SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Grace Church held its Annual Back to School Sunday worship service to pray for and encourage kids and teachers heading back into the classroom.

As she does each year, Alicia Miller, the principal of a local public elementary school, attended the service. She thanked the church for its year-round involvement at the school and for praying for the students and teachers.

“Through this unique partnership, many opportunities for ministry have opened up,” says Pastor Dave Fox. Grace Church has sponsored coat drives, Christmas food drives, and a blood drive and has provided classroom helpers and crossing guards. The school also frequently asks Fox to provide counseling and to pray with people at the school. “We see the schools as mission fields, so we pray earnestly for these ‘Jerusalems.’”