Back-to-school time is a mix of excitement and anticipation for most kids. But for some parents and teachers, it can be a time of overwhelming financial stress. On top of that, parents are tasked with the ever increasingly difficult task of instilling morality in their children while living in a world that is sometimes very confusing. But when the time came for Shiloh Baptist Church to give back to our community, they decided to help parents with both issues by collecting school supplies and hosting a concert and prayer meeting to start the school year off on a strong note.
Shiloh’s worship pastor, Charles Owens, said the idea for these events came when they started brainstorming ways to reach out to their area.
“We began thinking about some different things we could do on a local level to help our community,” Charles said. “We started talking to the missions team at our church … and we thought, with school coming up, it would be a great way to help the kids going to school and the teachers and just get them some supplies, so they can have less to worry about throughout the year.”
Shiloh Baptist Church has been known for their outreach efforts. Every year they host the wildly popular Judgment Seat around Halloween. They also bring in big-name musical artists for concerts and host a homeschool co-op for area families.
“We’re going to come together and try to bring the community together for a prayer service so we can all pray and get everyone ready for the school year,” Charles said.
Worship and Prayer
Since music is a big part of Shiloh’s ministry, it was only fitting for them to invite all of Morgan County to a concert to celebrate the upcoming school year.
“Our worship band at Shiloh Baptist Church has agreed to come and set up out in the park and present the Gospel through music and bring the community together and lead the community in some worship songs and have a good time,” Charles said. “After that, we’re going to open it up to the community so we can all pray over our schools together and commit to making this school year Christ-centered.”
The concert will take place at 7 p.m. after the First Priority Prayer Walk on August 5, at Earth Park in Hartselle. Admission is free.
So, why is all of that important to Shiloh? Short answer: They see how much kids are struggling these days, and they want to help.
“I see more and more the drift of younger people having questions about their faith, having questions about the Bible … with different things they learn in school … some of the efforts that are against the Spirit of the Lord,” Charles said. “A lot of people get presented a lot of intelligent-sounding theories that (try to) compromise what Scripture says, so our goal is to really get out there and promote the Gospel, … teach children and younger people the truth of God’s word, so they can be more equipped to defend their faith and trust their faith. … We are really seeking ways to reach out to younger people, to strengthen them and equip them with their faith — more than just in the church. Hopefully even outside the church, so it can infiltrate the school systems.”
For Charles and other Christian parents, it’s an uphill battle for morality in a society that goes against much of what their kids are being presented with on a daily basis.
“There seems to be a decline in morality, not just in the school system, but throughout our society and culture,” Charles said.
School Supply Drive
The average cost of sending a child back to school can range from $600 to $1,500, and families with multiple children could be looking at spending several thousands of dollars to prepare their kids for the year. Teachers also shoulder some of that financial responsibility.
A recent study shows 94 percent of teachers spend money out of their own pockets on school supplies, with the majority of them spending upwards of $500 each year.
Shiloh Baptist Church is right in the heart of Morgan County, an area known for it’s large wealth disparity.
“It’s a good mix of affluent and impoverished folks,” Charles said.
In order to get exactly what they needed, Shiloh Church reached out to the Morgan County and Hartselle city school boards.
“Both of those school boards told us specifically where they see the biggest need,” Charles said. “Some families in the Morgan County school system just need the basic supplies, and they said that anything really helps. Hartselle city schools, they go through a lot of paper. So they specifically requested their teachers and their schools be equipped with paper.”
There are two drop-off locations for school supplies — Shiloh Baptist Church or JMK Martial Arts. The list of items needed is posted below.
Crayola brand crayons
Dry erase markers
Liquid hand soap
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