I recently received a communication from my grandson’s school with a countdown to the start of the new school year. It can be a time of excitement and new beginnings; it can also be a time of challenge for families. It is also a great opportunity for our churches to share the love of Christ by supporting not only the families in our churches, but families in the community who need a little extra assistance. Vital Families Church/School Partners are serving Families through school supply drives and other practical ways.
At a time when an increasing number of our students returning to school are struggling academically and emotionally, we need “vital” families. The Macmillan dictionary defines the word “vital” as: (1) very important, necessary, or essential, (2) full of energy and life (3) necessary to keep you alive. Research continues to confirm vital families are the most significant factor in student academic achievement and a host of other outcomes related to the well-being of our children.
At the recent Vital Families in Schools (VFS) Summit on July 30th it was exciting to hear from churches (both those launching a new church school partnership and from existing VFS partners) how they were encouraged and equipped to take the next step in growing their partnership.
This past school year, the 39 VFS partnerships served almost 30 schools. The article Will I Ever See You Again in our July newsletter shared the story of how one of these partnerships made a difference for a family.
His grandfather had brought him and his two brothers to Arkansas less than a year ago to protect them from a difficult family situation. He loved his grandsons and needed help so he took a bold step. He asked the school if there was any way his grandsons could have a mentor. Through a CityChurch Network Vital Families in Schools Partnership, Jay was matched with Kent and their mentoring relationship flourished.
Jay’s question, “Will I ever see you again?” is a glimpse of the impact a mentoring relationship can have on the lives of students and families who need a little extra support. That one-hour per week mentoring time not only helped strengthen Jay’s family, but it was also transforming for Kent and brought the hope of Christ into the school. (Read full article)
As the countdown continues, each of us can be a part of this Vital Families Initiative which will be transforming not only families but our churches and the community. Here are some simple ways.
- Pray. (See CCN August Prayer Guide). Pray for students and families as they prepare for the new year. Pray for school administrators, teachers, and staff. Pray for the growth of church/school partnerships.
- Encourage your small group or Sunday school class to adopt a family in your church or in a school who has school children and could use some additional help.
- Support your church’s school partnership—pray, volunteer, mentor. If your church is still considering or you would like to learn more about Vital Families, please contact Anthony Hampton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Matthew 5:16 Jesus teaches us, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Imagine the collective impact the church will have and the glory God will receive when all of the 85+ schools in Central Arkansas are served by a church/school partnership. We are praying for and are talking with additional churches to adopt a school so that every school will have at least one church partner.