New Partnership Spotlight: Bethel Nazarene Church and Jere Baxter Middle School

This week we are ecstatic to announce a new United4Hope partnership between Bethel Nazarene Church and Jere Baxter Middle School. Bethel Nazarene has a heart for the recovery community and has put significant thought and investment into how to best help this population of our neighbors. With that, they keep a men’s and women’s clothes closet, an emergency food pantry, and a washer and dryer on their campus in the Maplewood area of Nashville.

When I first began talking to Pastor Joe Drake and clothes ministry coordinator Audrey Green this past fall about a possible United4Hope partnership, they wondered out loud if there could be an overlap between their existing ministries and helping the students and parents at Jere Baxter. I could sense right away that the Lord must be up to something because Jere Baxter’s Communities In Schools Coordinator, Michelle Fletcher, had recently told me that clothes and food distribution were among her top opportunities. Michelle mentioned that sometimes a lack of clean or suitable clothes keeps students from attending school. Or a student will end up in detention after coming to school in clothes that do not meet the dress code.

Bethel Nazarene is well-suited to assist with these opportunities, and what a joy it was to witness their commitment to these areas of service when we met at Jere Baxter with Michelle this week. I often get questions about what a typical partnership entails at United4Hope. The answer is that every partnership is unique and beautiful! The gospel magnifies our individual creativity and the passions of each local church. When considering a church/school partnership, I encourage you to take stock of what your church already does well! Where has God already gifted or positioned you or your church, and how could that translate into a local public school?

We look forward to cheering on the folks at Bethel and Jere Baxter as they lock arms and take care of our precious children in 2024!

-Meredith Ball

Picture: From left to right, Bethel Nazarene pastor Joe Drake, Bethel U4H co-coordinators Audrey and Calvin Green, and Communities in Schools Site Manager for Jere Baxter, Michelle Fletcher