Q: What is the overall goal of James River Church’s annual Project Partnership?

A: The purpose and goal of Project Partnership is to come alongside our school district and in a tangible way demonstrate the love of Jesus. It’s a fulfillment of what Jesus said he came to do: “I came to serve, not to be served.” To go into our public schools is an expression of God’s love for the people of this community, the school district and our city.

Q: Why is this an important initiative for James River Church?

A: Project Partnership is one of many opportunities the people of James River Church have to go into the community and make a massive difference. Schools are transformed in a matter of hours as hundreds of people come out to paint, landscape, clean and complete small construction projects.

As well, coming alongside our Joplin School District to provide this transformation that otherwise couldn’t be done is huge for us. We want our students, teachers and administrators to know we are there for them, and we know these kinds of projects can bring new life and excitement to their school.

Q: When did the James River Church campus in Joplin begin Project Partnership?

A: We started Project Partnership the first year we launched the James River Church Joplin campus. We knew we wanted to get involved in the community right away. I met with (Superintendent) Dr. Melinda Moss and shared our desire to come alongside the district, and we were both very excited to make that happen right away. This will be our third year for Project Partnership in the Joplin area and our 23rd year in the Springfield area.

In Joplin, three years ago we painted and landscaped the entire Duenweg School, which was being prepared for the new Beacon program. Due to COVID-19, last year we landscaped and painted outdoor playground equipment and all exterior handrails at five Joplin schools, as well as built and stained benches for playground areas.

Q: How has James River Church impacted the community and area school districts with this program?

A: Every year, we hear from the principals, administrators and students on what a massive impact Project Partnership has made in their schools. When thousands of people show up across Springfield and Joplin to engage in essentially a “school makeover,” the impact is both immediate and blesses the schools for years into the future. Especially following one of the most difficult years ever for our schools, we know this event will provide both hope and encouragement as they get ready for the fall.

Q: What types of work will James River Church in Joplin provide this year?

A: This year, we will be painting and landscaping the Roi S. Wood Alternative School, as well as washing, cleaning and sanitizing every school bus in the Joplin fleet — that’s over 70 school buses! We’re excited for the opportunity to transform both Roi S. Wood and to make an impact on every student in Joplin schools as we get the buses completely sanitized and shining inside and out.

Justin Jahanshir serves as the pastor of the James River Church Joplin campus.

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