Originally published in Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org
Louisville—Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville, in cooperation with Boyce College (at Southern Seminary), hosted the first Invest Conference on March 25. Around 40 Louisville educators and future educators attended.
Invest’s purpose was to “encourage, strengthen, and equip teachers and faculty of the schools of the Louisville area in Christ,” Brad Willis, Christian social ministries minister at Walnut Street and organizer of the event, said.
“The prayer is to encourage them in their great mission field that God has placed them in and to strengthen them in what God has for them to do through His word and experiences, and to equip them with resources, training and knowledge so they can maximize their impact in the schools for the glory of God,” he explained.
Kevin Jones, assistant professor of teacher education at Boyce College and keynote speaker, challenged teachers to invest in students for three reasons: (1) “God invested in us,”(2) “it’s a calling and you have answered that call,” and (3) “it’s our reasonable sacrifice.”
“Keep fighting,” he urged. “What do we have to lose? Nothing!
“We die here; we spend eternity with God. Count it all a loss, literally,” Jones added, encouraging educators to “leave it out on the line.”
“Fight for every single student you come in contact with,” he urged.
Todd Robertson, director of missions for Louisville Regional Baptist Association, also spoke to educators of the importance of collaborating with the local church and vice versa. Building relationships with local schools through programs such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others are great ways to be a witness in public schools, he noted.
“It all starts with telling the church to show up,” Robertson added.
Other speakers presented topics such as pedagogy, legal rights, loving the refugee and children as image bearers.
“I feel like sometimes teachers just get pushed to the front and they don’t get that time of encouragement,” Willis said. “I wanted to make sure they knew that they were loved and this church and Boyce college desire to invest in them.
“The amazing thing is that by one life being touched or spurred on in here, that’s an investment of a lifetime in every single kid they’re going to be around,” he said. (WR)