Alice Drive Baptist Church hosted its 18th prayer walk for the schools of Sumter County on Monday morning.
“We started out doing it for the schools in town and then expanded to doing all the …
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“We started out doing it for the schools in town and then expanded to doing all the schools in the county,” Senior Pastor Clay Smith said. “We’ve been doing that now for 17 years.”
Participants gathered at the church to check in and then split into teams for different schools. The teams went to their assigned schools to bless the students, the faculty and the school itself for the upcoming school year.
The teams went to all the schools in Sumter County (public and private), the school district office, Central Carolina Technical College, USC Sumter and Morris College.
“It’s a way we can serve our community and particularly serve our schools,” Smith said. “We’ll pray with the principals and the teachers, if they want to. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. We just want the people in schools to know we care, and this is a gift we can offer them.”
Matt Sprinkle, a middle school minister, led a group of middle school students to Chestnut Oaks Middle School.
“I’ve been here in Sumter going on three years, so I think this is my third time doing the prayer walk,” Sprinkle said. “I’m in all of the middle schools, and we’re getting into the high schools pretty much every week through a program called First Priority.”
First Priority is a club for students to learn about Jesus and be a better impact in their schools. The Sumter Youth Network and 15 other churches come together and run the program.
Chestnut Oaks is one of the schools he goes to for First Priority.
“It’s a time where we get students together. They kind of come into an environment, play a game and have some fun,” Sprinkle said. “We have a talk and devotion to help them throughout their day and to be more like Jesus and how they can be an influence in their school.”
Sprinkle’s group consisted of middle school students Dustie Estes, Lindsey Laity and Daniel and Maria Fleitas.
They walked around the Chestnut Oaks campus and prayed in the school’s offices, classrooms, multipurpose room, art room, music room, library, cafeteria and gymnasium.
If the teachers were present, the group would ask them what they wanted to pray for before joining hands and praying together.
If the teachers were not present, the students in the group would write a prayer on a sticky note and leave it on the classroom door.
The group and teachers prayed for a wonderful school year, for the students to stay positive, for the students to get good grades, for new teachers in the school and more.
“It’s not just an opportunity to be in the schools,” Sprinkle said. “We use it as a way to serve our schools, too.”
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