Core Values of Core Academy

Six years ago this January, we found out we'd be launching Core Academy of Science, even though we didn't know it at the time.  It has been a long journey.  I've learned a lot, especially through trial and error.  We've had some amazing successes, and we've suffered some painful losses.  Through it all, God has been faithful, and we're still here.  I talked with a lot of business folks six years ago, and they all told me that if we could survive the first five years, we'd probably be OK.  And here we are.

The question I'd like to address is why we're here at all.  Why does the world and the church need Core Academy?

I think the first answer to that question is our new mission statement: Core Academy of Science nurtures the next generation of faithful, Christ-like creation researchers to explore the hardest problems in creation.  We want to focus our efforts and work on a specific group of talented students who have a real chance of becoming the next generation of scholarly leaders.  I keep thinking back to Jesus ministering to the twelve apostles and to Peter, James, and John.  Our Savior focused his ministry on leadership, even while he was also ministering to the masses.  That's what Core Academy is all about.

What about those hard problems?  Hard problems are a step beyond easy problems.  With easy problems, you just apply a known solution or plug your numbers into a formula.  Hard problems take much longer to resolve.  They require commitment and patience and sustained effort.  They don't get fixed overnight.  The funny thing about the creation/evolution debate is that everyone seems to think this is an easy problem, and yet the debate persists and shows no signs of resolution.  I believe that's because it's not an easy problem.  Resolving the hard problem of origins will take decades and generations.  The best thing we can do is raise up the next generation of leaders to be faithful to the task.  Core Academy has a nice essay on the idea of hard problems and how they play into our mission.

More recently, I was challenged to make a list of core values that define the culture of our organization.  These values go beyond the typical business values of integrity or treating customers with respect.  I wanted to craft a list of values that really captured the spirit of Core Academy.  In fact, these core values should clearly answer the questions of why we exist and why you should support us.

First, and most importantly, we put Christ before creation.  We remain committed to the young-age creationist position, but we also know that many Christians are not so certain.  At Core Academy, we want Christ to outshine disagreements and disputes.

Second, following our first goal, we also create a safe place to ask the hardest questions.  People should always have a place to ask difficult questions, because hard questions are everywhere.  You should always feel free to ask us the most challenging questions, and we'll try to encourage your faith even if we don't have an answer.

Third, we build intergenerational community.  We understand that forming the next generation of faithful creation researchers happens not just in the classroom but in the personal relationships between students and those of us who have gone before them.  These personal relationships between older and younger believers are key to nurturing a healthy, vibrant faith in young people.

Fourth, we celebrate the power and wonder of discovery.  God’s creation is an amazing gift, full of surprises and delights for those who study it.  Even though we know creation is often misinterpreted and abused, that never diminishes the thrill of what God has made.  We praise him for his mighty works!  We also recognize that the creation/evolution debate will not advance by repeating the same old arguments.  We encourage new research and new discoveries to help us better understand the world God made.

Fifth, because God has made such a dazzling and astonishing world, we owe him nothing less than our very best when we study and describe it.  We encourage all of our friends and students to pursue excellence in everything they do.  You’ll notice this from our presentations at research conferences, the technical articles and books we publish, and the careful way we describe our work to the world.  You may not always understand what we’re talking about, but you should always recognize our commitment to be the best scholars we can be.

Sixth, our commitment to excellence leads us to value honesty even if it hurts us.  That means we’ll admit when the other guy makes a good point.  If we can’t answer a hard question, we’ll say so.  If we’ve done something wrong in the past or made a mistake, we’ll own up to it.  Valuing honesty is another work in progress for us, but we keep working towards that goal.

Seventh, through all of these values, our mission remains the next generation, turning students into scholars.  We know it’s a little odd restating an organization’s mission as one of the core values, but that’s how important the next generation is.  The work that needs to be done to resolve the hard problems in the world of origins—from biblical interpretation to cosmogony to fossil hominins—cannot be accomplished in one lifetime.  We need to equip a new generation to be better than we are: to face questions we never anticipated, to roll up their sleeves for the work ahead, and to follow the Lord even more closely.

These are the core values of Core Academy.  They define who we are and what we’re about.  How do we accomplish them?  Through our creation retreats and the Sanders Scholarships.  Our retreats build relationships between scholars and students as we gather in casual settings to consider challenging, unresolved questions.  Our next retreats will be in the Shenandoah Valley in March and the Smoky Mountains in April.  Beginning in 2019, the Roger W. Sanders Memorial Scholarship fund will sponsor faculty/student mentoring.

We couldn’t do any of this without our many friends and partners.  Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!  If you haven't become a partner of Core Academy, would you join us in our work?  We’re seeking $16,000 to end 2018 in the black and fund the Sanders Scholarship in 2019.  Any gift will help.  Thank you!

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.

Have you read my book?  You should check that out too!