A few months ago the pastoral staff of Ridge Point was invited to attend a meeting at Holland Public Schools to learn about trauma and its impact on our children, our schools, and our community. The statistics are staggering. The schools of Ottawa and Allegan County meet the needs of more children with Adverse Childhood Experiences  – events that lead to trauma – per capita than any other county in the country. Yes, in the country.

Local schools are increasingly more exposed to these stubborn realities. I talked with one teacher from our church family about all of the statistics and realities and she shared with me, “In college, I was trained as a teacher, not a social worker or counselor. We didn’t talk about trauma in the classroom, but now I face it every day. There are so many days in which I don’t know what to do.” Friends, our children are hurting and our teachers are tired and in need of hope.

As a church, we are uniquely positioned to bring the hope of Jesus into our schools and communities. Through our Reach and Restore Initiative, the Fearless Family of Churches is offering a “Day of Hope” for teachers and educational staff in the Holland/Zeeland area and beyond. We’ve invited regional experts in trauma and education to inform and encourage school staff members in the area of ACEs and trauma within the classroom. This event has been overwhelmingly well received. Within 72 hours over 300 people from all over the state registered to attend a “Day of Hope” at Ridge Point. This Saturday we will host over 400 school workers and childcare staff, many of whom do not attend Ridge Point.

Thank you for your participation in this year’s Reach and Restore Initiative. This “Day of Hope” is possible because of God’s leading and your generosity. As I think on all of this I am reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Philippi. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:3-6

Will you join with us in prayer over the day, the speakers, the teachers and school workers, and the children and communities they represent? Pray that God would be faithful to carry out the work that we have started and complete it in a miraculous way. Pray that God’s Spirit would move in a powerful way and bring blessing and hope into the halls of our building and lives of these teachers. Pray that this “Day of Hope” would create a wave of healing and love that would move into our schools and communities. Pray that Jesus would be glorified in the events of the day and, through it, for years to come.

Following Jesus and Fearlessly Making Him Known,

Josh Zoerhof

Teaching Pastor

Ridge Point Community Church

Fearless Family of Churches