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10 Ways to Adopt Public Schools in Your Community

Three years ago Christ Church made a strategic decision to adopt a public school in Fort Worth, Texas. Since that time, we’ve adopted one high school and one elementary school. When we made this decision, we had no idea the impact God would allow us to have. Today I sat down with one of our pastors who has been instrumental in driving this initiative. Here are ten ways we adopted public schools and specific ideas you can employ to impact a school in your community.

1. Listen, Focus, and Act with the Right Attitude

Churches and leaders must approach their adopt-a-school efforts with one pure-hearted motive: “We’re here to serve…no strings attached.” Any other attitude will backfire. The key is to LISTEN carefully to the primary needs expressed by the administration, teachers, and students. Once you listen, strategically FOCUS your time, volunteers, and resources on the needs you’re best equipped to meet. With clear focus, ACT with excellence. Over the past three years, we’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars to help two campuses. We can’t meet every need, but we’ve built a tremendous amount of goodwill and helped many teachers and students.

2. Bless Teachers and Students

Teachers often have a thankless job and many students today are living in dysfunctional home environments. To brighten everyone’s day, we’ve served countless breakfasts and lunches to teachers and student groups. In addition, we’ve provided teachers and administrators with Christmas gifts as a simple expression of thanks.

3. Open Your Facilities

Each year we host dozens of school events and activities in our facilities free of charge. Whether it’s teacher training, principal training, choir concerts, special programs, ESL classes, Fish Camp, end of year celebrations, AP testing, or specific student groups, we work hard to accommodate many of the school’s activities. With school budget cuts, many of these activities would be limited or non-existent because they do not have a cost effective place to meet. This year alone we’ve had over 3,000 principals, teachers, students, and parents on our campus…some on multiple occasions.

4. Sponsor Opportunities That Broaden Horizons

For the last two years, we’ve helped the high school we’ve adopted by sponsoring a college trip for juniors. The trip includes visits to a couple of college campuses to encourage students to expand their horizons and pursue their college dreams.

5. Fund Dreams and Initiatives

When one of our pastors heard that the school’s basketball scoreboard wasn’t working, he found a coach and told him we would like to pay to have it fixed. The coach was moved to tears and said, “You would do that for us?” We’ve had the opportunity to fund drill team and track team travel expenses, and sponsor a student government trip to their annual convention. And, just last Sunday, we honored an elderly couple in our congregation who have blazed a path of faithful commitment to Christ. This couple loves to read and throughout their lives have blessed many people with books. So, in their honor, we committed $5,000 to fund the completion of book purchases for a library at a local public elementary school. Acts like these make dreams come true for students and teachers and build goodwill with the campus.

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Stephen Blandino is the Lead Pastor of 7 City Church near the downtown/cultural arts district of Fort Worth, Texas. He holds a Master's in Organizational Leadership and is the author of "GO! Starting a Personal Growth Revolution." He lives in the Fort Worth area with his wife Karen and their daughter Ashley. Stephen blogs regularly at www.stephenblandino.com on leadership, personal growth, church, and culture. You can also connect with Stephen on twitter @stephenblandino.