Category Archives: Bible Clubs

How Children’s Ministers Can Get God Back in the Schools

Partner with schoolsToday, 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.

Partner kids

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.

IngridIngrid DeDecker, Director of Partner with Schools, is available for meetings and church presentations and can be reached at: 330.309.5333 or dedecker@partnerwithschools.com

 

Planning See You At the Pole for Children’s Ministry

Every year, youth and children from around the nation gather at the flagpole at their schools and pray for revival.

Some have left children out of this great event because of the need for adult supervision. But adults are legally allowed to join students in prayer.

One of the greatest things you can do for the children in your ministry as they go back to their elementary schools is to organize a See You At the Pole Event.

See You at the Pole is held on the last Wednesday of September at 7:00 am. This year, it is September 25th. You can find more information about See You At The Pole  at their website. The theme for See You at the Pole 2013 is If/Then. If we pray, seek, turn, then God hears, forgives, heals. The theme verse passage is 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Organizing See You at the Pole for Children’s Ministry:

Pray: Bathe the students who want to participate in this in prayer.

Prepare: Have an adult leader and student leaders at each school. The students can advertise the event in the school by hanging up posters and telling their friends. The adult would notify the school principal and parents about the event and let them know that there will be adult supervision.

Publicize: Promote this event in your children’s ministry. Get the children excited about it. Give children fliers to pass out to their friends at school. Send a letter home to the parents telling them about this ministry and how their children can be involved.

Plan:  Have the adult at each school get together with the students and plan what they will do. What will they pray for? Will they sing a song or read scripture?

Promote: You can do this by having a special Back to School children’s church where you talk about the power of prayer as the children go to school and how this is one way they can demonstrate their faith. I also recommend a children’s service geared around prayer and this event. Take some time to teach the children why we are praying at the schools and how they can pray. Assure them that they don’t have to pray out loud at these events unless they want to. Showing up and praying silently at the school’s flagpole is powerful.

For more information about See You at the Pole, visit their website here.

Bible Clubs In Schools Part 2: How to Start a Bible Club

Today, I have a guest blogger, Robert Heath from Kids In Christ USA. He’s going to talk to us about How to Start A Bible Club.

Kids In Christ USA Ministry

Kids for Christ USA is a concept by students in public schools are being reached with the gospel.  We work with parents and students who wish to plant before or after school Bible clubs in the Public Schools using the guidelines of the Federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment of the Constitution.  

I/We work to empower these parents/students with everything they need to be successful.  For some that is just advice, for others we connect them with ministry teams in they’re area, in some cases we provide the required liability insurance.  We have over 67 schools across the U.S.A. that we work or have worked with.  The goal of KFCUSA and myself is to be the ultimate resource for parents/students who sponsor Bible clubs.

Robert Heath, Kids for Christ USA  www.kfcusa.org

How To Start A Bible Club

The following is an exerpt for Robert Heath’s book explaning how to start a Bible Club in a public school.

Student or Parent Sponsors:

 

 Now, I guess the next thing to discuss is “Your approach” when it comes time to talk to Mr. or Mrs. Principal.club must be student sponsored and student initiated. However, at the elementary level, there is no legal precedent as yet, so most schools will allow a “parent sponsor” to assist a student sponsor to organize the program. The reason is simple: it’s just common sense that most elementary age children lack the organizational skills needed to operate a program like this. I was warned by the ACLJ in the beginning of this ministry that if I did what I said I wanted to do, I would probably be involved in setting those legal precedents at the elementary level. I used to think that a precedent was needed at this age, but I no longer think that. What I mean is that since it has been declared that it is a First Amendment right for students, then I am not sure that it is a worthwhile fight to graft elementary schools into the Equal Access Act.

In order for Kids for Christ USA, (KFCUSA) Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) or your best friend to help you with a program in an elementary, junior high or high school, a student or parent sponsor is needed. I remember the first day of Kids for Christ at my son’s school. What I did was (and still is) both challenging and incredibly rewarding. I remember walking out of that school saying to God, “You know, Lord, that was incredible! I could do that for the rest of my life.” Knowing that you had a hand in reaching lost souls in your child’s school is a wonderful feeling. I have no words to describe the awesome blessing of this simple act of service. You are the frontline person in your child’s school. Even if we (or some other group) assist you, you are still the liaison between the school and that group. The goal I had when I started Kids for Christ USA was to instill confidence in students and parent sponsors across the country. You are not alone! For starters, Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” He also referred to the Holy Spirit as the comforter: Whom he was sending. So you have God’s promise to be there for you. You also have access to groups like KFCUSA and CEF who can be a resource for you to use in whatever capacity you need.

As you have just read, the laws regarding Bible Clubs are written with the junior high and high school students in mind. That is because those students and their families fought this battle that has already paved the way for us.

Now let’s get to that approach I mentioned at the beginning of this section.

If you were a shy kid who never acted out in class and was never sent to the principal’s office, then this trip can be a bit unnerving. In fact, take it from me: IT WILL BE unnerving. Just remember the Word says that you will have understanding.” and like I was actually looking into the eyes of The President. I tried to speak, but no sound would come out of my lips. Then, when something did come out of my mouth, I sounded like Porky the Pi, Pi, Pi, Hog. (Please don’t make me explain the joke.)

Remember this (but You are an American Citizen. As such, you own that building. 

Just for the record, if you do have a problem, then contact Kid’s for Christ USA immediately. Our web site, e-mail address, and phone number is listed in the back of this book. You can also call CEF. For legal help, you can also call upon The Alliance defense fund or the ACLJ. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any problems; we will be happy to help guide you through the process. In fact, I recommend that you program our phone number into your cell phone speed dial before you walk into that office. (Well, you can if you wish to; I was partly joking right here. More than likely you won’t need to call us.)

It seems silly to say this, but the first order of business, even before you go to see the principal, is actually preparation. The most successful groups I have had the pleasure of working with coordinated a group of moms before they ever visited the Principal. Talk about a confidence builder! The lead Mom knew before she ever visited the Principal that she had several other moms who were standing by her. They broke down a list of responsibilities among themselves. When they did get the go ahead from the school, they were ready. I advise you to go as prepared as possible, both naturally and spiritually. And remember, the most important confidence builder is caused by taking some time to be alone with God before you head off to the school.

Connect With Moms In Touch

Another great resource is “Moms in Touch” prayer groups. This National organization functions very similar to how KFCUSA functions. They break down from National all the way down to the school level. Talk about powerful; a group of moms who meet weekly for the sole purpose of praying and serving the school their child attends! As you prepare your Club, connect with the regional offices of Moms in Touch. If they have a group in your school, I recommend that you connect with them and even join them. Wherever KFCUSA goes, we have noticed that the Clubs that have student or parent sponsors who took the time to connect with the local Moms in Touch group ends up with a Bible Club that THRIVES!

Meeting with the Principal

I know we haven’t talked about teacher observers yet, but I would try to have at least an idea about who you want to have as your teacher observer before you visit the Principal. When you go, some of the items you need to remember to request are:

• A room in which to hold your meetings.

• A day and time for your meetings. (We have found it best to allow the Principal to choose the day.) This can be before or after school.

• A start time, roughly 50-60 minutes before school begins or 10-15 minutes after it ends. (This time frame is especially important if you intend to serve snacks.)

• If you wish to offer snacks, be sure to discuss that with the Principal. I advise you to be “up front” with the Principal from the start. In fact, get permission for everything you can think of during your initial meeting. Go ahead and ask to sponsor “See You at the Pole” in September. Ask permission to give candy as prizes, reward incentives … whatever you think of, ask to do it … now.

The schools are no place to operate with the mentality of “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” Even though I think there is a place for that, the schools are not that place. That mentality is just asking for trouble in this type of program. Never assume permission. Ask for it!

• Also, it’s always a good idea to offer to fill out any appropriate forms or complete any other necessary documentation. That way, you show that you want to do things “right.

Bible Clubs In Schools Part 1 – Featured Book “How Are You Doing That?”

How Are You Doing That?

A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Bible Clubs in America’s Public Schools

By Robert C. Heath

 Summary: 

Most people have the mis-conception that the Bible and Prayer are banned from America’s schools.  This book not only annihilates that myth, but empowers you with the all the legal information you need to know to launch an effective Bible club in your(s) child’s school.  In addition to inspiring stories from the clubs and a year’s worth of curriculum for you club.  

During the next couple of weeks, Robert Heath from “Kids In Christ Ministries” will share information on Revival Fire For Kids Blog about how to start a Public School Bible Club. Click here for his Website If you are interested in this ministry, you’ll want to buy this book.

Endorsements:

“I am convinced after reading this book that every Children’s Pastor in America should be ministering in a Bible Club.” 

 —Chris Elia, Station Manager, TBN, New York

“Wow! Bob has answered “The Call” and now equips you in this great “manual” as he helps us all obey the “Go ye” commission. There are 45 million students/souls waiting to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in America’s public school buildings. God is using Bob’s help in public schools while transforming the lives of countless children. Thanks to Bob’s obedience, sacrifice and willingness to share his ministry, you too can make a difference in America’s modern day Canaan Land.” 

 

 

 

–“Armadillo Jim” Schmidt, President: Put On Your Armor Foundation, Author: Helping Public Schools… Bridging the Gap

“I have heard it said that it takes 8 million gallons of fuel to launch a rocket. Bob Heath has provided the fuel and then some to launch a revolution of the love of God in the lives of our children, our families, our schools and our communities. This book gives you the instruction and the inspiration to make a difference in children’s lives today! I believe Kids For Christ is looking through God’s eyes of compassion and reaching out with His hands of mercy to love our children in this present day!”

 

 

 —Brad Larson, Lead Pastor, The Life at Scottsdale

Robert Heath brings his readers along on the journey of establishing student Bible Clubs through Kids for Christ USA. In the process he has created a “how to” handbook for a successful school campus outreach overflowing with creative ideas. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to impact youth on our public school campuses in America. Now more than anytime in the history of this great nation, our public schools are a mission field ripe for the harvest. The sharing of our faith in the public sector is legal in our nation and it is required in His Kingdom.

—Finn Laursen, Executive Director, Christian Educators

My Review:

If you’ve ever considered launching a Bible Club in a public school, you need to read this book. Robert Heath, the author and founder of Kid’s In Christ, is the expert in this area. His book is a complete how to manuel to help you start this effective ministry. I highly recommend this book.

To order, click here.

Excert From The Book:

Introduction

“Mom! Dad! Wake up!” These words boom out of your child’s mouth as he races into your bedroom.

“Please get up!” Your son gently nudges your side and pushes into your arm. “You’ve got to get me to school early today!”

Your eyelids slowly open and your eyes start to focus. You’re shocked with what you see first. Your son is already dressed for school and is even holding your car keys!

“It’s Kids for Christ day,” he says emphatically. “And I don’t want to miss it!”

Does such a scene sound impossible? I’ve lived the normal reality with sleepy-headed children who refuse to get dressed for school. I’ve fought the endless morning battles just to get a child out of bed and ready for the day. I know how ridiculous this may sound to you, yet I also know after talking to hundreds of parents that a scene just like this one happens all across America as kids prepare to attend their weekly Bible Club meeting.

I’ve also heard a related scenario: kids begging parents to let them stay at school late in order to attend a weekly after-school Bible Club program.

Perhaps you too will hear stories just like this as you begin your own Bible Club. But before you print up your flyers and set I’ve been asked many questions since Kids for Christ USA, Inc. was formed. Without a doubt, the one I’ve been asked the most is:

This most practical of all questions is usually followed closely with, “What about separation of church and state?” And we can’t forget my personal favorite of all questions: “Wasn’t the Bible banned from the public schools?

 

 

 

My personal journey began January of 2001. Since then, I have taught, learned, experienced, rejoiced and sacrificed much in order to bring this ministry to the children and families of this great nation. My team and I have worked hard to build a ministry that will annihilate the myth that “God isn’t welcome in America’s public schools.” 

 

 

 

I have said many times, “If there is one child in a school that has given his or her life to Jesus, then Jesus is in that school.”

 

 

 

He didn’t say: “I will never leave you or forsake you unless you go into a public school in America. That’s it, that’s where I draw the line.” It makes the whole “Godless school system” concept seems a bit ridiculous when you hear it like that, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

What is really amazing is that in my research I have uncovered evidence that proves that much of our belief regarding the Bible and prayer in the public school system is based on hearsay and media spin. Are you shocked? Let me explain the common foundation. For over forty years, we have talked about, preached about and complained about the Bible and prayer being removed from America’s Public schools. BUT THAT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN! (I will explain what I mean in a later chapter.)

 

 

 

The book you are about to read is meant to equip you with all of the tools and information you’ll need to go out and launch a Before or After School Bible Club in any school in America. My goal is to inspire you and eliminate the intimidation you might feel when preparing to launch an endeavor such as this one.

 

 

 

One of the goals of this ministry is to have a hand in planting or facilitating a thriving Kids for Christ, USA-style Bible Club meeting every week in every school in America. I pray that after you read this book, you will not just be ready to go out and launch a club, but that you will also feel well advised and fully equipped to go out and do it well. If you feel inspired and illuminated after reading this book, then I have done my job.

 

 

 

So now, without further hesitation, let’s start to explore “How You Do That?”

More than once Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.

 

 

In this book you’ll find the astounding answers to each of these questions. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked these questions, I could fund a ministry at least twice the size of this one!

 

 

 

My first attempt to answer these questions happened only six months after founding a Bible Club in our first school. I sat down and wrote a 21 page document that became known as the “Training Manual.” Well, what you are about to read is that “Manual,” repackaged for the fifth time in six years. The previous four versions were the nuts and bolts of this book. What you about to read explains how to launch a Bible club in an American public elementary school. This version also covers legal information that most people (Christian or not) don’t know about….including me until December of 2005. Finally, this book discusses my philosophy of ministry within the schools and includes curriculum and loads of creative ideas for how to reach a new generation of Kids for Christ.