“You’re Not Mrs. Moore.”

11 03 2010

Today, I was greeted by a fifth grader at Point Elementary with the words, “You’re not Mrs. Moore.”

My response: “What do you mean?”

Her: “You’re not Mrs. Moore. Even though everyone calls you that.”

Me: “Uh, ok…what’s my name?”

Her: “Cassie.”

Me: “Yes, my name is Cassie.”

Her: “Yep. That’s what we get to call you outside of school, when we’re having fun at church.”

Me: (thinking to myself–“She said she has fun at church! Sweet!”)

Our church recently started a tutoring program in the local public schools here in Oakville. We see it as a service to our local community–after all, our goal here at Faith is to be “transforming communities and changing lives”. Our schools are in desperate need of extra help around the classroom. A few months back, our church responded by gathering a group of nearly 40 people together to talk about how we could help by tutoring in classrooms on a weekly basis.

Our thought? “Hey, we actually get to be in the schools, working with kids and teachers–serving our community with the same love and compassion that Jesus demonstrated for us!” No other motive.

We all went through training, background checks, and school initiations in order to be fully prepared to serve.

The schools absolutely love us–in fact, we’ve had schools from all over the St. Louis area contacting us to see if they can get involved with our tutoring program. 

The first day I arrived at Point Elementary, where I’m stationed to serve twice a week for about an hour each time, the guidance counselor introduced me to the entire office staff and pretty much every person wandering around in the halls–and they all knew already that I was a “Faith tutor”. In fact, their guidance counselor was raving about how she couldn’t wait until next year, when we could really build this program up because it’s filling such a crucial need at their school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so excited about a church program–and the fact that it’s a public school welcoming us with such open arms is pretty significant.

I’m currently tutoring  in a fifth-grade classroom. On the first day, the teacher introduced me and gave me a chance to talk about Faith. When I mentioned the church, several kids excitedly yelled, “I’ve been there before!”

Since then, as I work with the kids by coaching them with their writing assignments, many have asked me questions about the church and about what I do. Several of the kids have commented on how they’ve either attended or been invited to Fusion 56, our Sunday morning Bible study and monthly themed event night for fifth and sixth grade kids. Today, the teacher even asked me specifics about what I do.

Even though I don’t know what the beliefs of these people are, and even though I’m not pushing Christianity on them at all, they’re curious. And open.

As one student today said, “Why are you here? You don’t have to be, right?” I responded truthfully, “No, I don’t have to be here. I have a full-time job. But I want to be here, to meet new people like you, and get the chance to help them.”

He flashed me the biggest smile I’d ever seen from this student (a quiet, somewhat morose boy) and simply said, “Cool.”

Today, several students stayed in from recess to talk to me. And they wanted to know all about middle school ministry at Faith. Talk about an exciting opportunity–by merely having our team of volunteers in the schools, we’ve tapped into an entire population of kids hungry for a connection with church.

And the little girl was correct–at church, I’m just Cassie.

Not “Mrs. Moore”.

I like that.

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