Our History

The LifeWise family spends a lot of time telling stories. Funny stories, crazy stories, powerful stories. We love to recount what God has done because we know that rightly remembering the Lord’s faithfulness in our past challenges us to be faithful in the present and future. Our stories protect us and keep us on the right trajectory.


Ancient History

LifeWise Academy was born out of a partnership between two ministries: Stand For Truth and Cross Over the Hill. Stand For Truth was founded in 2011 as an event-based ministry to reach unchurched students in public schools with the gospel. Cross Over the Hill was founded in 2012 to provide released time Bible education to public school students in Van Wert, OH.


The Riddle

In 2018, Tim Stoller, a founding Cross Over the Hill board member, engaged Joel Penton, the Stand For Truth founder and Van Wert native, to help answer the question, “If released time is legal and so impactful, then why is it so uncommon?” They concluded that too many barriers to entry existed and that a “plug n’ play” model was called for. The Cross Over the Hill board encouraged Penton to form a new division of Stand For Truth to develop the concept, and LifeWise Academy was born.


Proof of Concept

Two schools pioneered the LifeWise model in 2019: Ayersville Schools in Ayersville, OH (serving grades 1-6) and Riverview Schools in Conesville, OH (serving grades 1-3). Both schools enrolled more than 60% of their eligible students. Midway through the 2019-20 school year, the Cross Over the Hill board in Van Wert voted to rebrand and reorganize to become the flagship LifeWise Academy.


Going Viral

Amidst the worldwide Covid pandemic, LifeWise launched in three additional schools across two school districts, including the first program to operate a shuttle bus. By the end of the 2020-21 school year, LifeWise was serving eight schools across five school districts and set the goal to serve 25 schools by 2025.



The goal to serve 25 schools by 2025 was immediately shattered when 28 new schools launched, bringing the total to 36 schools served with more than 5,600 students enrolled! The new programs included multiple inner-city schools, a suburban school and the first LifeWise program outside the state of Ohio. In 2021, a new goal was set to reach 1,000 schools and 150,000 students enrolled by the 2026-27 school year.








LifeWise Academy | PO Box 1179 Hilliard, OH 43026 | Copyright 2024