1) How did your church first get started working with your local schools?
We have been working with the local schools for over 10 years. – Tom G. Revilla
It started with our geographic location right across the street. After unsuccessful attempts to interact we prayed for openings to collaborate. When a new principal came on we began to partner together to do an event. We gathered a group of members that are teachers by profession and brainstormed ideas of how we can interact and support the schools in our neighborhood. – Adam Griffin
2) Were there any obstacles to overcome when you first started? If so, what were they?
The obstacle we had to overcome is that the school at first thought that all we wanted was things from them. When they learned that we were in this to benefit the families and not the church, everything changed. - Tom G. Revilla
Distrust on the school side at the very beginning. – Adam Griffin
3) What kind of work/programs/services are you doing for or offering to the school?
We offer an after-school program for the elementary school and middle school kids that are right across the street from the church. Also, high school kids come in and use our computer lab to do their homework and social networking. We also provide back packs with school supplies and cookies for the teachers and teacher appreciation breakfast. - Tom G. Revilla
We offer several forms of mentoring and tutoring, facility improvement, faculty support, help filling open positions, members sit on decision making boards at the schools, supporting extracurriculars, supporting the vision for the feeder pattern and district employees. – Adam Griffin
4) Share one story or memory that has really stood out or affirmed the Lord’s calling to engage that school during that time.
Our newest campus actually meets in a school. We raised over $1000 to donate to their PTA. Since then, we have been having some of the school teachers visit our services and come to hear about Christ. - Tom G. Revilla
Just recently a group of students went to camp with Wyldlife and many of the girls that went met Christ. They’ve been coming to church here the last few weeks. It’s been absolutely beautiful. – Adam Griffin
5) What advice would you give to churches who are seeking to or just starting to work with their local schools?
Give. Give and also give. Learn to be givers and not just takers. Educators are smart and they can look right through people. Go in with good intentions and let them see that you are all in this together. - Tom G. Revilla
The principal is the gateway to the entire school. Love him or her well and offer to support whatever vision they have for the school however you can. – Adam Griffin
Answers provided by Tom G. Revilla, Coordinator of Community Ministries, Buckner Children and Families Services, San Antonio, TX and Adam Griffin, NextGen Minister, THE VILLAGE CHURCH – Dallas, TX.
As the 2013-14 school year is starting, are you looking for a place to connect with students? You can find mission opportunities to work with students by contacting a school close to your church or through Be On Mission. You can search by Category types Education, Community Outreach/Development, Inner City Ministry, Youth Ministry or College Ministry. You may also toggle between Open, Ongoing and Completed projects on the map by using the color pins above the search tool.
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