Tom Raven, pastor of Creech Memorial Baptist Church in Ahoskie, wanted to bless the teachers in his town as they begin the new year.
“Not only do we want to affect the lives of the kids, but we want to change the culture in our schools as well,” said Raven, whose father is an “overworked, underpaid” high school math teacher.
He planned a blowout Teacher Appreciation Day and distributed 700 invitations “to every public, private, and home school teacher in Hertford County” for a special service Aug. 30 at Creech Memorial, where 60 would constitute “high attendance day” in Sunday School.
“The service itself is to be almost like a commissioning service, culminating in a closing prayer where we pray for the teachers, for their classrooms, and for the year to come,” Ravan wrote in anticipation of the event.
Members would commit to the teachers to pray for them for the entire year, communicating with them about any special needs or requests.
Ravan secured gifts from local businesses to give to the teachers.
He planned for a huge day, setting up video feeds to overflow rooms off the sanctuary and borrowing chairs from other churches.
He was anticipating the church’s outreach would open the door to a long-term relationship with the school system. Those who were distributing invitations heard very positive responses and an appreciation of the offered prayers.
“I am praying for a lasting kingdom impact that is much more than just one crowd on just one day,” he said.
Unfortunately, Creech Memorial’s special effort attracted fewer than a dozen teachers. The others who were invited “missed an incredible, God-blessed day,” Ravan said. The music, message and participation all involved special signals of appreciation to teachers.
He challenged members to make a public commitment to pray regularly for teachers and “to contact them as a reminder and as an encouragement.”