Sunday, August 11, 2013



Part 2 of a Series
Schools have become the center of most communities, often supplanting the position a key church once else. This acutally makes them now a prime mission field for churches who seek to build bridges of truth and grace,.  The key here is to surrender any idea of controlling the school or asking the school to serve your mission.  The key is to seek to influence a school by showing it how the church can help the school accomplish its mission.
The primary goal of most schools is to provide a quality education by giving kids academic knowledge and lifeskills necessary to function as useful members of the society. What that involves varies from community to community and is often dependent upon three things:(1) the graduation requirements of state departments of higher education (2) the constraints of budgets available from the taxation system (3) the socio-economic needs of the community they serve.
Many school superintendants or principals will tell you that there are many competing groups trying to control that agenda.  As such, school administrators have an instinctive reaction against anyone who wants to use the schools for their purposes--whether it by the federal government, taxpayer groups, political parties, or special interests (in which category they often place churches).
It is not without accident that Jesus taught us that true leadership comes through humility and self-sacrifice.  These are the two key ingredients in servanthood.
You demonstrate a servant's heart when you pay attention to the "little people" (i.e., the support staff) and offer to help them.  One church gained inroads because their youth staff visiting school lunch rooms helped the kitchen bus the tables.
You demonstrate a servant's heart when you help the school do the community research it must have to make its reports and justify its proposals for funding.
You demonstrate a servant's heart when you ask that principal, "What's one job around here that you have trouble getting people to do?" and then you go do it.
You demonstrate a servant's heart whenyou give your Christmas offering to support the "family emergency fund" that most office of student services must have to meet lower income needs.
You demonstrate a servant's heart when you don't feel the need to brag about what you do for the school on your websites.  You let the school do the bragging about you.
(C) 2013 by Stephen Dunn
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Saturday, August 10, 2013



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
(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn 
Reprint permission: You have permission to reprint for your ministry or repost as long as you do not alter the post and give credit to its author. An email note from you would be appreciated by the author and a link back to this blog is always appreciated.