Congregations Exemplify Christ through Teacher Appreciation

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Loving and Serving

By Carl Stagner

Most of us can look back and identify one, two, three, maybe several teachers who saw something in us that we didn’t see ourselves. These giants in our lives took the time and energy to invest in us as students, encouraging us in our studies as they made learning come alive in fresh, and often exciting, ways. It’s not always easy for our teachers, of course; the hard work they put in round the clock can prove burdensome and even lead to burnout. Thankfully, during Teacher Appreciation Week this May, several Church of God congregations found ways to exemplify Christ and spread a little love in tangible, if not tasty, ways.

Consider the Church of God of Cleveland, Ohio, who put their heads together and pooled their resources to creatively bless the teachers of one local school. More than seventy teachers enjoyed fresh food and a chance to rest and reflect in the midst of an otherwise busy day at Nathan Hale School. The school, unofficially “adopted” by the church to result in partnership throughout the year, wanted to express gratitude for “time, effort, and sacrifice working with our children.” Pastor Fabian White, who works with the school often, was recently seen on school grounds speaking motivationally to students, playing a variety of games, and hosting contests for the improvement of not only body and mind, but the soul, too. These children need godly adult figures in their lives, which they too often don’t get a home. The Church of God of Cleveland continues to provide a presence that makes a real difference in the atmosphere of the campus. The love that the school—both students and faculty—feel from the Church of God of Cleveland is enough to solidify the church as essential in the eyes of many in the community, and open avenues for the gospel.

Then, there’s Monroe City Church of God in southern Indiana, where breakfast brought blessings to faculty and staff. “We’re so thankful for the South Knox School Corporation!” The church wrote on social media. “…The bacon smelled amazing! The pancakes were perfect! But the smiles on the teachers’ faces were the best part of the morning! Thank you to all the teachers and staff for leading our kids each and every day. We are so grateful for you!”

Preparing breakfast for teachers in southern Indiana!

In Wood River, Illinois, it was complimentary coffee that communicated appreciation to the teachers of Wood River-Hartford School District 15. All the church had to do was arrange a few things in advance. “Stop by Rachel & Co. Coffee House this week for a free small latte!” was the word that quickly spread through the school.

Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, is home to CS First Church of God, where Jesus followers also intentionally observed Teacher Appreciation Week this year. Announcing the specific initiative, the church reported, “This is Teacher Appreciation Week. Our community is blessed with wonderful teachers, and we are very thankful for them! We’re having our annual teacher appreciation drive-thru on Friday morning. Anyone available is welcome to participate.”

This writer (I) was an undergrad at Anderson University, uncertain of my path forward; after all, my dream from childhood to pursue a career in weather forecasting had seen sunnier days. Mass communication remained a viable option in consideration of the courses I’d already taken, yet clarity seemed most elusive. My lightbulb moment came in class one pivotal day when my professor, Holly Miller—highly regarded former senior editor of the Saturday Evening Post—returned one of my submissions. Instead of pen marks calling out my mistakes, I received a short note calling out the talent within: “You’ll make a good editor someday, Carl.” Thank God for teachers like Holly Miller!

As everyone knows, few students delight in seeing red ink on their papers; just the thought of crimson marks peppered across a term paper, math worksheet, or chemistry test sends a chilling shockwave of anxiety up the spine. But for this writer, such marks would prove encouraging and rather prophetic. Teacher Appreciation Week isn’t a new thing in 2024; it comes every first full week of May in the United States, though sometimes without proper acknowledgement. Blessed are those congregations which, each year, choose to reach out to schools, students, and their teachers—not just during Teacher Appreciation Week, but twelve months of the year.

To all teachers, may God’s blessing be upon you. Thank you for all you do.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

Feature (top) photo: Teachers enjoying the blessing brought to them by the Church of God of Cleveland.

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