Tuesday, September 6, 2011

God in School

My goal has been to use this blog site to encourage service.  Many organizations exist to focus Christian service.  September seems a perfect time to point toward those ministries that need our service in the schools.  May this bless and motivate seed-sowing in the schools--either through direct service or prayers! The Baptist Voice graciously printed this last week, here it is for you to read and share.  The ministries are nationwide, not just local.

Need and opportunity often live together. Nowhere is that more true than in our public schools. Even as our nation slides away from its Christian foundation, the freedoms that established America remain. The increasing darkness of our world offers the perfect foil for Christ’s glory to shine. As Christian adults, we have received the responsibility to shine and to equip our children to do the same. Understanding options and resources assists us in achieving those goals.

As the new school year approaches, we thought it might be helpful to offer some information from Christian Law Association on the rights of Christian students. Perhaps the most important reminder is that parents are still in charge. A parent has the right to request their child be excused from classes or assignments that are contrary to faith convictions. Students may bring their Bibles to school and pray in school. Children are free to express their faith beliefs in assignments--written, oral or artistic. Schools no longer recognize God as the source of wisdom and knowledge, but students may freely witness to His glory!

Despite legal rights, the reality of peer pressure, teacher displeasure and potential mocking remains. Asking our children to stand up for their Savior cannot happen in a vacuum. We must be living examples to give them strength for the challenges they will face in exercising their rights. Encouraging them to take stands for Christ throughout the year begins with our own willingness to take stands for Christ. We must also help them recognize and take opportunities in their world.

Early in each school year, a widely-promoted activity available for Christian students which helps them marshal their peers for support is See You at the Pole. This fall’s event date is September 28th. See You at the Pole (SYATP) allows Christians to identify one another and form bonds. The website offers great resources for youth leaders and tips for adults. SYATP activities, including music, prayers, Scripture and sharing of personal testimonies, take place at school flagpoles. These events make a great launching point for year-long Christian Clubs.

Yes, students can have a Christian Fellowship club in their school! An excellent manual for such clubs is available through the Alliance Defense Fund. Even more exciting is that the right to teach the Word of God in after-school clubs remains! Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) offers a great way to bring God into the hearts of young children. Good News Clubs present God’s Word with colorful materials and fun activities to groups of children in after-school clubs around our area. CEF provides training and materials to churches (or individuals) interested in reaching out to their local school. These clubs are intended for children in Elementary grades...the exact age research show hearts are most receptive to the Good News.

A final resource, which under girds all of the activities and rights outlined above is prayer. Young people are on the front line in the public schools. These young folks need Christian adults living authentically and sacrificially, and they need us praying for them. Parents need to pray with and for their children as true believers begin to face the growing threat of persecution. Christianity requires strong families passing down faith values.

Many children, though, do not have parents praying for them, but seven local communities do have faithful mom-prayer groups. Moms In Touch groups gather weekly to cover their children, and their schools, with prayer. Mothers pray for the spiritual growth and protection of their children, as well as for the encouragement of Christians in the district and salvation for the lost. Jane Miller, local MITI Moms coordinator sums up the whole situation well: “Safety for our children isn’t in the absence of danger but in the presence of the Lord. Bringing our children up before the Lord each day is just that (bringing them into His presence).”

To learn more about any of the ministries presented here--or to become involved with them, contact the individuals or visit the websites below:

Alliance Defense Fund, www.alliancedefensefund.org

Child Evangelism Fellowship, www.cefofbtcc.org and www.cefonline.com;Bob Fortier, 607-729-5531, bobfortier@cefofbtcc.org

Christian Law Association, www.christianlaw.org

Moms in Touch International, www.momsintouch.org; Jane Miller, 607-770-7546, jmiller43@stny.rr.com

See you at the Pole, www.syatp.com

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