It has been so encouraging for us to see how church networks across Greater Houston WANT to see their churches caring for their local communities. One of the core values of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas is “Meeting human needs: Bringing the love of Christ to a hurting world.” The United Methodist Church has called upon its local congregations to “establish and nurture partnerships with local schools.” Union Baptist Association wants to see their congregations “transforming [their] communities, Houston, and the world.”
Tom Billings, the Executive Director of Union Baptist Association, is the chair of our Loving Houston Executive Committee and recently shared with us this powerful story:
Churches that focus on survival rarely survive.
Alice’s church had been dying off slowly for years. Attendance had dropped off to fourteen people, most of whom were in their seventies and eighties. Meeting together, they decided they wanted to do something worthwhile before they were “dead, done and gone.”
A few members from the congregation approached the principal of a nearby elementary school and said to him, “Our church is down to fourteen people. We’ve been dying off for years. It will not be many years before we are gone. Before that happens, we’d like to do something to be helpful with the children and the faculty in this elementary school.”
The principal clarified which church they represented and said, “Oh, I thought your church had died years ago.”
“In a way we had,” they responded.
They made an agreement with the principal that they would be helpful in whatever ways they could to both the children and the faculty of the elementary school.
They made some mistakes. They learned as they went, but they could never imagine what would happen. Not only did they help the school. In helping the school they helped themselves. Folks responded to their sense of mission and began attending the church. A year later close to one hundred people attended the church. The church that was almost “dead, done and gone” was flourishing.
Churches that focus on survival rarely survive. Churches that focus on service flourish.
Churches don’t need to be large to be focused on mission and service, but they do need to be intentional in their efforts. Loving Houston can help you learn how to establish a church-school partnership. Who knows? By helping others you may just help yourself as well.
Executive Director, Union Baptist Association
Story told by Dr. Kennon Callahan in a UBA seminar on small, strong congregations.
Would You Pray With Us?
Pray for every school being cared for by a church in the Greater Houston area. Pray that kids, teachers, and parents would be positively impacted and encouraged as a result of the relationships formed.
Pray for our Loving Houston Board Members, Advisors, and Staff. Pray that we would follow God’s leading as we engage and equip more churches and school districts to join together in partnership for the good of our children and our communities.
Pray for every workshop coming up this year. Pray that church leaders will participate and be inspired to care for our local schools. And pray for every presenter who shares – that God will use them to cast vision, inspire, and educate other partnership leaders.
We pray for church and school leaders every week. How can we pray for you?