Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee hosted this year’s first Write Beside You adopt-a-school-initiative workshop to equip local church leaders in reaching their public schools for Christ.
Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC), has challenged Florida Baptist churches to see public schools as a mission field for their local church. There are over 4,000 public schools in Florida and roughly 3,100 Florida Baptist churches. “Imagine the impact our churches could make if each of them adopted one school,” said Green.
The Write Beside You Initiative is the FBC’s way of resourcing churches to partner with public schools in their communities.
The event, attended by 125 pastors and leaders, was done in partnership with The Urban Alternative’s Adopt-a-school initiative, a branch of Tony Evans Ministry, and the staff from The Urban Alternative facilitated the training.
Bill Collins, vice president of The Urban Alternative, challenged church leaders to make public school ministry a priority. “If your church shuts the doors, would the school even know it?” The staff emphasized the importance of building relationships with the school to be able to make positive impact in the lives of students, teachers, staff and families to ultimately share Christ.
“Community ministry is vital and will be vital until Jesus comes,” said Gary Townsend, north Florida regional catalyst of the FBC. “So we have to go into the field where the next generation is and make a difference as mentors and just have a presence, come right beside them and let them know we are there for them.”
Brandon Denmark, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights, attended the conference along with executive pastor, Scott Stanland. “I attended the Write Beside You conference in hopes of gaining some practical insights on how I can further our church’s relationship with our local schools,” said Denmark. “The wisdom and material shared in these sessions has given me a number of ideas I plan to pursue in the near future.”
Some ways churches can help include:
- Serving faculty and staff by providing breakfasts and lunches
- Helping set up classrooms
- Doing beautification work on campus
- Providing pre-game meals for sports teams
- Setting up a backpack feeding program
The Florida Baptist Convention will host one more “Write Beside You” adopt a school workshop with The Urban Alternative in 2019. That event will be held in Miami on May 16. Find out more about that event here.
By Billy Young, Florida Baptist Convention, February 26, 2019