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Church Leadership Good News

10 Ways Your Church Can Be Good News to Public Schools

I have a fervent belief that if we want to reach a post-Christian society, we have to be Good News before someone will listen to Good News.

I asked some teachers, “How could a local church be Good News to your public school?” Here are 10 of their ideas.

  1. Create a team that participates at every school board meeting. Your presence at meetings, without bringing forward issues, will communicate to the decision makers that your church cares.
  2. Sponsor a community-wide clean-up day during the Fall and Spring semester. If you lead the charge, other churches and community organizations will join forces.
  3. Ask teachers to post individual classroom needs on Donors Choose, and then ask church members to help fund things that will go directly to the classroom.
  4. Set-up a tutoring program that meets in your building after school. (Example) You don’t have to be a certified teacher to help kids with math, science, and reading homework.
  5. Ask your congregation to strategically send their children to public schools. Resist the temptation to home school or send children to a private school. Instead, ask the congregation to invest that time and money into their children’s individual classrooms.
  6. Schools are often lacking volunteers for events. Meet with the principal early in the Fall and find out which events need help.
  7. Have the church cover any expenses for background checks or medical tests related to volunteering in schools. Sometimes the smallest obstacle becomes the biggest excuse!
  8. Once a month, provide treats to the school staff. Every school has a teachers lounge and every employee of the school will appreciate if you provide a bagels or a healthy lunch snack. (Don’t just bless the teachers, bring enough for everyone!) Trust me, this will make even the most hardcore staff smile.
  9. Many districts have cut spending on arts and music. Have your worship leader work with local administrators to set-up workshops, after school, or any opportunity for children to get exposure to art and music.
  10. Find out what projects are important at a school and help provide the supplies. If they have a garden, make sure they have tools. If they are allowing children to paint murals, make sure they have the paint they want.

Want to get started? Pick one and let me know how it goes!

These are my ideas. What are yours?

Many of these ideas came from classroom teachers. Special thanks to Erin, Annie, and Paul for speaking into this post.

By Adam McLane

Adam McLane is a partner at The Youth Cartel, co-author of A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media, blogger of 10+ years, and a fan of all things San Diego State University Aztecs.

10 replies on “10 Ways Your Church Can Be Good News to Public Schools”

I love this kind of stuff! Our church provides cookies for our entire county staff at the beginning of school, and we feed students at their orientation days just before school starts. We’re feeding teachers at their faculty meetings a few times a year, and we always tailgate at home football games, and other sporting events. Because of this year’s involvement, my lead pastor and I (student pastor) were asked to attend a “Challenge Day” a lot like the “If you really knew me” show. We were encouraged to share with students and support them in decisions, and even do a small amount of counseling with them. Some of my students were sharing very personal info, and have since spoken to me when I’ve seen them out, and added me on Facebook. What an amazing experience, all because we bought the teachers cookies! 😉
I’ve found that once you open the lines of communication, then schools will let you know what they need. What a great support system for both places! There are some great ideas to get any church started. Thanks Adam!
JL

Here are some of the ideas we’ve used or I’ve seen used:

Create a “beautification team” for the school. This team would serve to keep the campus clean, weed landscape, plant a “memory garden” to honor students/teachers who have passed away, painting and upkeep, etc.

Provide volunteers for the prom…”undercover chaperones”. Serve as valet parking attendants, bathroom attendants, shuttle drives from parking lots, etc. One of the coolest and most appreciated things I’ve seen is to find hair dressers and make-up artists to volunteer their time at the prom fixing hair, makeup and wardrobe malfunctions. Girls gather and sit for lengths of time, perfect for striking up conversations and getting to know them.

Get to know the guidance counseling staff. They, more than any other adults on campus, know the needs of the students. They see the needs every day, and providing them help to meet those needs can be a great ministry.

Provide men’s and women’s toiletry kits. Most schools have the need to provide basic toiletry items to students, including soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, women’s hygiene products, shampoo, razors, etc. Collect the items and place them in large ziplock bags, identifying men’s and women’s kits.

Most states have standardize testing once a year. These tests often require a “proctor” to be present in each room. A proctor is an unbiased (not parent to any kids, don’t know the teacher, etc.) witness to the testing to make sure that no cheating occurs. All they have to do is sit and watch. Here in TN, once a year every classroom in the school needs proctors for 5 days. That’s a lot of volunteers…but a need the church can meet.

Get trained in crisis response and take your certification to the local school boards and be available for crisis intervention on campus. Several of us youth pastors responded as a crisis response team to the school shooting that occurred here last week, ministering to parents during the lock-down, helping school staff communicate and coordinate efforts during the crisis, and counseling students and teachers afterwards.

Provide your property and buildings for use by the school. This is especially great if you are nearby the campus. Our church has been used by the school for testing, day-care, band practice (in our gym), safe zone, etc.

Provide snacks/breakfast items for student orientation days before the start of school. This is a great way to serve the students and parents.

Purchase umbrellas for teachers who serve bus duty. May sound like a small gesture, but the teachers appreciate the umbrellas when it’s pouring down rain.

Meeting these simple needs without any expectation of anything in return will help you gain trust with the schools and will provide opportunities for deeper ministry as God opens the doors.

Those are great additions to the list, John and Haley. As a teacher at a low-income school, those are things that would be really meaningful for me and the other teachers on campus.

When two influences work together, they CAN do something more than they each could do on their own!

Many churches are making an impact by promoting character values in their local schools. What a way to show good news. ?

A way to promote values would be by talking to school administrators/counselors, purchasing a program for the school, or even volunteering to help implement a program. Core Essentials is an example of a great program that could really initiate change! Core Essentials is an affordable character education program, for grades K-5. The program focuses on children and who they become. The goal of the program is to turn a word—a value—into a culture of building character. Using schools and their families – this program gives them a language to teach values in a relevant way. Core Essentials partners with local Chick-fil-A stores all over the country to also reward students who are “caught” showing the value.
Check out the website, http://www.CoreEssentials.org, see what you think.

Thanks Adam — I’m new here so I apologize for not realizing that :-/
I have seen churches do amazing things in schools with this as an entry point. A value or character curriculum is a lot of times not only needed but mandated by school districts. It’s an easy way to help out with something a school needs to do!
Using this as a church’s method of outreach helps those volunteers form relationships with the kids – and ultimately their families. Some churches even do assemblies (with their really great resources of talent) for schools based on values. I know of one superintendent in Indiana who buses their whole district of schools in to see a monthly value assembly performed by a church! It’s pretty awesome.
Thanks for letting me share.

Thanks for this posting, and God Bless you!
Suggestions: Form intercessory groups to pray for teachers and students.
Introduce Bible Reading and Prayer back to public schools.
Document the reason why Bible reading and Prayer should be
brought back to public schools, such as increase of lack of discipline, tenage pregnancy, violence, etc, compared to the years up to the time these 2 components were removed from public schools.
Thank you, and GOD BLESS you!

Our church is a business partner with a school close to our church. We do an Easter Egg at the school each year on a Saturday or like this past Easter we did it on a Thursday night in conjunction with their Family Night. We put together a small gift for all the teachers and support staff for Teacher’s Appreciation Week. We’ve helped with their school carnival and many ideas. This year we are working with a new principal and school as the school we had worked with closed. Looking forward to the new doors God is opening for us!

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