BY DR. STEVE DUNN
Part 1 of a Series
There was a time when the church was the center of the community. That position has long ago been supplanted by the community’s schools. As our society has become more secularized, as youth sports have grown, and through a variety of other factors, schools have come to definer of community rhythms and the schedules of countless households–even those without children.
Many churches have come to recognize that those same schools are a vital part of the mission field outside their front door. Although such courtesies as “dark nights” in the school schedule to protect the church’s priorities have been swallowed up the burgeoning demands of the schools, churches are wise to shun the attitude that sees the school as an adversary. We need to see schools as a vital venue for building redemptive relationships with the larger community beyond the church’s walls.
The church should begin by prayerfully examining the question: “How can we be the best church for community’s schools?” But do not assume you know the answer? Schools ultimately need the life transforming presence of Jesus Christ, but first a church must respond to the school’s felt needs
Here are some simple steps to getting started.
Prayerfully ask God to identify the school He wants your church to build a redemptive relationship with.
Learn all you can about the school so that you have a sense of their needs and assess if you have the resources to help them.
Have the pastor make an appointment with the principal. Be sure to schedule it at the principal’s convenience. Simply explain that your church wants to provide some volunteer assistance for his or her school. Ask him, “What is something that we could help you with to relieve some of the work load of himself or his staff, or to help the school save some money, or to achieve something the school needs but currently lacks the time, manpower and resources to accomplish?”
Do NOT ask him to do something for you. There will come a time when it will be appropriate to ask the school’s support or participation, but that tends to come in at later point when you have earned that right.
Offer to fund items for this.
If he has something, and most will–tell him you will see what you can do to meet his request–and do so quickly (not hastily). Report back to him promptly.
Next post: The Key to Working with the School: A Servant’s Heart and Attitude
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