Ten years ago, Grace Fellowship Church (GFC) in Johnson City, TN started a partnership with a local elementary school. Members of the church became lunch buddies and home room helpers. They started a kick-ball league and an Arts Program. 

Rod Barnett, one of the volunteers of the Arts Program, shares his experience with the school:

One of the great volunteer opportunities that has drawn my wife and me to GFC is the partnership with Mountain View Elementary School in Johnson City. Mountain View is a ‘Title I’ school, with many of the students coming from a challenging home environment. I decided to join the Arts club at Mountain View this year. The Arts Club is a partnership between Mountain View and GFC, where we get to participate with Mountain View children, their parents, and school officials in various Arts programs. 

This year we had the opportunity to organize and put on the play called ‘Stone Soup.’ As part of the program, we worked for about six weeks every Thursday at 5:00, helping the kids learn their lines, make the sets, and get ready for the presentation. It was eye-opening and so much fun to watch the students rehearse and say their lines, interact with each other (and their parents!) positively, and grow through the process. I really enjoyed the experience! Bottom line – we had so much fun, grew a lot ourselves, made new friends, and enjoyed a dinner and fellowship with our participants and parents after each rehearsal.

If your congregation is ready to engage in local mission and wants to learn from what churches like Grace Fellowship Church are doing, consider applying for the Churches in Mission Cohort hosted by Western Theological Seminary. Find more out more at bast.westernsem.edu/churches-in-mission