By La Roya V. Jordan
Pastor of Christian Education and Children’s Discipleship
Faithful Central Bible Church
Paul writes to the Corinthians, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
I love that verse and it is so true about the partnership between the California State University and churches like mine. The brilliance of CSU Chancellor Emeritus Charles Reed was that he realized the university alone could not reach all children, schools alone could not reach all children, parents alone could not reach all children and churches alone could not reach all children. Yet, we together as the CSU African American Initiative strive to become all things so that we might save our children from poverty, frustration and the worst curse of all – failure to achieve their potential.
This month our efforts took shape as CSU Super Sunday. This clarion call from the pulpit focuses our efforts throughout the year, reminding both the university and church about our common mission.
I remember my first service with Dr. Reed. As I stood waiting with him, it struck me that here was a university leader who came to an all black church and he had no personal agenda except for his sincere desire for all of our children to go to college. I’ve seen this sincerity in all of the speakers from the CSU, including Cal State L.A. President James Rosser – who I can tell you, packs the house every time he attends. I remember one line in particular from Dr. Rosser, “If you dream big enough, you will go further.”
Of course, we continue through the year with the mission of Super Sunday. Last summer, we had 170 students registered for our algebra camp. The students came from our congregation but also from local middle and high schools. Our end of the camp “bread and fish” banquet brought more than 600 people to celebrate the accomplishments of students in learning math.
We have also increasingly engaged the parents. During the algebra camp, parents served as cheerleaders of children – other than their own. We wanted the parents to engage in the success of all the students in the camp, and the students to know that they had lots of people interested in their progress.
This speaks to the effort of the CSU African American Initiative to equip the parents with the tools to be good champions of their children. Indeed, the initiative has started parent councils – bringing together representative parents from churches to provide information and gather feedback on what more is needed. Those parents go back and share what they learned with others, who then share with others.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, that is half-true. The other half is that it takes a village to raise a family – and by joining our strengths and talents, we can all lift each other up.