Public Schools are a massive missions field that, though closed off in some big ways, still have many open doors for ministry.
Having started going to elementary school lunches this year, I can also say that there is a huge curiosity and interest in God among kids who don’t go to church.
It’s so interesting to see that the idea of God is so natural to kids.
It’s also interesting to see how much kids trust their parents’ words and examples; almost universally, kids who say they don’t believe in God do so for no other reason than a parent told them.
With that said, here are five simple ways to get started in ministering to a local public school.
1. Bring snacks for staff and teachers
This is something super simple that makes a big impact.
About once a month when I come to school to have lunch with the students, I’ll bring snacks for the teachers’ lounge.
On the last Sunday of every month, we do a snack for the kids in church, so we normally just use the leftovers from that and this doesn’t even cost us anything.
But even if you have to pay, it’s not very expensive to get bakery cookies from Walmart, Dunkin Donuts, cake, snack-sized bags of chips (I’m just now realizing how much junk food we give teachers).
I’m always surprised by how excited everyone is to get free food.
2. Have lunch with a kid (I talk more about how you can leverage this in a different post: How to Go to Kids’ School Lunches…and Do It Effectively)
I already mentioned that I have lunch about once a week at a public elementary school.
Some schools are extremely open to this, and some schools are very closed off.
My biggest suggestion is to ask a parent to contact the school and sponsor you to have lunch with his or her child; instead of contacting the school directly.
You’ll be amazed at the conversations that come out of this.
3. Help out the teachers of kids in your church
We focus on the teachers who have kids from our church in their classes simply because we can’t afford to do this for every teacher in a school, even though we’d love to.
There are two basic ways we help teachers out.
First, at the beginning of the year, we ask if there are any supplies they think they’ll be short on and provide those.
Second, we offer to bring lots of food to any parties they throw for their classes (parties around Christmas are one of the only school board approved events in which outside food is allowed to be brought in and shared within our public school system).
4. Partner with drives the school already does.
Doing this will really make inroads with school principals, who are key to continuing and strengthening a partnership.
Here are some things our local schools have done:
- Recycling Drive
- Honoring Current Military & Veterans
- Collecting Pennies for a Fundraiser
5. Ask schools if they know of any families who could use a blessing during the holidays.
Whether you’re in an affluent or struggling area, there will always be families in need of help.
If you ask the right people, you’ll be able to figure out what’s most needed.
It could be food for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or presents for kids, or even extra school supplies.
Just ask, and then do what you can to meet the needs; something is better than nothing.
- How do you partner with public schools in your area?
- What is one thing you could easily start doing to partner with a public school within the next month?
This article originally appeared here.