Serving Children. Changing Lives. Transforming Communities.
One + One began as an exciting initiative of Bishop Michael McKee and the Center for Missional Outreach for the North Texas Conference in 2015. The vision of One + One is to connect schools with a church while focusing on one-on-one mentoring. One + One exists as an impactful way of reaching back to the roots of Methodists’ long history of engaging in education. What better way to go beyond our walls than to serve with our neighbors in our schools?
In 2018, we feel called to breathe new life into One + One. Through the CMO’s listening initiative in the fall of 2017, we learned just how involved our churches already are with schools in their communities. We found approximately 50% of local churches in North Texas are engaged in some kind of church-school partnership, and 33% of those partnerships involve mentoring relationships. We also learned that many churches, though inspired by the One + One vision, struggled to live into it fully.
The CMO recognizes the potential of church-school partnerships not only to affect educational outcomes for students in public schools, but also to provide avenues for churches to listen to and learn about their mission fields and to build authentic relationships with their neighbors. Our vision for One + One is to equip churches to be successful in establishing and further developing strong church-school partnerships.
First UMC Dallas’ partnership
A key partner in this equipping work will be First UMC Dallas. Since 2014, First UMC Dallas has been in partnership with J.J. Rhoads Learning Center, an elementary school in South Dallas/Fair Park. Over the past four years, this partnership – which began with one-on-one mentoring – has grown to include filling back packs for weekend nourishment for students, providing bicycles as attendance incentives, sponsoring back-to-school meals for parents and teachers, adopting teachers and staff and showering them with encouragement year-round and volunteering as readers for Dr. Seuss Day and presenters for Career Day. First UMC Dallas has contributed more than 1,350 hours to the J.J. Rhoads Learning Center.
One + One Dallas is a partnership with First UMC of Dallas, Dallas ISD, Pastors for Texas Children, The Meadows Foundation and the CMO. The mission of One + One Dallas is to facilitate church-school partnerships, with the overall vision of every Dallas ISD school to have a thriving church-school partnership in five years. Jason Lewis is One + One Dallas’ newly hired executive director. His role is two-fold: connect communities of faith with Dallas ISD schools and contextualize and share best practices for church-school partnerships with the NTC churches.
Jurrita Williams, the new associate director of the CMO, is developing a cutting-edge learning cohort model for connecting and equipping local church leaders from across the conference for the task of beginning and deepening partnerships with their local schools. These learning cohorts will provide a space for pastors and church leaders to gather with colleagues for encouragement, goal setting, strategic planning and accountability as it relates to One + One.
Our dream is that one day, the vision of One + One Dallas will spread and there will be a One + One Clarksville and a One + One Wichita Falls and a One + One Prosper … all to the glory of God.
For more information about how the CMO can help your local church make disciples through a church-school partnership, email or text ONEPLUSONE to 66866.