Local ministries are doing an amazing job of meeting the needs of the marginalized – those living in poverty, those struggling to find a job after being incarcerated, or those who are looking for help leaving behind a life of addiction. Did you know that there is an institution in our community where the local church can serve the poor, feed the hungry, minister to the homeless, welcome refugees, and care for orphans all in one place? Where is this, you ask? Neighborhood schools. Every church is planted in a neighborhood; every neighborhood has a school or schools; every school has needs that simply can’t be met by administrators and staff alone.
What are some reasons churches should consider forming a partnership with a school?
- There is such a wide array of ways that a church can help. People sitting in the pews have so many diverse talents and gifts, and a school can use all of them. From tutoring to lunch room monitoring to organizing a clothes closet to helping teachers create bulletin boards to helping with small maintenance projects. The list of opportunities at your neighborhood school is nearly endless.
- Creating a partnership between a church and a school provides benefits to both partners. The staff, administration, and students will be blessed by the church’s consistent presence, their meeting of needs that are specific to that particular community, and their encouragement. The volunteers will be blessed by the relationships that are formed, the lessons they learn, and the personal growth they will experience.
- It really is a wonderful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to be salt and light in the community. There should be no hidden agendas going into these partnerships. We recommend simply starting with the question, “What can we do to help?” Schools can feel comfortable with the church’s presence, and we can trust that God will work in the hearts and minds of all those who are impacted. This might be some students or staff members only tangible experience with the Church, perhaps their first or only experience with Christians. What an amazing opportunity to introduce Christ in this way- through relationship, presence, and love.
Think. Try to imagine all of the issues and problems in your community. Now think of the school as a microcosm of society. Imagine teachers trying to teach a classroom full of students of different ability levels, different backgrounds, with different family issues. What an impact the local church could make in coming alongside of educators and families. Take a look at just one example of a working partnership here. This is a partnership Love Akron helped form at Findley CLC back in 2013, which is still going strong today. https://youtu.be/KhxBCiqtu7E
Act. Did reading this resonate with you? Do you wish something like this could happen in your own church? Talk to your pastor. Call a friend in the education world and hear the challenges and needs they have. Then consider reaching out to The Love Akron Network. Our Love Akron Schools program is working to train, equip, and encourage churches in the formation of these partnerships. Reach out. I’d love to talk to you about upcoming training sessions. I also can sit down with you and share the vision, and I’m also available to speak to small or large groups.
Pray. God wants to use His people to bring His hope, His peace, and His love to those who need it most. He desires for us to “…do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…”
Just imagine what would happen if every school in the Greater Akron Area had a caring church partner. It would be beautiful. It would be a change-maker. It would be transformational.
Director of Communications & Education