger ages,” Mr. Keener says. “They planted many seeds this summer that we hope will bear fruit in the MCA sports programs for years to come.”