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School Care Teams

Posted in Community Engagement  |  By Tommy DeRamus  |  Posted on Thu Feb 20, 2020

One of the tent-poles of Shades’ Community Engagement ministry is to provide spiritual, emotional, and professional support to our school teachers and administrators. These leaders have tremendous influence over our children during their formative years, and we want to do our best to support and encourage them, and ultimately influence them for Christ.

We have six teams currently working in area schools. In Vestavia Hills, we serve in Dolly Ridge Elementary, Vestavia East Elementary and Vestavia West Elementary. In Hoover, we have teams at Bluff Park, Green Valley, and Shades Mountain Elementary schools. All told, the Lord has given us space to build relationship with and encourage more than 600 local school employees.

Our School Care Teams offer support at their schools in a variety of ways. We provide grab-and-go breakfasts for teachers as they arrive for their classes; we help with school cook-out days; we provide goodie bags with gifts, all in an effort to show our appreciation for the work our teachers and administrators are doing every day. Most importantly, all of these activities are bathed in prayer that our work will open doors for Gospel conversations with the leaders in our schools.

We’ve gotten great feedback from our school partners. Principals tell us the breakfast treats are a welcome start to the day for their teachers. Teachers say that the gifts are thoughtful and give them a nice pick-me-up in the midst of long days of classes. Our team members express genuine happiness as they serve in their schools as the hands and feet of Jesus.

We are always open to new team members and new ideas for ways we can express our appreciation in our schools. God has opened doors for us and we want to be faithful to use these opportunities to build up our teachers and administrators and share the love of Jesus with them. If you would like more information about our School Care Teams or want to get involved at one of our schools, please contact Tommy DeRamus.         

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Posted in Community Engagement  |  By Tommy DeRamus  |  Posted on Thu Jan 16, 2020

Earlier this month, we started a new ministry opportunity called PowerBreakfast. PowerBreakfast is a spinoff from PowerLunch, designed to help us reach business people who work in the downtown Birmingham area.

Through PowerLunch, God brings men and women in the business community to our campus who have little or no connection to Shades. But as we've continued to ask ourselves how God is calling us to Live Sent, PowerBreakfast seemed like a natural next step in this ministry. The generosity of the team at the Harbert Center provides space for us to bring gospel-centered leadership to those who work downtown.

A number of companies were well represented at PowerBreakfast, including The Southern Company, Samford University, the Burr-Forman law firm, The Alabama Baptist, Milo’s Tea and BBVA Compass. God has given our faith family a unique sphere of influence through a number of different companies, so we'd encourage you to invite a colleague for breakfast and a talk on leadership.

We also would love for you to serve by checking our guests in or greeting them and showing them to the ballroom in which we meet.

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How to Live Sent this Halloween

Posted in Community Engagement  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2018

Whether you are a fan of Halloween or not, it provides an opportunity unlike any other to reach out to your neighbors. What other day of the year do people come in groups to your front door?

Here are some practical ways to live sent this Halloween:

  • Pray: Prayer-walk the neighborhood before Halloween. Pray that you will meet people with whom you can share your story and God’s story.  
  • Answer the door:  Don’t be the house that turns out the lights and shuts the window blinds. Greet children and their parents warmly. 
  • Visit as many homes as you can: Visit every home that has a light on. Again, be warm and try to learn something about each one of your neighbors. 
  • Go trick-or-treating with other neighbors: Reach out to the parents in your neighborhood and ask if they would like to go as a group.
  • Give out the best: Be known as the house that goes above and beyond, giving out the best candy.
  • Do a reverse trick-or-treat: Go door-to-door and offer baked-goods with a note that says something like, It’s no trick! We are your neighbors, and we would love to get to know you! Include any contact information you would like to leave with them. 
  • Learn names: Write down names as you meet people. Remembering names will make it much easier to begin a conversation the next time you see them.
  • Serve the parents: Brainstorm creative ways to serve the parents. For instance, set up a hot chocolate and coffee station or give out bottles of water. 


Adapted from, “7 Ways to be Missional this Halloween.” by Todd Gattis published by

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