MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - The small crowd that gathered Saturday at New Covenant Community Ministries in Moss Point didn't come to hear a sermon; instead, they came to hear about education.
State testing records show that many students in Magnolia Junior High School are struggling. And these pastors believe they can change that.
"We have to preach salvation, but part of that is becoming knowledgeable of our social environment, our economic environment," said Pastor Jerry Thompson. "I like the way Bishop Yates says it, 'The majority of people want to go to heaven when they die, so to speak, but we're going to need to know how to get a sandwich before we get there.'"
Community pastors are organizing an after school tutoring program called Ministerial After School Tutoring Service, that would help kids with both school and social skills.
"We know we need good teachers in the classroom. They are there with the students eight hours one on one," said Parent for Public Schools representative Myya Robinson. "But, then research also shows that parental and community involvement positively impacts student achievement. So, there's got to be more that the community can do."
However, judging by the small crowd at the meeting, it looks like getting parental and community involvement will be the next challenge.
"There's an urgency there. We want people to understand there is an urgency there. The school needs your help. These students need your help," said Robinson.
Organizers also hope that a positive environment, like the church, will give kids even more motivation to succeed in and out of the classroom.
"When you talk about education, it helps you socially, spiritually and in every area of your life," said Thompson.
The program will focus on students from Magnolia Junior High, but organizers say they will try to help any student who needs it.
If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact New Covenant Community Ministries at (228) 475-7839.