Taking School Ministry to the Next Level

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Flat Rock Church in Anderson has a strong presence in a local elementary school, ministering through a reading buddy program with students, while providing meaningful support to teachers and administration. In December, the team from Flat Rock Church distributed books to each of the 392 elementary aged students and book store gift cards to 54 faculty and staff members. The church also participates in the Next Level Leadership Hub for Heart4Schools through the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC).

Heart4Schools helps churches offer hope to community children and become active in local schools by providing reading mentors, teacher support, and a food distribution program called Backpack Buddies. Through the SCBC Next Level Leadership Hub, Flat Rock Church receives additional resources and training to help them in their ministry at Flat Rock Elementary.

“Flat Rock Church came to our Heart4Schools Next Level Leadership Hub last year to learn how to take their ministry to the next level. I love hearing stories like this. I am so thankful that we, as Southern Baptists, can partner and provide resources to encourage this ministry that meets so many needs,” says Melanie Ratcliffe, SCBC evangelism strategist.

Debbie Alexander coordinates the reading buddy program at Flat Rock Elementary, and reports that their program received 500 books donated through the SCBC from the South Carolina Department of Education. She says that the 17 children involved in the reading buddy program received a complete set of books, each third grader in the school received two books, and one book was given to all remaining students in the school. “We are so excited that every child now has a book in their home,” Alexander says.

Flat Rock Church secured SCBC grant money which, along with donations from church members, provided enough funds to purchase the employee gift cards. When the gift card purchase was made, the church also received promotional gift cards, which they then used to purchase additional summer reading books for the reading buddies.

For more online information about Heart4Schools, visit www.scbaptist.org/heart4schools. A Heart4Schools breakout session will be offered at IMPACT, being held on February 22 at Riverland Hills Church in Irmo. For more information or to register for IMPACT, visit www.scbaptist.org/impact.

Submitted by Julia Bell


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