Two decades ago, Providence School was just a vision. Today it is one of the top Christian schools in Northeast Florida. We are over twenty years strong and still growing! Founded by Bishop Paul Zink in 1997, Providence is a gift from the congregation of New Life Christian Fellowship to the community of Jacksonville. What God has helped Providence to accomplish in only two decades can be described in one word—MIRACULOUS!
New Life Christian Fellowship was founded in 1984. After the church outgrew their first building, they began looking for land to build a new 99,000 square foot complex. When the question arose, “How much land do we need?” Pastor Zink answered, “enough for a school.”
In 1995, Pastor Zink was inspired by the Lord to step out in faith and declare to his congregation of over 4,000 people, “I believe the Lord wants us to build a school.”
As a college-preparatory school, the highest value is placed on providing a strong academic foundation for college. Our graduates have continued their education at some of the most prestigious colleges, universities and service academies in the nation. Our test scores consistently exceed the state and national averages, and our graduates are offered millions in merit-based scholarships.
Over 40 boys and girls athletic teams practice and compete on the fields and in the gym, and our athletic program has produced over 48 FHSAA State Championship appearances. The Biltmore Estate, Carnegie Hall, Disney World and Washington, D.C. have hosted our choir, band and artwork. Providence’s Fine Arts programs have had outstanding success with many students earning significant scholarships to further their education. The bottom line—PROVIDENCE SCHOOL IS STRONG!
Pastor Zink explained the vision God gave him of an exemplary school. In his dream, he saw a black stretch limousine pull up in front of the school, and a child got out and went into the school. A short time later, another child got out of another limousine that had a Government seal on the side of the car. Then, another limousine arrived, this time it had a Presidential seal on the side. This dream confirmed the type of school he was to build. The future school would be a college-preparatory school based on Christian principles, with high academics and social graces. It would prepare students for a future based on God’s divine will for their lives. He later told his congregation, “It will be an environment where the highest quality education can be achieved. This school will set a new level of excellence in integrity and education. It will draw the community towards it. And I want God’s name to be honored by every employee and student that passes through the halls of this school.”
Pastor Zink and his staff did their homework. He sought the counsel of well-known ministers and educators to advise him on building a school. Most of them recommended starting with an elementary school first. He reflected on their wise advice, but he knew he heard from the Lord and was to build a Preschool through 12th grade school. As he pursued God’s heart in making decisions, the Lord revealed the name of the school, Providence, which means “divine leadership.”
Looking back over the past 20 years, it is fitting that the history and meaning of the Providence crest be emphasized once again. In 1997, the Providence crest was designed by the founding Head of School, Mr. Don Barfield. He chose three words wisdom, honor and righteousness to encircle the seal as character traits that the school would emphasize in the development of the Providence students. These words serve as the three main pillars of Providence School. The Bible is the foundation for the pillars and symbolizes God’s word. The cross in the center is the central focus of what we stand for, Jesus Christ. At Providence, we encourage our students to strive for wisdom, honor, and righteousness, to live a life founded on God’s word, and strive to be more like Christ.