Transform was incredible this year at Dallas Northway. Our prayer was that God would do something only He could get credit for, and that is exactly what happened.
The first half of the day was spent doing projects at Cary Middle School. This is the school right across the street from us. We have been developing a strong relationship with the school, and the Lord has really opened doors for us there.
We had two major goals for the morning: paint and clean. The school was in pretty bad shape. We painted over graffiti, painted seven classrooms and the cafeteria, and then painted a red (school color) stripe in all the halls. The stripe is 36 inches up from the ground so that the bottom half of the wall is red, while the top is white. It added a lot to the school and ended up looking great.
In addition to this, we cleaned out every locker (hadn’t been done in many years), the locker rooms, the halls, classrooms, etc. There were hundreds of people doing this, and it looked like a dust storm across the entire school as it was happening. Some other projects included a small construction team (of professionals) who built a new reception desk and eight new rolling storage book shelves.
At 11:30 a.m. we opened up the church to serve lunch to our volunteers and the community. The food was provided by Frito Lay/Pepsi Co. for $1 a person (for a thousand people). Matt Smith (from our campus) works there and was able to provide us that deal. Dr Pepper/Snapple Co. provided free tea and juice for a thousand people at no cost. We were also donated apple chips and some other vegetables to provide for free. Lunch was great, and we ran out of food after an hour.
In the afternoon, we made our church a place of service. We had some doctors, nurses and dentists in the lobby providing free health screenings and audiologists providing hearing tests. We set up two photo studios and had some of our professional photographers providing free family photos that were taken and printed out on location.
We had five barbers cutting hair for free in the gym and also set up our backpack giveaway there. We ended up giving away 900 backpacks to the community. In addition to those, we gave away 500 personalized Cary Middle School backpacks — all filled with school supplies. Cary Middle School had their registration at our church, so every student and family from the school came in to register.
In front of the church, Sky Ranch graciously donated three bounce houses and other little carnival-like activities. It was beautiful to see so many people from the community mixing with people from our body in the walls of the church.
All in all, we had 638 registered volunteers and about 1,500 people from the community sign waivers. Likely, there were more people there, but that is just the number of people who filled out paper work. We gave away 900 backpacks with school supplies to the community and 500 to Cary Middle School — 1,400 total.
I recently walked through the school, and it looks amazing. They are truly blown away, and everyone, from the janitor to the principal, cannot thank us enough. Three teachers have said they are going to start coming to church just to see what is going on. The principal was in tears, and some of the skeptical teachers just wanted to know more about why everyone was so nice. It has been a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel and impact the school.
Cary Middle School has adopted Transform as their theme for the school year, so we are going to continue our relationship with them. We will be adopting teachers, tutoring and setting up after-school programs. So, the relationship with the school is just beginning.
Finally, I must brag about the leadership team in place for Transform. Everyone was amazing. The ability of our people to do ministry amazed me, and instead of us owning it as a staff, our whole church body owned it. It was an honor to see our people serve our community in this way.
Again, we all feel like God did some things that only He can get credit for, so all glory goes back to Him! Praise be to His name!