“We’re starting to reap the benefits of the collaboration between pastor and principal, church and school,” said Keith Hallam, vice president for education. “We’ve seen a noticeable increase in school enrollment at several of our schools in Potomac where a partnership of ministry is developing and we’ve seen a growth in baptisms of youth and families.”
John Cress, vice president for pastoral ministries, agrees that where a relationships between the church and school ministry is strong, the healthier those two entities are. They’ve seen this impact in the communities of Virginia like Lynchburg, Manassas, Fredericksburg and New Market.
What does this healthy bond look like? Cress and Hallam say that its pastors visiting schools each week, faithfully attending school boards, visiting parents, participating in worships and activating education Sabbaths; and it’s teachers active in the church, participating in small groups, teaching Sabbath School classes and areas where they can model ministry to the children and families.
“This partnership of ministry is built on a common vision to develop healthy, disciples-making schools and churches,” says Cress. “It is fostered by relationships that are developed on trust and mutual respect.” In Education, Ellen White wrote, “To restore in men and women the image of their Maker, … was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life… The work of education and the work of redemption are one…” Cress and Hallam say it should be apparent that schools and churches have a common mission and vision where they can unite, collaborate and work as a team for the salvation and character building of youth. “It is our prayer that we continue to see growth in these partnerships in the 2015-16 school year,” said Hallam.
Photo Caption: At one of Sligo Adventist School’s weekly chapels, Gerry Lopez, children’s pastor for the Sligo church, talks to students about making good choices.