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Atholton Focuses on Strategic Partnerships to Disciple Children

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The school and church community recently participated in the “Schools in Discipleship” training with Pastor Don MacLafferty.

Teachers, pastors, board members, and parents from Atholton Adventist Academy and the Atholton church in Columbia, Maryland participated in a nine-day “Schools in Discipleship” training that took place September 10-18. The training, led by Pastor Don MacLafferty of “In Discipleship,” focused on effectively discipling children by building intentional partnerships between the home, the school, and the church.
“The statistics show that if the home, the school, and the church are working together effectively as a team to disciple the youth, there is a 99% chance that those children will maintain a lifelong relationship with Jesus,” says Janesta Walker, superintendent of schools for Chesapeake Conference. “If we’re not thinking intentionally, these things don’t happen. We need to intentionally bring the home, the school, and the church together and everyone needs to realize that they have a part to play.” 
The week began with a revival and vision-casting weekend for school staff, board members, pastors, and several families who were open to being part of a strategic discipleship team. During the week, Pastor MacLafferty and his wife, April, ministered to school staff and modeled ways to help students see God’s heart better. Evening meetings were open to the whole community and emphasized the importance of making family Bible study active and exciting. 

“It was absolutely fantastic to see the kids being so excited and having so much fun with a Bible study,” says Walker. “The giggles and the joy that was coming from the kids during those Bible studies were wonderful. They couldn’t wait to study the Bible.”

Miya Kim, principal of Atholton Adventist Academy, believes that the nine-day training is an important part of Atholton’s commitment to teaching kids to follow Jesus.

“Our young people in our homes, church, and school are too precious to not do all that we can to help them know God’s incredible love for them,” says Kim. “I’m grateful that we had this special week with Pastor Don to provide extra support and practical examples of what we can do to foster this love for God.”

The Chesapeake Conference education department continues to provide resources for schools and churches to implement the “In Discipleship” program in their local communities.

Walker hopes that other school communities in the conference will soon follow Atholton’s example. “When people start hearing the stories of success, they’re going to want to do it at their school too.”

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