Art and Wendy followed God’s lead to the Larson neighborhood 2 ½ years ago where they established their church, Light of Larson, and began a full powered ministry to the neighborhood. The Brown’s knew that one key to making a change in the community was to reach out to the schools. Art states that the process of partnering with Larson Heights Elementary School began (of course) with fervent prayer. He and Wendy made the first move and set up a meeting with the principal. It became obvious that the Lord had already gone before them to open doors and prepare the way. Art describes how their consistent “presence” was key to building trust with the school. They began by going to the school during breakfast to read to the kids and build rapport, followed by a prayer walk around the school once class was in session.
Their ministry has evolved and is specific to the needs of the school and the community. When asked what advice he had for churches looking to begin a partnership with their local school, Art suggests to start by talking with the principal and ask, “what do you need?”. In order for ministry to be fruitful, it must be able to listen, consider, and respond to the needs of community it serves. The Browns, and Light of Larson, are a strong presence at the school and have a wide variety of ways in which they are involved in the lives of the teachers and students. The following is a summary of the various ways in which they have partnered with Larson Heights Elementary School.
Sit and read with kids during the breakfast period
Prayer walk around the school
Attend and assist with PTSO meetings
Partner with PTSO to put on “Muffins for Moms” event
Back-2-School Event: With the support of Serve Moses Lake, this event occurs at the end of summer and is a fun way to kick off the new school year as well as provide children with clothing, haircuts and school supplies.
Dress up and read to the students around Christmas time
Bring Christmas stockings to deliver to underprivileged students
Family Fun nights including: movie nights (100+ people in attendance), Math night, Harvest Carnival (300 people in attendance)
Counseling and working with children one-on-one
Child Evangelism Fellowship- a “Good News Club” (not lead by the Browns) happens at Larson Heights to share the gospel with kids
Help keep the school’s clothing bank stocked
Teacher appreciations & lunches
Art and Wendy have a fruitful ministry in the Larson community and have fully adopted Larson Heights Elementary School. The relationship they have with the teachers and staff is strong. The above list should serve as inspiration and an example of how partnership between a church and school could look. So, be inspired! Pray. Make the first move and talk to a school principal. Further guidance on beginning this process is available through Tim Cloyd of Serve Moses Lake.