BRANDON–“#ForOurTeachers” isn’t a catchy hashtag that Bell Shoals Church attached to a social media post – it’s their mission.
“Bell Shoals is a part of a mission and a movement that is changing the world,” said Patrick Clark, creative strategy pastor at the Brandon church. “We believe the life-changing truth of the gospel is real and everyone can take part in it. Our mission is to make disciples here at home and around the world.”
Being on mission at home is exactly why the church has created its newly established “For Our Teachers” emphasis. With five campuses in west central Florida, the church realized teachers across their communities spend a lot of their own money to supply their classrooms throughout the year. Piling on to this normal, age-old occurrence was the added stress and burden of keeping students safe as concerns over the pandemic continue.
The effort originated “because we knew this year was going to be a challenge for our educators,” said Clark. “We know they would deal with many stressful situations, especially in regard to dealing with COVID-19.”
To serve those in their community and alleviate this burden, the church came alongside teachers in a big way. This month, each of the five campuses adopted a local elementary school in their area and hundreds of members gathered paper goods, cleaning products and office supplies for teachers and their classrooms.
“The For Our Teachers emphasis was a great success and really made a difference at five area elementary schools,” said Scott Odom, executive pastor at Bell Shoals.
The church was able to deliver 2,209 rolls of paper towels, 2,224 boxes of tissues, 16,000 ounces of hand sanitizer, 838 containers of wipes, 3,319 post-it pads, and 275 dry erase markers.
The church’s generosity didn’t just come through paper goods and supplies. The congregation gifted several $1,000 checks and hand-written, personalized cards to teachers and administrators.
For Dover, Gibsonton, Fishhawk Creek, Apollo Beach, and Palm River elementary schools – there is no doubt in their minds that the church is for them.
Bell Shoals doesn’t want to just be for their local schools. The church plans to come alongside hospitals, first responders, and others in their community for lasting, gospel-impact.
“We want our schools, hospitals, first responders, and others in our community to know that Bell Shoals cares about them for the long haul,” said Clark.
With a desire to have a kingdom-impact and a passion to make disciples, the church is committed to developing lasting relationships with the goal of building bridges that lead to gospel conversations.
“One of our ‘hills we die on’ is that we are community minded,” said Clark. “We believe in being a blessing to our community with the goal of developing long-term relationships that build bridges to gospel conversations.”
“For Our Teachers is another way we can build bridges to our community that we can use to let them know we love them and that ultimately God loves them.”
Watch the recap video of the For Our Teachers emphasis here.