School trades evangelism access for shoes, school supplies
Posted June 21, 2010
June 21, 2010
Talk about school spirit! A news story brings a new twist to the latest moves by cash-strapped schools selling advertising and promotional access to everything in sight to raise school supply and activity moola. Now a Florida school is selling access to kids' souls.
Combee Elementary School in Lakeland, Fla., where separation of church and state is clearly not on the social studies curriculum, has been "adopted" by First Baptist Church at the Mall.
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According to the story in the Wall Street Journal, the church, in turn, has:
... stocked a resource room with $5,000 worth of supplies. It now caters spaghetti dinners at evening school events, buys sneakers for poor students, and sends in math and English tutors.
The principal is delighted. So are church pastors. "We have inroads into public schools that we had not had before," says Pastor Dave McClamma. "By befriending the students, we have the opportunity to visit homes to talk to parents about Jesus Christ."
So far the evangelists visited 30 homes at Christmastime and 13 "came to the Lord," the pastor said. One woman, grateful for the attention to her child, told the WSJ they were still very nice even when she declined to visit the church.
The pastor was up front on the church's end of the souls for soles deal:
"The purpose is to show them the church cares, and that there is hope, and hope is found in Jesus Christ."
Steve Comparato, the principal who faced a 33% drop in funding for school supplies, told told the newspaper,
If they want to come in and help, who am I to say no?
He says he would welcome congregations of any faith as sponsors, but adds of his students, "My personal conviction is that I hope through this they'll know Jesus and they'll get saved."
The standard is a bit different in the Polk County office where superintendent of schools Gail McKinzie said,
He personally can hope anything he wants, as long as he offers programs at the school for parents who don't believe in the Baptist faith or anything at all.
But Comparato does more than hope. He stands in the school halls surrounded by the pastoral team from the church praying in front of his office.
Is this coloring outside Constitutional lines or an example of Christian caring?