Cookson Hills is one of 25 different ministries that our church supports on a monthly basis. Each of those partners are unique, serving across the country and around the world. Part of my role at Christ’s Church is to stay connected with these partners and to find ways to connect our church with the ministry.
Over my time at the church, Cookson Hills has quickly become one of my favorite ministry partners. I spent some time trying to figure out some of the reasons why this is the case, and I think it can be boiled down to one overarching truth; the staff and leadership at Cookson Hills don’t just serve out of obligation or duty, but rather it’s a lifestyle. From houseparents to administration, cooking staff to teachers, each interaction with Cookson Hills staff is filled with a deep passion for the ministry and the role they each play. This has been evident during visits, special events like Hilltop, while our church is helping facilitate field day, and every time some of the staff at Cookson Hills is on site at our church.
It has been a deep privilege to serve Cookson Hills throughout the long partnership between our church and their ministry. I’m especially proud of the ways we have been able to mutually bless one another. We have had the opportunity two different times to send down a team to help facilitate field day for the school. By providing the games, supplies, awards and all the details that go into a field day, it takes some stress off of the teachers who are already busy planning end of year activities and getting ready for graduation. This also allows the teachers to simply participate with their students—once again enhancing the relationship they have long-term with these students. It’s a chance for our group to serve behind the scenes a bit more and champion Melissa (Director of Education) and her team, who day in and day out love and serve the students living at Cookson Hills. This is also a great way for our group to meet and interact with the students in a comfortable environment, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy a fun field day?!
Not only has our group given to Cookson Hills, but we have also received. On multiple occasions, some of the highly trained and well-qualified Cookson Hills staff has traveled up to Christ’s Church to bless our congregation. They’ve offered weekend trainings for foster families in our church, giving them continuing education credit and better equipping them to love the kids in their care. Other staff members have visited to share the mission of Cookson Hills with various groups here at the church. Each time we have been blessed to hear and learn from those working on a daily basis to change the lives of the students at Cookson Hills.
I’m thankful for the team at Cookson Hills, for Heath and his leadership, and the way Cookson Hills wants to change the story for countless students who come into their care. I’m also thankful for the partnership they want to have with the local church to help us love kids in our own community better and to provide ways for our church to help them succeed as well. Ministry is best when it’s done in partnership and I’m thankful for the team at Cookson Hills. We look forward to many more years of working together to advance God’s kingdom.