Dr. Charles Luke
Executive Director, Coalition for Education Funding, Associate Director, Pastors For Texas Children, & MM Alumni, Dallas-Ft. Worth Cohort
There is no question that our children represent the future of our churches, our neighborhoods, our country and our world. In the past, there were three pillars of community – the family, the church and the school. These three pillars still exist today but have been eroded by a number of factors that fragment our society. While the disintegration of family systems, the loss of spiritual focus by some faith leaders, and immense difficulties faced by educators present many challenges, it is perhaps poverty and lack of resources for many of our poorest kids that poses one of the largest threats.
Many of our urban school districts struggle with high poverty rates. Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas has an economically disadvantaged rate near 90%. That means that in one of the largest school districts in the nation nine out of ten students live at or below the poverty line. The faith community can help with this.
Exhibiting the love of Christ by providing mentoring, tutoring and general support for children while still respecting the authority of school officials and the separation of church and state goes a long way toward addressing these issues. Mentoring provides students with the knowledge that someone cares enough about them to spend time with them. Tutoring provides students with an adult to help them learn. General support like backpack programs require little knowledge and a minimal investment but can feed a hungry child and family all weekend long. A volunteer heart and a servant’s spirit are all that is needed.
Like the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10, you don’t have to be in a high station in life to help those that are in need – you just need to be willing.