Last week I published a post called Back to School Opportunities which stemmed from an earlier post that John did called 3 Ways to Impact Your Local School. Even though we have been blessed that our local school has provided many avenues for us to have a presence in and around the school, we realize that this is not always the case. The reality is that many schools do not want any partnerships with local churches. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, what do you do? How do you have a presence in the school if you are not welcomed?
There are a few things that you can still do to make an impact:
- Pray – You can always pray. You may not be able to pray AT the school or WITH the staff, but that you shouldn’t stop you from praying for them on a daily basis. Pray for the students (not the just ones connected with your ministry), pray for the staff (principals, teachers, counselors, administration, athletic directors, etc.), and pray diligently for avenues to open up in your relationship with the school (see our friend Alex Absalom’s post on Person of Peace). Pray with expectation that walls WILL break down and opportunities WILL present themselves.
- Events – Be at events – football games, basketball games, plays, concerts, and the list goes on. They can’t kick you out of these (at least I don’t think they can). Therefore, show up to the events, find a location near where students hang, and make your only agenda to interact with students, meet new students, and develop your ministry of presence. You don’t even need to mention your ministry. We have been granted access to these events, in fact the school wants us there, and we still don’t talk about our ministry with students. We just want to be at the game and be ‘one of’. The only exception would be if a student were to ask about the ministry. But I would say that we have almost never brought up our ministry in one of these contexts.
- Equip Students – You may not be able to be at the school, but guess what…your students are there! You can equip and empower your students to live out their lives as their mission. You can send them to be intentional with those at the school – whether it’s other students, teachers, principals, etc. The Apostle Paul wasn’t always welcomed in cities, but he had people within that were his hands and feet, building relationships and living out their faith in those very contexts. Why can’t that happen with your students? They all find themselves in the school context and you can even break that down to multiple sub contexts: band, sports, clubs, classes, etc. How can they serve, build relationships, and be intentional in those sub contexts?
Just some thoughts I had. Any other suggestions or things you have done that have been effective?