How to Love a School
Have you ever wondered about the best way to reach the kids in your community?
Think about this.
There is one place in every community that has the biggest concentration of kids that gather every single day.
They are there seven hours a day, surrounded by adults who are doing their very best to help the kids win.
Ding. Ding. Ding. You guessed it!
The local school!
Think about the schools you pass by regularly.
Have you ever thought of the possibility of having a transforming presence in your local school?
I hear what some of you are thinking.
“The schools won’t let us in.”
“Haven’t you heard of the separation of church and state?”
“There’s no way this is possible.”
Actually, it’s very possible. I know we can’t go in with the mindset of talking to kids about Jesus. But what if we started with building relationships?
And then, what if those relationships began to build trust?
What if that trust led to deeper relationships where the school began to call on YOU when they have a need?
It’s more than possible. I’ve seen it done and done well!
So, let’s start at the beginning of relationship building and let God figure out the rest.
1) Make an appointment to sit down with the principal.
- Introduce yourself and your church. Show how the goals of your church align with the goals of their school. You both want kids and teachers to win. You both want to love the people in their building. You both want to help families.
- Tell the principal you are there for them. You may not be able to do everything they ask, but there’s always a way to figure out how to help.
- Ask how the church can best help their school. What are their greatest needs? What are the greatest needs of the kids and families they serve? This conversation will enlighten you about the actual needs in your community.
- Give the principal your contact information. Follow up with an email a few days later.
2) Love the staff.
The school staff are the key people who love the kids you want to reach. Support them in every way possible. Let them know they are doing a great job and you see it. Help them reach their goals and meet the needs of kids in their classrooms.
- Volunteer. Make a plea to your congregation about becoming a volunteer in the school. It may require volunteer training, but this way, your people can actually be in the building and loving the school.
- Offer duty-free lunch.
- Leave treats and notes in staff mailboxes.
- Volunteer to read with kids.
- Buy five dozen donuts and leave them in the staff workroom.
- Ask seniors in your church to adopt a teacher to pray for during the year and send notes to their classroom.
Check out this instant Appreciation Kit the teachers in your school will really like. (You'll just need to add ice cream.)
3) Love the kids.
Kids are the easiest to develop relationships with. If you show the smallest bit of attention to a child, they will love you forever.
- Throw an ice cream party for a classroom.
- Volunteer for a field trip and hang out with kids the entire day!
- Plan a Christmas sing-along and dress up in fun Christmas costumes and sing as loud as you can!
- Find a way to reach every kid in the school with a treat at the beginning of the school year.
- Mentor a child. Show up twice a month and invest in a child who needs a positive role model.
4) Help kids reach kids.
As the church, our reach is very limited to what we can say or do in the local school. But kids can say and do whatever they want about their faith. They can talk about Jesus. They can bring and read their Bible. They can hand out invitation cards.
Teach kids what it means to reach their friends for Jesus. They have so much more leverage in sharing the gospel than any adult in the school building.
Remember, this relationship is about trust over time.
This will not happen overnight. But, if you truly want to love the place where the most unchurched people attend every day, the local school is the place to do ministry.
One fun way to equip the children in your church to love their classmates and make a difference in their community is by throwing a KINDNESS PARTY. Look inside Issue One of "What's for Dinner?" magazine for ideas on how your families can host a Kindness Party in their own backyard or living room.
How does your church love local schools? Please let us know in the comments so that we can be encouraged by your experience.