No matter the specific dynamics at play in your neighborhood, your church can meet needs in your community as students head back to school.
By Bryant Wright
During my 38 years of pastoring, my team and staff members made it a top priority to remain up to speed on how our church could stay involved and invested in offering meaningful, lasting solutions to our community’s needs.
Discovering our various neighborhoods’ specific issues was long and arduous work. Still, it proved worthy of every ounce of energy to make sure our neighbors knew we existed to serve and to spread the joy of the Lord in any way possible.
Now, serving at Send Relief, I get to be a part of making it easy for churches to participate in significant community-building projects that share the gospel message.In today’s culture, compassion ministry is a wonderful way to show the love of Christ. — @bryantwright Click To Tweet
In today’s culture, compassion ministry is a wonderful way to show the love of Christ to both those you’re ministering to and fellow Christians looking for ways to respond compassionately to those in their spheres of influence.
Send Relief Sunday
August 7 is Send Relief Sunday. To help encourage churches to engage in compassion ministry to help meet needs and change lives in their communities, Send Relief is using this year’s Send Relief Sunday as a focus on their annual Backpack Day event. Each year, as school begins, many children go to class without the items they need because their families can’t afford to provide them. No matter the specific dynamics at play in your neighborhood, your church has the opportunity to meet the needs of your community as students head back to school.
One way you can fill needs at the beginning of the school year is by filling backpacks with school supplies. But take the time to look for specific needs in your community. Here are some ideas:
- School supplies: Restock school supplies for children in need
- Foster care: Provide foster and adoptive families with basic needs for the child or children they receive in their homes
- Food relief: Pack non-perishables into backpacks
- Shelters: Deliver items to a local women’s or children’s shelter
Backpacks are wonderful ministry tools that can uniquely serve a number of vulnerable families or communities in need.
In the past, churches have held Backpack Day events to hold back-to-school drives for children living under the poverty line who might not return to school with the supplies they need. They have also provided terminally ill patients with health care kits and goodie bags, delivered gift baskets to frontline heroes and essential health care workers, and cared for recently arrived refugees by gifting them with a welcome basket.
On August 7, Send Relief is encouraging churches to focus on back-to-school essentials for impoverished children in their communities. The small gift of a backpack, school supplies, and other necessities can make a world of difference in a child’s life, helping them to avoid bullying and enabling them to enter the new school year feeling equipped with the tools they need to succeed.Your church can serve as a lighthouse on a hill in your city—a trusted, safe space and respected resource for struggling families. — @bryantwright Click To Tweet
Hands and feet of Jesus
Through participating in events like Backpack Day, your church will serve as a lighthouse on a hill in your city—a trusted, safe space and respected resource for struggling families.
Step out in obedience. Trust that God is faithful to use your church family as salt and light in your community (Matthew 5:13-16).
Bryant is the president of Send Relief. He served in Southern Baptist life as both a pastor and SBC president before joining Send Relief in 2020.