Many Families – Two Schools – One God.  This is ‘His Story’

The Spirit of the Lord was obviously moving in the hearts and minds of people like Pr. Jerry Kovacs and the dedicated families at Church of the Living God.  In 1979, after much prayer and preparation, the church launched Living God Christian School, the area’s first non-denominational Christian school. LGCS served grades 1 – 6 under the leadership of its first principal, Allan Holbrooke.   

Opening of the Elementary, 1979
Alumnus Josh Knorr (left) was one of our first graduates. Today, his children attend TCCS.

The new school, housed in the recently constructed Living God church building on the outskirts of Traverse City, was ideal for both its accessibility to students and its potential for expansion. In fact, additional space at the church was soon needed, with offices becoming classrooms and the sanctuary doubling as a gymnasium.

As time progressed, another group of parents began sensing God’s leading to continue the development of Christian education in the Traverse City area.  In 1995, these parents formed the Traverse City Christian School Association and established a Christian high school for grades 7-12. The first principal was Dr. Robert Liske, ably assisted by a dedicated staff including a young math teacher named Judy Radtke who joined the faculty in 1997 and continues to teach at TC Christian today. 

Housed in a vacant church building on Keystone Road (now the site of City Church), the high school grew quickly and it soon became obvious that additional space was needed.  Plans were drafted to construct a new building on 40 acres of farmland on Emerson Road. This new facility was a leap of faith as its size, complexity, and cost was a significant step up from TC Christian’s humble beginnings.  ​

High School founders (L to R) Kelly Miller, John Wicksall, and Doug Knorr (along with Principal Dr. Bob Liske – Center) break ground on the new TC Christian campus.

Construction on the present site began in 1997 and in 1998, the students moved in.  The new facility offered space for 325 students and a full range of modern school requirements including classrooms and library, a full size gym with regulation basketball and volleyball courts, a theater stage, full-service cafeteria, and adjacent sports fields.

Fast forward to 2007.  The parents at Living God Christian School, with the full support of Living God Church, had determined that the time was right to ‘cut the cord’ and re-brand the school as a separate entity from the church.  LGCS had always operated independently but its name implied otherwise. The transition was accomplished seamlessly and LGCS was officially renamed ‘Cornerstone Christian School’.

In 2009, another growth change took place.  The Cornerstone Board of Trustees, seeing that the vast majority of Cornerstone graduates were moving to TC Christian to complete their high school education, felt it made sense to consider combining the schools.  Accordingly, an overture was made to the TC Christian Board and after much discussion and prayer, the two schools mutually agreed to unify under the name ‘Traverse City Christian School’.  

Traverse City Christian, circa 2020. Future plans call for a soccer field and track along with an expansion of the building to accommodate a growing student body.

The two schools operated as one, albeit on two campuses a mile apart, until 2010 when the decision was made to relocate the elementary school from its original location on Birmley Road to its present location.

​Today, Traverse City Christian School remains the area’s only non-denominational Christian school.  At any given time, you will find students from as many as 30 different churches in our classrooms along with a few who are still seeking.  All of them are uniquely gifted by God to serve Him.  

At the end of the day, we remain focused on our core mission:  teaching students so they can succeed academically, think strategically, problem solve with grace, reach their potential, and most importantly, filter everything they do through God’s Word.  This prepares them to lead; have a strong work ethic; be strong and courageous; have discernment; and grow into great husbands, wives, and parents.  These are the people who can impact a waiting world for Jesus Christ..

TC Christian has a great history.  It’s great because it’s ‘His Story’.


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