Church Cuts School’s Enormous Task Down to Size
By Carl Stagner
The Valley View School District had their work cut out for them: 2,412 boxes to move. 432 large desks to relocate. 420 student desks to transport from one place to another. And a mountain of files, white boards, sports equipment, and other educational tools that had accumulated over the forty years of teaching at this location. Two weeks had been scheduled for this big move, but after First Church of God in Germantown, Ohio, got wind of the need, this two-week project was completed in just a few hours.
Debbie Bruner, the communications director for the district, reports that the outpouring of love began with a generous offer from the church to provide a meal to those who would handle the move. The offer was graciously accepted, but the Spirit nudged First Church’s associate pastor to do more. Ricky King coordinated a massive volunteer effort, and the church came back to the school with a second, much larger, offer. Bruner describes the sequence of events as follows: “Pastor Ricky was now offering to sign up volunteers to physically help with the move; volunteers to help teachers pack up classrooms, and volunteers to work on moving day…‘Is he crazy?’ asked the superintendent when told of this newest revelation. ‘I think so,’ I whispered, ‘but let’s answer yes before he has time to think about it!’”
Germantown First Church had originally heard about the school’s move from the local paper and word around the community. On the day of the move, the church fed the workers both breakfast and lunch, in addition to providing trucks and trailers to haul the school’s belongings. Some volunteers took time off work to lend a hand. “We wanted to help because we wanted to share the love of Christ and bless them, and let them know we were there for them,” Becky Wetzel, church secretary, explains. “Getting involved in the community is what it’s all about. We have a community food pantry that helps numerous families every month throughout the year. We have a free community dinner every month for anyone to come and eat and fellowship together. We do things in the local nursing home, offer free dinner-and-a-movie nights for the community, and help provide supplies for the community back-to-school program—just to name a few.”
All of these community activities are propelled by the love of God. First Church cannot help but love others with the love that God has lavished on them. “We simply want to bless people and let them know that God loves them,” Wetzel explains. “The objective is not to get people to come to our church or to bring glory to ourselves, but to share the love of Christ and bring glory to him. After all, that’s why we’re here, and that’s what it’s all about!”
At the end of the day, more than a hundred volunteers had moved the school to its new home. The school’s plans to rent moving trucks, secure hauling equipment, and hire additional help were rendered unnecessary. Today the school benefits from its new location and new technologies, in part, because one church chose to go the extra mile and cut an enormous task down to size.