(NOTE: The author is pastor of Bread Fellowship of Fort Worth, executive director of Pastors for Texas Children, and a member of the Texas Baptists Committed Board of Directors.)
Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) is a new organization that mobilizes local churches to provide both wrap-around care for local schools and advocacy for adequate funding to support those schools.
Launched in October 2012 by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, we already have over 500 community faith leaders from all denominations recruited, with dozens more signing up each week. We now have a statewide organization with PTC directors in all 20 education service regions. Many county directors in those regions are already positioned. We have conducted meetings in dozens of local communities already, and intend to have a PTC chapter in every Texas county. Our web address is www.pastorsfortexaschildren.com.
The close partnerships that we forge between local congregations and local schools will help provide both the resources that our children need to receive quality public education and the support that our teachers deserve. We are asking pastors to make an appointment with their local school principal and/or superintendent to offer prayer and encouragement, as well as to host a teacher appreciation event in their congregation, recognizing the dedicated teachers, coaches, and staff who shape our children's lives. Furthermore, we are challenging churches to provide tangible support for those schools and children in the form of after-school mentoring, school supplies, food security, etc.
After this partnership is formed, we ask pastors to contact their legislator and inform him or her about the needs of their schools and to join together in arranging a meeting with that legislator in their own community to discuss the imperative for adequate funding for their community and neighborhood schools. Lastly, we ask that our pastors and faith leaders be willing to make at least one trip to Austin during the legislative session to advocate face-to-face for public education.
The local church and the local school are two significant institutions in every community and neighborhood advocating for the public good. Our goal, quite simply, is to help cultivate a strong bond between those two institutions and to bring that partnership to bear on education policy in Texas government.
Charles Foster Johnson, Pastor
Bread Fellowship of Fort Worth