The pilot project of a new ministry in Jessamine County aims to help struggling families by walking alongside them.
Jessamine Christian Church’s Barbara Rendel, the wife of interim pastor Wally Rendel, is beginning “ScatterJOY,” based out of Psalm 126: “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy.”
The ministry’s first undertaking is to add to the church’s school ministry by having members “adopt” families in need who have students at Nicholasville Elementary, the partner school for the project. Barbara Rendel said the goal is more than one-time gifts of school supplies.
“The main thing that (mentors) are supposed to do is stay in contact with the families on a weekly basis,” she said. “They can be sending cards; they can be calling on the phone; it’s not necessarily buying them anything or providing financial support or goods or anything, but it’s that constant mentoring, partnering, coming alongside, seeing what they need.”
Rendel said that families are lacking more resources than just money — that they can need relational, spiritual or emotional support, as well. Kayla White, in her first year as the director of Nicholasville Elementary’s family resource center, agreed.
“Anything like that is always going to make a bigger difference than a lot of people think,” White said. “Of course school supplies and donations are going to help, but just that the church is going to stay in touch with the families, that matters more than anything, almost, just to have that community connection so they know they’re not alone and there are resources out there that are going to be able to help them.”
The church also aims to be a support for the teachers of Nicholasville Elementary.
“They may be a single parent themselves, or they may be somebody who’s struggling just to keep doing this,” Rendel said.
The initial costs for the project were funded by a former Nicholasville Elementary student who is now a corporate attorney in Georgia.
All 10 “adopted” families were at church Sunday morning and received gifts to kick off the program. The church hosted a back-to-school event for the whole county Wednesday.
For more information, call the Rendels at 859-223-4307.