by Cameron Scalera
Given that our Lord Jesus calls us to be salt and light in this world, the prospect of not being missed was greatly disturbing. So after much reflection and deliberation, we sought to identify the prominent tangible needs of our community as avenues for outreach.
Two tangible needs that plague Memphis, and prove to be interrelated, are crime and poor education.
The correlation is made clear through the concept known as, the 4th Grade Pipeline: Cities examine the number of students in 4th grade that are not on reading level, and will prepare to have a proportional number of jail cells prepared for those students.
After identifying these tangible needs, we reflected on how God has uniquely gifted our church for mission. We came to the conclusion that we as a church have a number of individuals that are either retired teachers, or retired individuals that greatly value education. Moreover, our church as a community has a burden to reach young families.
With this in mind, we began the process of reaching out to the administration of Cordova Elementary.
I set up a meeting with the former Principal of the school, and after a period of time, we developed a relationship of trust and respect.
As I approached the Administration I made it very clear that we as a church were interested in serving them wherever they had need, although the primary focus would be helping their students get on reading level.
Since that time over the past year we as a church were asked to judge their Science Fair, assist in proctoring standardized testing, and we were even asked to represent the community by assisting with interviewing the new principal that began this academic year.
Moving forward into this year we will be tutoring 2nd grade students, sponsoring Cordova Elementary as a work site for Jesus Loves Memphis, and re imagining our large scale annual event to be for the benefit of the school.
Our, “adoption,” of the school is turning into a holistic relationship where we serve the school in any way that we can. The goal on an institutional level is to build deep roots into our community, and on an individual level to build relationships with the families of the school. Through the tutoring, shelving library books, and all other ways of serving the school it is our hope that the Holy Spirit will provide us with opportunities to speak the gospel into their lives. We pray the Lord will bless this incarnational ministry so that we may be salt and light in our community so that some may be saved. If a hundred years from now a member of Faith Anglican Church asked the question, “If our church disappeared tomorrow would anyone care?” our hope is there will be a resounding yes from a multitude of new believers.
Cameron is the minister to youth and families at Faith Anglican Church, Cordova, Tennessee.