Football coach Richard Lazarou came to our January 13 Equipping Session in hopes of finding a church partner for his school, Willowridge High School. Various churches had served the school in different ways, but Richard was really hoping for a church that would be committed to a long-term partnership with Willowridge.
The discussions at the Equipping Session were vibrant. The inspiration and statistics shared were eye-opening. And as the only teacher in a room full of church leaders, Richard was able to share valuable insights about the challenges his kids face and the opportunities for community partners to help.
After the session, Richard was excited about the work Loving Houston is doing to equip and encourage churches to serve schools. He was so excited in fact that he left all of his materials at the session! This proved, however, to be a perfect opportunity to ask us for a soft copy of the presentation, which he then presented to his own church to see if they would be willing to partner with Willowridge. And guess what? They said yes!
Jan 13 Equipping Session
Dr. Stephen Klineberg of Rice University’s Kinder Institute advised us early on that the consistent presence of a caring adult in a child’s life makes all the difference in the world. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (although you can be!). You just need to show up each week during your scheduled time, ready to listen. Are you ready to step up and serve?
Email us if you have questions, or if you know of another program we should know about. Follow our hashtag #PartnershipIdeas on Twitter or Facebook for more ideas about how you can serve your local school.
Why Long-Term Partnerships?
Note: This could be a tough read, but would you at least consider Robert’s ideas as you seek to serve your community with Christ’s love? The ideas in this book have convinced us to stop planning one-time events and instead focus on equipping churches to form long-term partnerships with local schools.
“When we do for those in need what they have the capacity to do for themselves, we disempower them…
“And religiously motivated charity is often the most irresponsible. Our free food and clothing distribution encourages ever-growing handout lines, diminishing the dignity of the poor while increasing their dependency. We converge on inner-city neighborhoods to plant flowers and pick up trash, bruising the pride of residents who have the capacity (and responsibility) to beautify their own environments. We fly off on mission trips to poverty-stricken villages, hearts full of pity and suitcases bulging with giveaway goods, trips that one Nicaraguan leader describes as effective only in ‘turning my people into beggars.’
“Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people…
“Our congregations are full of compassionate, creative people with all manner of worthy causes that are close to their hearts… But as we have seen, charity can be either toxic or transformative. To be ultimately redemptive, it must be carefully considered…
“If we want to see substantial change in a troubled neighborhood, we must concentrate energies and resources there over time… The effort must be sustained over time to produce deep and permanent change.
“Authentic relationships with those in need have a way of correcting the we-will-rescue-you mind-set and replacing it with mutual admiration and respect… [T]he poor, no matter how destitute, have enormous untapped capacity; find it, be inspired by it, and build upon it.”
How This Applies to Your School Partnership
Build upon untapped capacity: Empower the students through mentoring and tutoring, equip the parents through parenting programs, and encourage the teachers and staff through notes of encouragement, appreciation events, and investing in their professional development. Your faithful partnership might be just the encouragement they need.One of the most valuable things your church can offer your local school is HOPE: a belief that the future can be better, and that they have the power to make it so. Thank YOU for your desire to love your neighbors with Christ’s love and for offering hope!