Today, I asked Ingid Dedecker, the director of Partner With Schools, to write a post on how children’s ministers can get God back in our schools with this effective outreach tool.
Get God back into Public Schools !
by Ingrid Dedecker
Tag. You’re it. A game played every day in school yards. I wish finding christians who are willing to share the Good News in public elementary schools were this easy. Yet it’s not only permitted but even welcomed by schools. And three quarters of the students usually get saved. The girl in the picture up front asked with wide and hopeful eyes: “ Is it really true that God will forgive me of all the bad things I have done?”
Amazing Opportunity to reach your Neighborhood. Research shows that kids can reach their parents much better than pastors can. Showing the love of God to students often brings the rest of the family to church. It’s only one hour per week for eight weeks per semester, with amazing results. Elementary School students are still open to the love of God. Let’s reach them before they become troubled teens. 85% of people who get saved find God between the age of 5 -14.
Voluntary After-School programs for which parents sign a permission form are within the legal framework of the school. A school which has any other activities such as after-school enrichment programs must allow a Bible club as well. This even holds true for flyers and announcements as all clubs have to be treated equally.
Sixteen Federal Agencies call upon Faith-based organizations! All children who attend the local church also attend the local school. Parents of those children are deeply connected to both institutions. What other local organization has such a direct link to the school. That is why the Department of Education, The White House, via it’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and 14 other Federal Agencies promote student achievement by connecting schools and community-based organizations, both secular and faith-based.
Fourteen Churches, on average exist for each school and yet it’s difficult to find churches willing to get involved in their local school. No need to fear the ACLU. The ACLU usually focuses on the establishment clause of the First Amendment which makes sure that religion is not officially established in schools. That’s why the ACLU often challenges official prayer or religious symbols in schools. However The ACLU has never taken a school to court over a Bible Club, and due to numerous recent lawsuits won by students whose schools denied clubs, an increasing number of principals are now focusing on their student’s right to Free Speech. In prior decades schools focused almost exclusively on upholding the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause but in recent years the shift to also uphold the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause has brought much balance to the issue of Church/State Separation. Yes, schools still don’t endorse religion but they now also enforce student’s rights to practice religion in schools.
The ACLU of Tennessee, just in March 2014, decided to actually defend a student who was forced by teachers to stop reading the Bible in an After School program. In the letter sent to the school, the ACLU requests that the school train it’s teachers on religious freedom rights while at the same time not imposing religions on students. Hedy Weinberg, executive director for the ACLU’s Tennessee branch, additionally said in a statement that the goal of their letter was to: clarify how constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedoms work.
Neither School Administrators nor Church Administrators are fully aware of the recent case law opening up schools to churches. That’s why it’s important to gently inform schools that over 7000 elementary schools nationwide have Bible Clubs in schools; and many more Middle and High Schools.
Partner with Schools provides pro bono help to churches in getting into their local schools. We set up partnerships between local schools and local churches and provide teacher’s training and ongoing coaching to keep the church’s school outreach ministry motivated. You will find more information at: www.partnerwithschools.com A school principal from Akron City Schools in Ohio said: “ Thank you for impacting our school so much for the las two years. We are so glad you’re here!”
Blessing not only the students but also to the school. Schools are mandated to teach character education. Since the Bible is full of character education we might as well help schools fulfill that mandate. Character Counts is one of the two primary character education programs. Since schools recognize that program we incorporate Character Counts into our curriculum. It takes up less than 10 minutes of the class and the rest of the class focuses on faith-based character education via Bible teaching, fun activities, songs, and memory verses.
Ingrid DeDecker, Director of Partner with Schools, is available for meetings and church presentations and can be reached at: 330.309.5333 or firstname.lastname@example.org