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Cornerstone Church: An Extreme Educational Makeover

Jeff Gregory, missions pastor at Cornerstone Church outside of Nashville, Tennessee, started the first grade at Gene Brown Elementary School in 1968. Almost 40 years later he organized a project to renovate the entire school in just five days.
 

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Jeff Gregory, missions pastor at Cornerstone Church just outside Nashville, Tennessee, started the first grade at Gene Brown Elementary School in 1968. Almost 40 years later he organized a project to renovate the entire school in just five days. After outlawing prayer, Bible classes, and even creation teachings, the public school system seems to have all but removed God from its schools. Cornerstone Church in Madison, Tennessee, found an unusual way to get involved. At more than 50 years old, Gene Brown Elementary School was in desperate need of renovation. Cornerstone gave $180,000 to restore this public school and provided the work force to make it happen. Principal Bill Binkley couldn’t believe the good news. "No one has ever done this that I know of, but to come in and redo a school in 5 days -- I mean, that’s just unbelievable," he says. Volunteers wasted no time getting started and demolition began bright and early on June 11. Church members and others in the community worked around the clock for one week to make the school’s educational and aesthetic dreams a reality. Pastor Jeff Gregory organized the project. "Well the top priority was education of course. In order to do the education side, we painted the facilities. We gave new restrooms because the environment had to take place first, and then we looked at computers. We were able to put in 75 computers, which are 3 computers in each classroom. Each teacher gets a laptop," says Pastor Jeff. In addition, the church provided 25 new monitors for the computer lab. After meeting the educational needs, workers added what Pastor Jeff calls “bling.” "We decided to landscape on the outside, reseal, and stripe the parking lot. We made it look good, so the community can drive by and look at it, and see how nice it is." Volunteers thought of everything. Colorful murals liven up the rooms, custom built cabinets provide much needed storage space, and mulch and mats make the playground safer. Add to that, new office flooring and a state of the art gymnasium… "It’s just good to be building and recreating school for all these kids. I used to practice basketball here, and it wasn’t very much fun because it wasn’t too great a school. It's just great to recreate this for the kids," says volunteer, Robert Davis. Cornerstone hopes the project will not only touch the kids educational lives, but also the spiritual lives of parents, staff, and the entire community. Pastor Jeff says, "We don’t just care about numbers in our church, we care about them. We care about their children, we care about their community, and what it looks like." "I mean it looks like a brand new school, inside and out. I think that right there in and of itself, for the kids and teachers coming back in in the fall, it's going to be something that I don’t think they are going to have enough words to describe," says Principal Brinkley. "I had a lot of people say it can’t be done. Well, ya know what; it can be done if everybody just does their part. That’s what’s so incredible," says Pastor Jeff. "Volunteers were amazed at the final product during a dedication service." The church presented Principle Brinkley a new desk, and they gave the school board a check for $50, 000 to improve other facilities in the area. "It’s just exciting! I wish that I could be here on the first day of school to see those kids’ faces. It's going to be great," believes volunteer Elaine Payne. Congratulations Cornerstone Church, you are America’s Church of the Week.

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