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BeUndivided’s 5 Core Principles Part 5—Commitment
"Today, what the people of SouthLake Church are giving the students of Roosevelt High School is HOPE. And what our students need, more than any other thing, is hope!"
These heart-felt words were spoken by the Principal of RHS to local media at SouthLake Church’s initial "Day of Service" at the school in June of 2008. When SouthLake started its work at RHS we were not looking ahead beyond a one-day “one and done” event. However, the remarkable success of that service day quickly opened the door to an ongoing and growing relationship. In the beginning, we simply kept saying "yes" to opportunities to serve and make a difference in the lives of kids at the school.
As our partnership at RHS grew, however, our awareness of the depth of need grew, needs that go far beyond pulling weeds, washing windows, and painting hallways. These are important to be sure. But we learned that below the surface of physical brokenness and disrepair, was a broken cycle of hopelessness that pervades many communities and is perpetuated year after year, generation after generation.
It's a hopelessness you can feel as you walk dimly-lit school hallways surrounded by cracked plaster, worn-out equipment, and discouraged kids. You can feel it at sporting events, often poorly attended, where kids accustomed to being perennial losers, lose hope for victory well before the game is actually lost.
The insightful words of the RHS Principal become more clear to me everyday - "Our kids need HOPE". And what is also clear is that our goal and purpose must be greater than a "Service Day" - as important and foundational as that is.
At BeUndivided we are bold to believe that CHURCHES SERVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS CAN CHANGE THE CYCLE OF HOPELESSNESS ... And that our kids - who are our future - can live transformed lives inspired by hope.
We are discovering that a willingness to go far and deep, by serving a school with ongoing commitment, is one of the core values guiding and defining BeUndivided churches.
Public schools, and people, in many of our under-resourced communities, have an understandable skepticism at the idea of churches promising to serve and support. While, thankfully, there are a growing number of worthy and healthy church models of service, too often we in the church have come alongside enthusiastically with our new plan, new program, or new idea, only to lose enthusiasm and leave our programs behind - along with the people they once served.
This lack of commitment undermines our credibility.
At RHS, and schools like Roosevelt all over our nation, too many kids have too many adults leaving their lives- coming in and out of their lives on a continual basis. The need for someone to "be there," and keep being there, is significant.
However, as we all know, this belief - this vision - cannot and will not happen overnight. It CAN happen, some would say it MUST happen, for the future of our nation. But we all know, it can ONLY happen if we are willing to engage the culture and be committed, with purpose and passion, for the long haul.
Rick Warren once said, "Most people overestimate what can be accomplished in the short run, and underestimate what can be accomplished in the long run."
BeUndivided churches recognize the value of commitment - of serving for the long run. As representatives of the One who expressed the ultimate commitment for all of us, may we dedicate ourselves to see what might be accomplished in the long run, by serving kids and their schools with loving commitment.
by Kip Jacob