Adopt-a-School: Kentucky Church Rallies Around Local Elementary

 In All Church of God, Change the Story, CHOG, Give Life, Southeast

By Stephanie Collins

Pastor Dave Dooley and his congregation of Mount Sterling First Church of God are a prime example of what it looks like to love one’s community during these difficult days we find ourselves in. Their church recently adopted Mount Sterling Elementary School and have been learning what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a group of people who are grateful they are taking Christ’s mission seriously.

Adopting a school means many things to Pastor Dooley and Mount Sterling First Church. These zealous Christ-followers are handing out Thanksgiving food baskets, Christmas food baskets, and becoming a hub in their community for life-giving relationships. Pastor Dooley described how they recently partnered with other churches in their community to offer “Church Stations” on Halloween, where families could drive through and receive COVID-friendly bags of candy to take home to their children. Pastor Dooley also described how every single Friday throughout the school year, First Church takes food boxes and distributes them to students in need at Mount Sterling Elementary. The principal of the school has stated, “I’ve never seen a church help a school so much.”

In previous years, Dooley’s church partnered with many schools to offer one month’s worth of food for each different school. They recently decided to increase their impact by focusing on only one nearby school—Mount Sterling Elementary—which has caused their efforts to have an even greater effect on the population of students they serve. When asked why they decided to go from serving many schools to one school, Dooley said, “It’s easier to get closer to a smaller group of people. We went from having one connection point with Mount Sterling Elementary in a year to having eight connection points with them throughout the year.”

Anna & David Dooley

When the reality of COVID-19 set in, Mount Sterling First Church decided to step in to help the elementary school by purchasing masks for every student who attended. Pastor Dave said it’s important to their church for the elementary school to know, “We’re not doing this to get something from you. We care about you, we love you, and we just want to help.” The staff of Mount Sterling Elementary have been so inspired by this partnership, that they are looking for ways to give back to the church who is so selflessly giving so much to them.

Pastor Dave and his congregation are looking forward to the future. He stated, “We’re excited that this is an ongoing relationship now. It’s not just one-and-done. We’re excited to continue to build the relationship with these teachers, students, and parents.”

Help churches like these respond to urgent needs in their communities as a result of COVID-19:

Stephanie Collins is the NextGen and online campus pastor of Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana. She loves helping people realize that they are loved no matter what.

Learn more about the response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at

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